We created a Sustainability Plan in January 2021. This is a working document that all the team have access to and covers the following areas:
- Reduction, re-use and recycling of resources.
- Product procurement.
- Carbon and anaesthetic gas emissions.
- Water usage.
We had a number of initiatives already in place when we created the plan:
We had a number of things already in place:
- Switching to a greener electricity tariff, and to more efficient LED lighting.
- Recycling paper, tins, plastic, card, glass and batteries.
- Moving towards paperless e.g. electronic receipts, lab results, pet reminders and insurance claims.
- Making use of the ‘cycle to work’ scheme.
- Learning how to help bees via the British Bee Veterinary Association.
- Using refills, for e.g. hand soap, washing up liquid.
- Re-using towels, newspaper and blankets in our kennels area.
- Using paper dispensing bags and carrier bags, rather than plastic.
- Using reusable, fabric scrub hats.
- Use of low flow anaesthesia.
In 2021-2022 we focused on the following areas:
- Reducing waste -> unsubscribing from unwanted postal magazines/journals/promotions. Requesting electronic invoices from any companies still posting. Re-usable coffee cups purchased for the staff room, for when colleagues purchase take-out coffee.
- Increasing recycling -> recycling bin added to ‘patient prep/kennels’ area. Reminder to the team of what can be recycled.
- Reviewed suppliers of stationary, cleaning and catering products. Most paper products were already recycled or FSC approved. Some substitutions made e.g. black bin bags replaced with ‘The Green Sack’ company (made from recycled farm waste plastic), zero-plastic Sellotape.
- We also replaced our old gas boiler at Torquay, to a more efficient condensing one.
- Switching supplier for patient nutraceuticals to one using less plastic packaging.
- 2021 was the last year we sent out Christmas cards, in 2022 we made a £200 donation to charity instead. We will continue to send sympathy cards, and have chosen a supplier who uses recycled paper, card and packaging.
- We have limited options for planting flowers for pollinators at our sites, but did make use of hanging baskets in 2022 which somehow survived the heat-wave! Many of us have bee hotels in our gardens and we will provide a bee hotel and bee-friendly seeds to any of our employees who want them.
- Participation in the 2022 Antibiotic Amnesty.
In 2023 we completed a carbon audit with Vet Sustain. Our 2022 footprint was 16.47 Tonnes CO2e. Surprisingly for us, over 6 tonnes of this is down to anaesthetic gas usage! While not a perfect solution we have made the decision to ‘offset’ our emissions, and have chosen to support a project in the Amazon rainforest this year. Many thanks to Eco Offset Ltd for their guidance on this. While reducing emissions where possible is key, auditing and offsetting what we can’t reduce is, we feel, a positive step.
We are also doing a waste audit to establish if we can reduce our waste production and/or increase what goes to recycling.