The United States generates an enormous amount of waste that presents a serious threat to our environment and wildlife.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Americans produced approximately 258 million tons of trash just in 2014.1
Recycling and “going green” are ways to reduce the amount of waste each of us produces. But just how much of a difference can we make by being more aware of our wasteful habits and working to reduce them? For one example, 3.7 million tons of aluminum was produced from recycled cans in 2017, which saved enough energy to produce electricity for more than 7 million homes.2
Furthermore, according to the EPA, 66 million tons of waste were recycled, while an additional 23 million tons were composted.1 This resulted in Americans recycling approximately one-third of the waste that they generated just in that year.
To put it another way, we
each recycled and composted 1.5 pounds of the 4.44 pounds of waste that each of
us generated over the course of just one year. All that recycling saved more
than 320,000 GWh of energy, which could provide electricity to 30 million
Because chiropractic is built upon the foundation of providing a safer, gentler, more natural alternative to standard Western medicine, it should only make sense to also want to have your office “go green” and reduce waste as well. Below are some ideas to help not only your patients, but your environment, on the path to wellness.
One of the simplest ways to cut down on waste in your office is to go paperless. This can include sending newsletters, billing statements, and appointment reminders to your patients via email; only printing out emails when needed; and using your computer’s fax program rather than faxing a hard copy. Even if you can’t go completely paperless, you can reduce the paper you use by printing two-sided and buying recycled paper.
Cut down on power
Use motion sensors and energy
efficient lights for rooms that don’t get much traffic to reduce the use of
electricity. Post signs reminding staff to turn off all computers and other
electronic equipment at the end of the day. Remember to turn off lights for any
room that is not in use. If you are buying new equipment or computers, look for
labels that mark them as energy efficient. Finally, don’t forget to adjust the
thermometer in the office when you leave for the day to save on energy.
Make a clean sweep
Using green cleaning
products, particularly on your treatment equipment is not only better for the
environment in general, but also for the health of your patients, particularly
those with allergies. For added benefit, look for green cleaning products that
do not have any fragrance. Also, micro cloths are great for dusting, as they
will trap dust, but not spread any in the air.
Plant your office
Perhaps the easiest way to “go green” is to add some greenery to your office, in the form of indoor plants. Plants give out oxygen and take in carbon dioxide, so they will improve the air quality in your office. Succulents are particularly suited to an indoor environment, as they do well with filtered light, such as that from fluorescent lighting, and are not prone to giving off pollen that may stir up allergies for some of your patients. They are also very low-maintenance, requiring little water. Place some in your reception area and one in each of your treatment rooms.
As a chiropractor, you are
committed to the concept of natural health and wellness. Making your office
more green is just a natural extension of that philosophy.
Protection Agency. Advancing Sustainable
Materials Management: Facts and Figures Report: 214 Tables and Figures.
Available at: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-11/documents/2014_smm_tablesfigures_508.pdf. Accessed Feb.2, 2019.
Geosciences Institute. How does recycling save energy? Available at: https://www.americangeosciences.org/critical-issues/faq/how-does-recycling-save-energy. Accessed Feb.2, 2019.