Our Environmental Efforts
Taking care of our natural environment is important to us here at PAW. We're working hard to make our clinic and practices environmentally conscious.
Our Environmental Efforts
Taking care of our natural environment is important to us here at PAW. We're working hard to make our clinic and practices environmentally conscious.

Environmental Efforts

Nowadays we are all focusing on more sustainable lifestyles; recycling our rubbish, composting, using energy-efficient lightbulbs and so on.

At Phoenix Animal Wellness we want to extend this ethos to our work environment. This is no easy feat, long gone are the days when we boil up syringes and needles and use them over and over again. We are much more aware of contamination and infection and we know that there are some pretty angry and resistant bacteria out there, waiting to cause problems if we don’t do everything properly.

There are still things we can do though to cut down on waste. The medical and veterinary industries produce vast quantities of non-recyclable waste, so we need to think about how we can reduce producing it in the first place.

 

Surgery

The biggest culprit is the surgery room, where everything has to be sterile and kept 100% clean, but there are ways to reduce waste even here:

  • Disposable drapes are generally thin polycotton fabric and are not biodegradable. Every surgery will use at least 2 drapes, one to wrap the surgical instruments and one to use on the animal, some surgeries use a lot more. These can be replaced by heavy fabric drapes that are machine washable and autoclavable. They do require energy to wash them, but most of our electricity here in the Far North is Geothermal and we use environmentally friendly cleaning products. By double wrapping the surgical instruments in this fabric or using a ‘kit box’ we can further reduce waste by not using autoclave bags. Autoclave bags are half paper and half plastic which make them challenging to try to recycle.
  • Our surgical gowns are also fabric and are machine washable and autoclavable.

 

Recycling

A surprising amount of our waste is recyclable. Many of our products come in cardboard outers and are stored in plastic containers that can be recycled in NZ. Having multiple bins in all our work rooms makes the task of separating our rubbish much easier. We have requested that our orders arrive in cardboard and are packaged with paper, cold products arrive in reusable mini ‘cold bags’ rather than polystyrene.

  • Any food waste produced goes to feed Paula’s chickens.
  • Waste that has to go to landfill is binned in compostable bin liners
  • We do not hand out plastic bags, but reuse cardboard boxes that come with our deliveries
  • We encourage clients to bring back their old pill pottles so that we can reuse them or refill them for repeat prescriptions instead of handing out new ones.

 

Shelving

You may have noticed when you enter most vet clinics, that you are bombarded by walls of plastic shelving. Pet food and pharmaceutical companies provide vet clinics with this shelving free of charge, usually, it is manufactured overseas, and when they are updated the old ones are not recycled, or even removed by the drug companies.

We decided to build made to measure shelving instead. The plywood came from an end of line recycling yard, and we have built them to fit the dimensions of our dog foods and flea products. We did get help with the cost of them from Black Hawk and Royal Canin, who we persuaded that this was a more environmentally friendly and sustainable system.

 

Extra

All our lighting is low energy, and our heating and cooling are by heat pump, the most environmentally friendly way to control temperature, especially if your electricity is geothermal.

Where possible we use environmentally friendly cleaning products. This is not always possible as sometimes we have to be decidedly unfriendly to the viruses and bacteria that are in the environment!

We do, of course, use recycled, fully biodegradable loo roll!