What is your definition of a Green Leader?
A Green Leader is a champion for sustainable business practices. Environmental protection is one of the biggest challenges of our time, and it is important for businesses to recognize the huge impact they have on sustainability efforts. A Green Leader is one who makes a conscious effort to build sustainable and environmentally friendly practices, and motivate and engage his or her team to maintain these good works. Leaders not only recognize and execute their plans for sustainability, but challenge their businesses and networks to continually commit to environmental protection.
How does your team support your efforts?
Our office has a Green Committee that meets quarterly to assess our current progress towards waste and energy reduction goals, as well as brainstorm new creative ways to engage our community to follow our lead and consider their habits and their impact on the environment. For example, utility companies provide metrics on your energy or water usage, and we use this data to make decisions on equipment and appliance upgrades to the business. We also partner with local sustainability focused nonprofits, and make monetary contributions to their work that are determined by staff and patients meeting specific challenges that we hold each month. It really is a group effort and takes a lot of mutual encouragement to achieve big goals in sustainability.
What is your favorite GREEN thing to do?
I love sorting trash! It’s one of the most basic things that can be done to start thinking about sustainability. The old mantra, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” really starts with assessing how much resources are being thrown away, and how to reduce the amount of trash that is thrown out in the first place. Then, consider what is being thrown away that can really be put aside to be used again later. By carefully sorting the remaining trash that can be recycled or composted, much less waste is put into landfills. In the dental office, going digital can drastically reduce the amount of paper and office supplies. Not to mention, front office management becomes much more efficient with software taking the place of manual tasks. Packaging materials from dental supply shipments can be reused many times over, and replacing disposables as much as possible are all great goals that were really sparked by sifting through the weekly trash load.
How does your work mind set carry over to your own life?
Like many office managers, the lines between my work and my life are pretty blurred. As such, much of my work habits are transferred to my life and home practices. I take the same steps to reduce waste, sign up for energy and carbon emission incentive programs, and create goals for my family to live a less wasteful and more environmentally conscious life.
Do you have any tips for AADOM members you would like to share?
Start with assessing your trash, and look to your utility companies for guidance on where to start! Seek out Green Business certification programs and make time each week to knock out to-dos to earn certifications and awards. Create a Green Committee in your own business to work on these tasks together!
Finally, as the AADOM Green Leader what would you like to share with practice OWNERS about how their leadership can impact the environmental impact of their practices?
One thing that practice owners should understand is that “going green” will be an investment in effort and involves changes to business protocol and resources, however, it is one of the most rewarding things you can do to decrease your consumption and increase your bottom line in the long run. Additionally, the best way to motivate the team is to find a common purpose that intrinsically speaks to them. Lessening the burden on our planet is something everyone can acknowledge as a positive and necessary effort, so it can be a uniquely bonding activity to work on something together that is not specific to dentistry.