5 steps to becoming a more sustainable veterinary practice

While the veterinary sector helps save lives, it is not necessarily helping save the planet. Running a veterinary practice can be extremely energy intensive, so it is our responsibility as professionals in the field to help make a change. Here’s a few tips on where to start…




Where possible, invest in reusable medical wear and equipment, rather than relying on disposable, plastic-based items. For example:


  • Provide your team with theatre shoes to reduce the use of single-use plastic in the form of shoe covers. 
  • Use sustainable surgical hats which can be reworn. 
  • Try reusable sterile containers, hand towels and gowns. 
  • Replace plastic cups with recyclable paper ones or encourage employers to bring in refillable bottles. 




It is important to identify where resources are being overused so that you can cut down on unnecessary waste. For instance: 


  • Avoid wasting medicine by being resourceful when stocking.
  • Save water by filling the washing machine every time, using hand sanitizer rather than antibac and water and installing low-flow fixtures. 
  • Reduce energy consumption by installing renewable energy sources, switching appliances off when not in use and replacing standard lighting with compact fluorescent lamps. 




This one is pretty self-explanatory…but make sure your team is up-to-date with what can be recycled and where the recycling points are located. Make sure there are signs up around the practice clearly displaying this information. We also recommend: 


  • Using 100% recyclable paper
  • Optimising waste disposable e.g. switch to reusable sharps bins and segregation clinical waste. 


4.Be carbon conscious  

Here’s a few tips for reducing your carbon footprint: 


  • Attend virtual CPD events.
  • Audit and adapt anaesthetic procedures.
  • Plant trees outside your practice. 
  • Opt for clean energy.


5.Educate your team


Ensure that everyone is on the same page about the practice’s sustainability goals and how you can work as a team to make positive change. Try promoting walking, cycling or getting public transport to work with a rewards system. For example, whoever walks to work the most that month is awarded a voucher or a day out. It may also be worth promoting what you’re doing to clients/via social media to demonstrate your commitment to building a greener future.