Eco-friendly, green, sustainable, zero-waste, minimalistic – these words are very dear to me. Anybody who knows me beyond the superficial would know how I value these. Earth day is around the corner, so I thought I would take advantage of the current climate to speak on the subject.
I asked a hygienist friend what their dental practice does, if anything, to produce less waste. Without hesitation, she responded, "Nothing." I could see the gears in her head turning. She looked away as she finished with a simple, "But we should."
What she didn't know is that many dental practices are making sustainable decisions whether everyone in the practice knows it or not. If your practice has real plants, is using digital x-rays, or has ceiling fans, then you’re already making better choices.
Some of you may be intentionally implementing many sustainable practices already, and you’re passionate about them. That’s awesome! So how do you let patients know that you’ve built a sustainable practice?
1. Your Physical Practice
Make it obvious in your practice! Make recycle bins available to patients, opt for motion sensor lights, hand out bamboo or recycled toothbrushes, use energy-efficient hand dryers – all of these subtle gestures do not go unnoticed by patients that have the same green values. Feeling super inspired? You could get creative when it comes to the kids’ treat box. Try finding some biodegradable/eco-friendly un-plastic toy options.
2. Recycled Paper Products
If you are using postcards, direct mail, or other paper communications with clients/future clients, you can opt for recycled papers, soy-based ink and sustainable “greener” print shops. Your choice of paper can speak for itself when using a natural, fiber-filled, recycled paper. If speckled, imperfect paper is not your vibe, then there are plenty of bright white options as well. Don’t shy away from using the FSC logo (small and subtle will do) or using fine print to describe your greener options.
3. Digital Marketing
Maybe you’ve ditched direct mail altogether, and that’s awesome! Digital Marketing is an efficient, green way to replace the costs of direct mail altogether. Make sure you let people know that you value our Earth. Share it on your website and create relevant social media posts. If any of this seems overwhelming, know that a great marketing team will cover communicating these values to your patients. I recommend not guilt-tripping your followers: be encouraging, positive and share how you are taking steps towards a better Earth.
Part of working towards a sustainable practice is bringing your team along for the journey. Especially millennials whose work ethic directly correlates to how they perceive their place of work's purpose. Millennials are more aware of the need to care of our world than they've ever been. Many are happily embracing a waste-free lifestyle that takes a lot of time and energy. Implementing sustainable techniques at work not only helps the world and attracts new patients, it also helps you keep your team feeling better about themselves and working at a practice that values their values. Win-win-win!