As a holistic health practitioner, you may feel that some of your workplace responsibilities are not always as environmentally friendly as you would like them to be. Constant laundry and maintaining client records often means using a lot of water and paper.
On top of that, keeping things sanitary requires using cleaning products that have harsh chemicals that are not environmentally friendly.
However, you can take steps to make your holistic health practice more "green." By reducing paper, water usage, and waste, you can begin to make your practice more environmentally friendly. While these steps may seem small, little changes have a big impact over time.
Working as a holistic health practitioner often means using paper. From intake forms to charting to printed receipts for clients, a single appointment could use over 10 pieces of paper. Over time, this amount of paper has a cumulative negative impact on the environment.
40 per cent of the world's commercially cut timber is used for paper production, and over 30 million acres of forests are destroyed annually to produce paper. A single sheet of paper uses 10 litres of water just to manufacture it, and pulp and paper mills often discharge polluted water, contaminating surrounding soil and water.
These statistics may be alarming, but there is a lot you can do to reduce your paper usage.
Go paperless in your practice by using electronic intake forms and client notes. Intake forms can be filled out on a tablet or laptop and stored electronically, and client notes can be managed the same way.
If security is a concern, there are several different service providers that offer secure, encrypted software to store client records. Encourage your clients to get their receipts emailed to them instead of printed after the treatment is complete.
Instead of being thrown in the garbage, all used paper should be recycled or shredded when you are done with it, and paper that can be reused should be. Cutting down the amount of paper needed for each appointment can significantly impact the amount of paper your practice uses.
Many cleaners have harsh chemicals that are not only bad for the environment, but can also irritate people who have sensitivities. Instead, choose products that have natural ingredients and are free of harsh chemicals, phosphates, dyes, and bleaches, and wash linens with biodegradable detergent.
This will not only reduce the environmental impact that cleaning and sanitizing your workspace and linens will have, but it will also ensure that people with sensitive skin or allergies are more comfortable when in a treatment.
As many holistic health practitioners know, their day consists of a ton of laundry. Sheets, towels, and blankets need to be changed and washed after every client to ensure the treatment space is kept sanitary.
While constant loads of laundry can have a significant impact on water usage, there are some steps you can take to ensure you are minimizing your water usage.
Since draping used for treatments cannot be reused between clients and must be washed in hot water to ensure sanitization, some of the steps normally taken to reduce water usage cannot be used. But there are still some steps practitioners can take.
If it is feasible, consider using a high-efficiency washing machine for laundry. When your existing washing machine is ready to be replaced, opt for an energy efficient machine to replace it. These washing machines use about half of the water an old washer will use, saving both water and money.
If this isn't an option, try to run full loads of laundry rather than small loads. If you must wash a small load, use the different cycle sizes on your washing machine and take advantage of the "small load" setting if your machine has it.
You can also reduce your energy using energy efficient light bulbs, which will also reduce your costs. Taking simple steps like turning off the lights of rooms that are not being used or using natural lighting when possible can help reduce energy consumption over time.
Changing old incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs with energy efficient LED light bulbs can also have a significant impact on energy usage.
LED light bulbs are quite a bit more expensive than other light bulbs; however their lifespan is almost a third longer than other light bulbs. They also use fewer watts on average, annually saving you between $10 and $160 on your operating costs.
There are small steps that everyone can take to make their practice more environmentally friendly. While it may not feel like you are making a big impact by taking these small steps, your efforts add up over time.
Making your practice green not only helps the environment, but will reduce your costs in the long run!