Top 5 Ways for Physiotherapy Clinics to be Sustainable
As with other healthcare facilities, physiotherapy clinics can reduce their environmental impact and contribute to a sustainable future by adopting environmentally friendly practices.
When looking at sustainability, the focus can be internally – what has Surrey Physio done to improve our sustainability internally. We can also look externally. What has Surrey Physio done to address healthcare sustainability in the wider population, across all ages.
Here are the five most important ways physiotherapy clinics can improve their sustainability internally:
1. Conservation and Energy Efficiency:
Surrey Physio have replaced traditional lighting with more energy-efficient LED lighting. Whenever possible, we make use of natural light by optimising window placement and using light-colored frosting on windows to allow more natural light in.
Equipment has been turned off or placed in standby mode.
Heating and Cooling: We’ve installed energy efficient boilers and air source heat pumps. We’ve installed programmable thermostats, and improved insulation.
2. Management of Wastes
At Surrey Physio we were alarmed by the significant issues of waste during COVID-19. We saw evidence of this with bins overflowing, face-masks in the gutter, and a general increase in rubbish in the streets. As a result, since the pandemic has stopped, we’ve decided to reduce single-Use Items and use refillable products. We’ve reduced our usage of throw-away cleaning towel paper.
In addition, clinics should set up recycling bins specifically for paper, plastic, and other recyclables. Guarantee the secure disposal of e-waste (like old therapy machines).
At Surrey Physio, we also recognised the large amount of paper waste created from couch rolls. We asked all our physios to try to minimise the use of waste couch roll and to use the minimum amount necessary.
In addition, try to encourage patients to bring their own towels. If more patients could bring in a towel to lie on, it would save cleaning the treatment tables so frequently, and also less couch roll wastage.
We made a big push to improve our recycling. We split bins at our clinics to easily separate plastic and paper. We stopped putting recycled paper into plastic bin bags, and simply emptied them straight to the main recycling bins. We re-used printed paper that did not have confidential information on it.
4. Training and Support to Staff
We always find that it’s one thing making a decision at a board level or senior management team level, but the challenge is to filter this down to our clinical and admin teams at Surrey Physio. We use WhatsApp as a good way to communicate changes to the team. Our clinical leads are also encouraged to help support their teams. Leads filter the information from senior management to their teams. We also use an intranet to update policies and information for staff.
5. Other Sustainable Efforts:
- Reduce water use. If you install new toilets or shower heads, choose water-efficient ones.
- Check for leaks and operate repairs quickly if there is a water leak.
- Improve insulation at your clinic.
- Sourcing therapy products and equipment locally in order to reduce transportation-related carbon emissions.
- Sustainable Suppliers: Collaborate with suppliers who have implemented sustainable initiatives. About a year ago we asked if our couch roll supplier could stop wrapping couch rolls in a plastic sleeve.
- Cleaning sprays – switch to eco friendly ones. We use Ocean Saver, but encourage our team to use soapy water in a bowel as much as possible.
These sustainable practices can help physiotherapy clinics not only reduce their environmental footprint but also position themselves as eco-friendly and socially responsible businesses within their communities.
For more information on sustainability in business, check out this Ted Talk: