Keeping Our Business Green

Part of our mission statement at Capitola Veterinary Hospital is to practice our profession with respect for Life and Earth and to be as environmentally low-impact as possible. We continue to find ways to make our office as “green” as we can.

In the early years of our practice, we were the second general practice veterinary hospital in California to receive Green Certification We’d like to illustrate some of these efforts for our present and future clients, many of whom support us in our green goals and share our passion for doing one’s part to preserve and protect the natural environment.

We use top-of-the-line digital x-ray processing units for dental and full-body x-rays, meaning a huge reduction in chemical usage and hazardous material waste. Digital x-rays require significantly lower radiation to produce which provides additional safety for our patients and staff. Not to mention the obvious tremendous increase in quality with digital images compared to x-ray film.

We receive all faxes digitally. To give an idea of how much paper this saves, we are pleased to report that we have not loaded any paper into a fax machine for 8 years! In fact, we don’t even have a fax machine anymore.

All of our lab work results, both in-house and sent out samples, are now being received digitally, just like our faxes. The results are posted directly into computerized patient records without ever having to be printed on paper.

Our patient records are digital. This not only saves paper but allows us to provide better service to our clients and patients because these records can be easily shared between specialty hospitals and are available to more than one staff member at a time. No more ever-expanding charts to keep track of or deciphering handwritten entries!

Clients receive their invoices via email, rather than having them printed.

We have eliminated the vast majority of brochures and “handouts” when communicating with our clients. Instead, we have developed an extensive library of digital client education documents that we can email to clients.

We have added more recycling stations around the hospital and we strive to reuse as much paper as we can by printing on both sides before sending it out for recycling.

We have developed a paperless in-hospital communication system. We no longer use paper to communicate with each other, but rather a collection of re-usable laminated cards and wet-erase pens. What this boils down to is a significant reduction in paper waste, which we are all very proud of!

We have reduced our water usage considerably by having water-saving features installed on hospital sinks, our toilet is low flush volume and we use only organic and biodegradable soaps throughout the hospital for regular hand washing wherever possible. This means that we are using less water in general and that our waste-water is less harmful to the environment. Along with making our office and workspaces as environmentally low-impact as we can, we have also focused on developing partnerships with community groups, other local businesses, and vendors who support our mission to practice with respect for life and Earth. Here are some further details on these partnerships:

Our main distributor of veterinary supplies is MWI. We chose MWI because of their carbon-neutral shipping policy, which means that they use the minimum amount of shipment packaging and all packing materials are 100% recycled. MWI also participates in tree-planting to offset its carbon footprint.

We have also partnered with companies to help us manage our online store and appointment reminder system. When our clients purchase products from our online store, those products are shipped to them in the same way that they would be shipped to us – in a carbon-neutral way.

Merial is another one of our vendors, which we use for vaccinations and other medicines. Many of these items need to be kept cool and therefore are delivered in Styrofoam containers (not so eco-friendly). Fortunately, we have created up a recycling program for theses containers so that they never have to enter the landfill.

Every hospital has bills to pay and a veterinary hospital is no exception. We work closely with our bookkeeper to pay our bills by credit card and to receive electronic invoices whenever possible. For those vendors who require a paper check, we print these on recycled paper.