Footprints: Nurses CAN Impact Their Organisation's Eco-footprint.

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Increasingly we are coming to understand just how much of an impact humans have on the natural environment. Regardless of what you believe about climate change, the fact that humans have an impact on the environment is undeniable. It is also a fact that we are the only species who can mediate the impact we have on the environment.
 
It is easy to feel overwhelmed or unsure of how to make a difference. We all hope that the world's top scientists will form effective solutions to the world's environmental problems, but this doesn't mean we should just sit around or do nothing in the meantime.
 
We can all make positive changes within our homes, organisations and communities. We can all do our little bit to leave the world a better place. So how as a nurse can you impact your organisation's eco-footprint? We have a few suggestions.
 
Trash
 

Decide to dispose or reuse.

 
Scissors, check. Forceps, check. Speculum, check. Tweezers, check. In the age of consumption and convenience, disposable products have become extremely popular. Whether it is the lower initial cost of disposables or the ease of simply throwing away or not needing to sterilise, disposable products are everywhere. Beyond these initially perceived benefits, however, lies the other side of the story.
 
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Add up the expenses over time.

 
Regular use of disposable products, for example, a pair or forceps. Will always end up costing more than the initial investment cost for a quality pair of surgical steel forceps that are built to last for many years.
 
Sure, you will need to factor in the cost of running an autoclave, chemical or ultrasonic sterilisation system, but if you can make this a part of your process, you'll save money and reduce environmental impact over time.
 
Medshop Australia stocks a wide range of non-sterile surgical instruments for this purpose. We also stock a small range of sterilisation units.
 
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Invest in quality.

 
We can't reuse everything like gloves, masks or dressings. Obviously, these need to be thrown away for hygienic purposes. So let's look at some of the other choices you can make to reduce waste, benefiting the environment.
 
Sometimes we are presented with a range of choices where we can buy something cheaper that won't last as long, or buy something more expensive that will last longer. If you are struggling with making a decision like this consider the eco-footprint that your decision will have.
 
If you go with the cheaper option that doesn't last as long, not only will you have to pay again for a replacement, but you will also likely throw the item out. When viewed from this perspective that cheaper option doesn't seem quite so appealing.
 
At Medshop Australia, we are proud to offer a range of products to cater for different budgets. All of our products meet industry standards and requirements, but this doesn't mean that they are all built the same.
 
Perhaps one of the most striking examples is when our customers are choosing which stethoscope to purchase. We will always recommend something from the Littmann range. Yes, they might be a bit more expensive than the Spirit stethoscopes, but Littmann are the world's leading stethoscope brand for a reason. Not only do they offer superior performance and auscultation abilities, but they generally last a lot longer. Some of our customers have had their Littmann stethoscopes for 10 - 20 years.
 
Compare that to replacing one every couple of years. Not only do the financial savings add up, the environmental impact is also reduced. In the market for a new stethoscope or have a friend who is? Check out our extensive range of Littmann stethoscopes. We offer competitive prices, a free penlight or free engraving on most models.
 
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Be an advocate.

 
If you are passionate about reducing your organisation's eco-footprint. The best thing you can do is become an advocate for awareness. There are many things you can do to make a difference.
 
For example, you can share articles like this one with your colleagues. Frustrated by people incorrectly using the recycling bins in the lunch room? Make a sign explaining that you need to rinse containers for recycling, and what to put in each bin. Many people simply don't know or haven't been shown correct waste management practices.
 
Your scope of influence might vary depending on your particular role or the scope of the organisation, but with a little passion, creativity and enthusiasm, you can always find ways to help reduce your organisation's eco-footprint.
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