“There’s a famous saying, ‘A dog is a man’s best friend,’ and at Veterinary Medical and Surgical Group (VMSG), we pride ourselves on providing extraordinary medical, surgical and critical care for people’s best friends,” said Leah Basinais, Chief Operations Officer at Veterinary Medical and Surgical Group, a 16,000 square foot, 24/7 world-class specialty referral and emergency veterinary hospital.
In addition to taking superior care of people’s pets, VMSG is also mindful of taking care of the environment. The specialty medical center originally became interested in finding out more about green practices and how they could contribute after a talk with City of Ventura Environmental Specialist Courtney Lindberg.
“We had quite a bit of waste from medical packaging and equipment,” said Basinais. “We really didn’t know what was recyclable and what wasn’t. Courtney took us on a tour at Gold Coast Recycling where everything was explained to us. Now we can recycle things like prescription bottles, needle and IV catheter packaging, cardboard, and many other items we didn’t know we could. We recycle at least 50% more now than we were previously.”
VMSG now has recycling signage information in every area of the hospital, from oncology to surgery prep, triage to the ICU, and even the lunchroom.
“Courtney gave a presentation to our staff and we even invited the owner of our outsourced cleaning service. The talk inspired the cleaning crew to get some different equipment and employ these types of recycling practices with their other clients.”
Leah states that recycling and developing a green consciousness has also been a benefit to staff morale. “We’re all so proud to be a part of the recycling effort and making a difference in our community,” said Basinais. “With the current drought, we even set up signs in the kitchen educating staff on how they can conserve water.”
VMSG makes an effort to use only recycled content products as they can. Internally, they’ve switched out their stationary, cards and other printed material and branding to all recycled products.
Sustainable Practices in the Works
“Other ways we work to conserve water is instructing the staff to only do full loads of laundry,” said Basinais. “Additionally, we have low-flow showers in our bathrooms, and we’re also looking into retrofitting all of our sinks as well as getting low flow toilets for the bathrooms.
VMSG is watching outdoor water use with the installation of a water wise irrigation timer. There are talks about changing out some of the landscape to native gardens.
When it comes to cleaning products, VMSG avoids products with bleach. “We need to make sure any products we use however, are medically appropriate cleaners. However, now, our eyes will always be on sustainability,” added Basinais.
To save energy, VMSG recently received a bid to change out all their inside/outside lights to LED.
Basinais has become the “go-to” person collecting email and responses from staff about sustainable ideas. “We will be implementing a suggestion box that we value and we now have Lead Meetings. Supervisors for each of our departments meet every 4-5 weeks to talk about topics including green initiatives and how we can improve our sustainability.”
“Now that we have the green conversation going,” said Basinais. “We’ll always be mindful of how we’re impacting our environment and thinking of ways to conserve and preserve.”
Veterinary Medical and Surgical Group, 2199 Sperry Avenue, Ventura, CA 93003 (805) 339-2290
-Maryann Ridini Spencer for SustainableVentura.TV