For a community pharmacy, running a successful operation is vital in order to provide quality care and services to patients. However, a successful practice would also make a difference through its approach towards ensuring that environmental aspects are taken into consideration.

Working towards creating a sustainable environment involves paying attention to different facets of the pharmacy and its day-to-day operations. This ranges from components that make up the physical premise itself, to intangible elements such as best practices and social initiatives.

The following are several aspects for community pharmacies to consider as part of their effort to reduce negative impacts to the environment.

Logistics and ergonomics

Installing eco-friendly appliances, furniture and fixtures such as shelving, flooring and lighting is a significant approach towards creating a sustainable environment. Using energy-efficient appliances does not only help to cut down on pollution but is also very economical as it helps you to save a lot of money on utility bills.

To further improve air quality, live indoor plants can be placed inside the building. For cleaning and maintenance purposes, it would be better to use products that do not contain chemicals that may be harmful to the environment.

Sustainable practices among employees

Taking an eco-friendly approach in running day-to-day operations can also be done through encouraging sustainable practices among employees at the pharmacy. For instance, one simple, yet significant step is to minimise the use of paper whenever possible by digitising records and paperwork.

Clear policies on energy and water consumption should be established and employees should be made to understand their individual responsibilities towards protecting the environment. A community pharmacy can also contribute in recycling efforts by promoting this practice among employees.

Products and retail

Another way for a community pharmacy to contribute to the effort of protecting the environment is by offering eco-friendly alternatives to patients and visitors. Sourcing these products from manufacturers that place great emphasis on conserving resources as well as value sustainability in their systems and processes can be part of the move to be more environmentally conscious.

Furthermore, since plastic is a major concern to the environment, pharmacies can also opt to use eco-friendly product packaging, particularly those that are made with recycled material.

Social responsibility

Interaction with patients can be an avenue for pharmacists to do their part in protecting the environment as well. Pharmacists can play a key role in making patients aware about safe and effective medication practices and how their choices may affect the ecosystem. In addition, community pharmacies can show a strong commitment towards environmental protection by making environmental campaigns and initiatives part of their programmes as well as by supporting other related causes in the community.

Community pharmacists and other pharmacy employees should never downplay their roles as advocates for the environment. Sustainable practices at the workplace require a collective effort and often start with small individual initiatives. As environmental consciousness grows, community pharmacies have to increase their involvement by embracing sustainability as part of their mission and making continuous improvements in their effort to protect the environment. MIMS

Read more:
Community pharmacies and GPs: Complements, not rivals
5 community outreach ideas for community pharmacies
Career as a community pharmacist: What does it entail?

Sources:
http://www.earthtimes.org/going-green/creating-greener-workplace/328/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4973415/