For decades, weve been using phrases like going green, eco-friendly and sustainable. Likewise, weve taken comfort in the fact that weve done our part by recycling bottles, paper and plastic in our homes and offices. Still, it wasnt until quite recently that most Americans truly began to embrace the concept of going green by actively seeking out ways to personally make a difference.

Environmental responsibility no longer preoccupies only the granola-crunchers among us. In fact, I think we can safely say it is in style and, as such, it is an inescapable reality that confronts us at every turn throughout our daily lives.

While being in style has its benefits, our motivations for going green should extend beyond simply being cool. No matter how many recycling bins grace your curb, or how long you waited for your Prius, its often the little things, which the rest of the world never even notices, that make the biggest impact.

Associate Editor Michael Hoster has compiled a helpful list of steps you can take in your office to help save the planet (See Tips for Going Green in Your Practice, below).

As part of Reviews initiative to cut down on paper, we will begin offering Web Exclusives, which will coincide with the launch of a new Web site in early 2009. Similarly, for our CE meeting attendees, we have begun to offer online access to the complete PowerPoint presentations for all lecturessaving countless trees in the process.

Tips for Going Green in Your Practice
Reduce the number of pharmaceutical samples from drug reps. All the extra cardboard, packaging, and expired sample pills and drops create a lot of waste. And, you can donate the unused samples to local free clinics, rather than simply throwing them in the trash.

Order all frequently-used drops, medications and ophthalmic cleansing products in bulk.

Use electronic and/or emailed brochures, catalogs and instructions rather than printed copies. Most people have an

e-mail address these daystake advantage of it.

Replace conventional filament (incandescent) light bulbs with fluorescent bulbs or light-emitting diodes (LEDs). And, while youre at it, utilize as much natural light as possible in non-examination rooms. Turn off the lights and open your blinds and curtains in the waiting room. Also, you can maximize the brightness of natural light by repainting the interior walls with white, non-toxic paint.

Replace outdated faucets and toilets with newer, water-saving hardware. A toilet from 1980 can use up to five times the volume of water per flush than a toilet from 2008.

Set your computers and monitors to go into sleep or stand-by mode when idle for more than 10 to 15 minutes. Also, outdated CRT monitors use a lot more juice than new, low-end LCD monitors.

Encourage employees to use non-disposable dishes, cups and silverware. An office of 10 employees may go through a full sleeve of disposable coffee cups per day.

Use biodegradable soaps and cleaning agents in the office. And, safely dispose of any older products that may be sitting dormant in a closet. Sure, many chemicals from the 1970s worked really well, but few are anything close to environmentally friendly.

Purchase refurbished or used furniture for the office waiting room. You may even want to donate a few chairs that are collecting dust in your basement.

  If you have not already made the switch to electronic medical records (EMR), get on the ball! You will cut down on the amount of paper your office uses. Also, recycle your discarded printer paper and magazines.

Vol. No: 145:07Issue: 7/15/2008