Meeting-by-Meeting Guide

The Meeting-by-Meeting Guide explains what to say and do at each of your healthcare practice’s regular organizational meetings.   There is nothing for your environmental sustainability leader to study in advance; simply print the page from the Guide for the current meeting and take it with you to discuss. Your practice can qualify for the Green Doctor Office Certificate after just five meetings.  Easy!

This Guide explains how to add five minutes of environmental sustainability planning to each office meeting.   Your office will decide to make one or two changes at each meeting.  Whether your office meets once a week or once a month, these five minutes for environmental sustainability will really add up over time.   Although most practices simply follow this easy “Meeting-by-Meeting Guide”, you are welcome to use any of the ideas found in My Green Doctor’s seven Workbooks (https://mygreendoctor.org/workbook-1-introduction/ ) where you will find more than 140 Action Steps and Education Steps.

Before your first Green Team meeting: 

  1. Get Support from The Office: It is important that your office leadership has decided to “go green”:   the chief executive, owners, partners, managers, or Board of Directors.
  2. Add “My Green Doctor” to Your Agendas: It is easy to add five minutes of environmental sustainability topics to the agenda of each regular practice organizational meeting.
  3. Find A Leader:  Identify a person to serve as your environmental sustainability leader. This is the person who will lead each sustainability session and who will be sure that your decisions and progress are recorded.  It takes only ten minutes to prepare for a meeting and another five to write down the results.
  4. Keep “Green Team Notes”:  Print out the “Green Team Notes” form that makes it easy to keep track of your meeting decisions: https://mygreendoctor.org/resources/green-team-notes-form/
  5.  Plan for success:  Commit as a healthcare practice to long-term environmental sustainability.  This means meeting regularly and committing to earning the Green Doctor Office Certificate.

 

Meeting-by-Meeting Schedule & What Pages of This Guide to Print for Each Meeting:

(scroll down to read the schedule for each Green Team meeting, or read it as a PDF)

Meeting 1:  Welcome to Environmental Sustainability                                      View PDF Here

Meeting 2:  Begin “Workbook 1: Energy Efficiency”                                           View PDF Here

Meeting 3:  Continue with “Workbook 1: Energy Efficiency”                             View PDF Here

Meeting 4:  Begin “Workbook 4: Solid Waste & Recycling”                               View PDF Here

Meeting 5:  Continue “Workbook 4:  Solid Waste & Recycling”                        View PDF Here

Meeting 6:  Patient Education                                                                                  View PDF Here

Meeting 7:  Begin “Workbook 5: Drug Disposal & Chemicals”                           View PDF Here

Meeting 8:  Continue “Workbook 5: Drug Disposal & Chemicals”                    View PDF Here

Meeting 9:  Begin “Workbook 7: Healthy Foods”                                                  View PDF Here

Meeting 10:  Assessment and Looking Forward                                                  View PDF Here

Meeting 11:  Continuing Meetings:  “The Road Ahead is Green”            View PDF Here

Continuing Meetings:  “The Road Ahead is Green”

After you complete 10 meetings & receive the Green Doctor Office Certificate, Meeting-By-Meeting Monthly will guide your office meetings for three years.  This is described below at the bottom of this section of  My Green Doctor.

Meeting 1:  “Welcome to Our Environmental Sustainability Program”

  1. Announce that environmental sustainability is a new office activity, with the goal of qualifying for the Green Doctor Office certificate from My Green Doctor.  Announce who will be the initial leader.
  2. Explain that your office or clinic will be adding five minutes of “sustainability” to each office meeting.
  3. Thank everyone for participating.  Encourage each to register at www.MyGreenDoctor.org or www.MyGreenDoctor.es. It takes three minutes to register, is free, safe, and no password is needed.
  4. Explain that your office or clinic will use My Green Doctor to make gradual improvements in the office.  The topics will include energy efficiency, water use, recycling, climate change, renewable energy, transportation choices, healthy foods, and patient education.
  5.  Read aloud “Ten Reasons to Go Green”: https://mygreendoctor.org/welcome-to-my-green-doctor/ten-reasons-to-go-green/This is provided below.
  6. Find someone to print two copies of your “Pledge Certificate” and to buy simple frames for displaying these in your waiting room and lunchroom.
  7. After the meeting, fill out the Green Team Notes form. Keep it very brief– not more than 5 minutes for the Notes: https://mygreendoctor.org/resources/green-team-notes-form/

Ten Reasons to “Go Green”:

  1. Leads to wiser & more responsible uses of resources.
  2. Going Green” saves money by lowering office expenses.
  3. Creates a healthier work environment.
  4. Encourage teamwork and finding better ways to do things.
  5. Can generate ideas from every member of the office or clinic.
  6. Improves job satisfaction.
  7. Enhances the office’s public image and the trust of patients.
  8. Decreases air pollution, water consumption, and waste.
  9. Builds a healthier community.
  10. Helps to make environmental sustainability part of everyone’s life!

 

Meeting 2:  Begin “Workbook 1:  Energy Efficiency”

  1. Thank everyone for participating.
  2. Remind everyone that your office or clinic is adding five minutes of “sustainability” to each office meeting.
  3.  At this meeting, CHOOSE TWO Action Steps from the “Quick Start, Now!” section of “Workbook 1: Energy Efficiency”. https://mygreendoctor.org/workbook-1-introduction/.These are provided below.
  4. Announce that at the next meeting, you will continue with “Energy Efficiency”.
  5. After the meeting, fill out the Green Team Notes form. Keep it very brief– not more than 5 minutes for the Notes: https://mygreendoctor.org/resources/green-team-notes-form/

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Turn  Machines Off

Adopt a policy to turn off lights, computers, monitors, fax machines, copiers, and printers at night. This saves a lot of energy and money. Set computer monitors to “sleep mode” if they must stay on. Plug all machines into power strips to make it easy to turn them off at night with just one button.  You might tape reminder messages onto machines to “Please turn me off!”  Speak with your janitorial staff who might be leaving the lights on at night.

Issues to discuss:

  1. Can we agree to do this?
  2. Do a quick mental inventory of your machines & lights: are there some that must stay on?
  3. Who will be the leader for this Action Step and report back at the next meeting?

 

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 Monitor Your Electricity and Gas Bills

Does your office receive monthly energy bills?  If you are in a large building, you may not receive a separate bill for the energy that you use. If you do get monthly bills, ask one person to gather your bills for the past year, and to report your future energy savings every 2-3 months.  Your utility’s website likely can tell you how to calculate how much carbon dioxide you are reducing – the main greenhouse gas that causes climate change.

Issues to discuss:

  1. Can we agree to do this?
  2. Who will be the leader for this Action Step & report back in 2-3 months?

 

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Lightbulbs: Choose Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (CFB) or Low Emitting Diode(LED) Bulbs

Change all incandescent lights (those with filaments inside) to Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (CFB’s) or to Low Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs. LED’s are preferred because they use so very little electricity.  A75 watt incandescent bulb is replaced with a 25W CFB.

Issues to discuss:

  1. Can we agree to do this?
  2. Do we have dimmer switches that don’t allow bulb types to be changed?
  3. Do we have a plan to discard used bulbs properly?  Fluorescent bulbs contain mercury, a potent neurotoxin. The typical CFB contains 5mg, compared with 100mg in a mercury thermometer.   Most large hardware stores accept used fluorescent bulbs and will dispose of the mercury safely.  You also can call your trash collector or local government.  For general recycling advice, try http://www.recycling-guide.org.uk/rrr.htm.
  4. Who will be the leader for this Action Step and report back at the next meeting?

 

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Thermostat Policy

Adopt an office policy to set thermostats to 74 degrees F (23 C) in the summer and 68 F (20 C) in the winter. Put reminder stickers on the thermostats for these settings.  Did you know that most office temperatures are set by men, and are uncomfortably cold for the women who work there?

Issues to discuss:

  1. Can we agree to do this?
  2. Do we need to coordinate this with the building manager?
  3. Who will be the leader for this Action Step and report back at the next meeting?

 

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Turn Off Your Hot Water Heater

Most doctor offices can turn off their hot water heaters, without health consequences. Hand-washing requires soap, water, and friction, but not heat.  A large public health clinic in Pensacola, Florida studied this option, found it to be safe, and is saving hundreds of dollars annually.
Issues to discuss:

  1. Can we agree to do this?
  2. Who will be the leader for this Action Step?

 

Meeting 3: Continue with “Workbook 1: Energy Efficiency”

  1. Thank everyone for participating.
  2. At this meeting, review your progress with the two Action Steps that were adopted at Meeting 2. If there is interest, adopt one or two more Steps from our “Quick Start, Now!” section of “Workbook 1: Energy Efficiency”. https://mygreendoctor.org/workbook-1-introduction/, or from the others in the Workbook.  These are provided below.
  3. Announce that at the next meeting, you will begin the topic of “Solid Waste & Recycling”.
  4. After the meeting, fill out the Green Team Notes form. Keep your Notes very brief– not more than 5 minutes for the Notes form https://mygreendoctor.org/resources/green-team-notes-form/ .

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Turn Machines Off

Adopt a policy to turn off lights, computers, monitors, fax machines, copiers, and printers at night. This saves a lot of energy and money. Set computer monitors to “sleep mode” if they must stay on. Plug all machines into power strips to make it easy to turn them off at night with just one button. You might tape reminder messages onto machines to “Please turn me off!”.  Speak with your janitorial staff who might be leaving the lights on at night.
Issues to discuss:

  1. Can we agree to do this?
  2. Do a quick mental inventory of your machines & lights: are there some that must stay on?
  3. Who will be the leader for this Action Step and report back at the next meeting?

 

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Monitor Your Electricity and Gas Bills

Does your office receive monthly energy bills? If you are in a large building, you may not receive a separate bill for the energy that you use. If you do get monthly bills, ask one office member to gather your bills for the past year, and to report your future energy savings every 2-3 months. Your utility’s website likely can tell you how to calculate how much carbon dioxide you are reducing – the greenhouse gas that is causing most climate change.


Issues to discuss:

  1. Do a quick mental inventory of your machines & lights: are there some that must stay on?
  2. Who will be the leader for this Action Step & report back in 2-3 months?

 

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Lightbulbs: Choose Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (CFB) or Low Emitting Diode(LED) Bulbs

Change all incandescent lights (those with filaments inside) to Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (CFB’s) or to Low Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs. LED’s are preferred because they use so very little electricity.  A75 watt incandescent bulb is replaced with a 25W CFB.

Issues to discuss:

  1. Can we agree to do this?
  2. Do we have dimmer switches that don’t allow bulb changes?
  3. Do we have a plan to discard used bulbs properly?  Fluorescent bulbs contain mercury, a potent neurotoxin. The typical CFB contains 5mg, compared with 100mg in a mercury thermometer.   Most large hardware stores accept used fluorescent bulbs and will dispose of the mercury safely.  You also can call your trash collector or local government.  For general recycling advice, try http://www.recycling-guide.org.uk/rrr.htm.

     4. Who will be the leader for this Action Step and report back at the next meeting?

 

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Thermostat Policy

Adopt an office policy to set thermostats to 74 degrees F (23 C) in the summer and 68 F (20 C) in the winter. Put reminder stickers on the thermostats for these settings. Did you know that most office temperatures are set by men, and are uncomfortably cold for the women who work there?
Issues to discuss:

  1. Can we agree to do this?
  2. Do we need to coordinate this with the building manager?
  3. Who will be the leader for this Action Step and report back at the next meeting?

 

MGD-Leaf

Turn Off Your Hot Water Heater

Most doctor offices can turn off their hot water heaters, without health consequences. Hand-washing requires soap, water, and friction, but not heat. A large public health clinic in Pensacola, Florida studied this option, found it to be safe, and is saving hundreds of dollars annually.
Issues to discuss:

  1. Can we agree to do this?
  2. Who will be the leader for this Action Step?

 

Meeting 4:  Begin Workbook 4: Solid Waste & Recycling

  1. Thank everyone for participating.
  2. Ask your leaders to report the progress with the Energy Efficiency Action Steps.
  3. Plan how to recycle your office wastes. Read aloud the “Recycling Your Waste” Action Step from Workbook 4 (provided below).   https://mygreendoctor.org/workbook-4-solid-waste-recycling/
  4. Decide what steps your office will take to recycle.
  5. Announce the date for the next meeting, to continue with ”Solid Waste & Recycling”.
  6. After the meeting, fill out the Green Team Notes form. Keep it very brief– not more than 5 minutes for the Notes: https://mygreendoctor.org/resources/green-team-notes-form/

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Recycling Your Waste

A gree to a goal of 100% recycling for your office waste. Learn what materials can be recycled by commercial buildings in your town. Certainly, you can recycle newspapers, plastic bottles, glass bottles, and aluminum. What about food waste or Styrofoam? Recycling can be complex and may need a committee of 2-4 people to take responsibility for this Action Step.  For general recycling advice, try http://www.recycling-guide.org.uk/rrr.ht

Issues to discuss:

1. Can we agree to do this?

2. Will the trash collector accept these or will a staff member volunteer to take home our recycled materials?

3. What recycling bins are needed for each office room & for the waiting room?

4. Who will purchase recycling bins?

5. Who will monitor the bins weekly, and record how many bins, or bags, or pounds of materials we recycle each week?

6. Who will talk with the cleaning personnel to be sure that our recyclable materials are not discarded as common trash?

 

Meeting 5:  Continue “Workbook 4:  Solid Waste & Recycling”

  1. Thank everyone for participating.
  2. Ask your leaders to report the progress with the Energy Efficiency Action Steps and Recycling.
  3. At this meeting, CHOOSE TWO additional Action Steps from the “Quick Start, Now!” section of “Workbook 4: Solid Waste & Recycling”. (provided below).   https://mygreendoctor.org/workbook-4-solid-waste-recycling/
  4. Announce the date for the next meeting, on the topic, ”Education”.
  5. After the meeting, fill out the Green Team Notes form. Keep it very brief– not more than 5 minutes for the Notes: https://mygreendoctor.org/resources/green-team-notes-form/

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Buy Recycled Paper

A dopt a policy to buy only recycled-content and low toxicity paper products. Paper comes with different extent of recycled content; your office supply vendor will explain the options. Set a goal of at least 30% recycled content. Recycled paper costs a bit more but your energy savings from Weeks 2 & 3 may more than pay for it. Consider using only recycled paper and only vegetable dye inks for outside printing orders. Consider every paper product in the office: notepads, stationery, patient handouts, charts, photocopy and printer paper, brochures, business cards, etc.

Issues to discuss:

  1. Can we agree to do this?
  2. Who will agree to lead this topic?
  3. Can we develop a schedule for transitioning to recycled paper products?

 

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Recycle or Refill Printer Ink Cartridges

Adopt a policy to recycle or refill your printer ink or toner cartridges. Your office supply store or vendor can explain how to accomplish this. You may need a recycling bin to store the empty cartridges.

Issues to discuss:

  1. Can we agree to do this?
  2. Who will lead this Action Step?

 

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Say “No” to Styrofoam

Agree as an office not to use Styrofoam or similar disposable cups and plates. Styrofoam is made with environmentally unfriendly manufacturing methods and is very wasteful. Speak with your product vendors about cups and plates made from alternatives such as corn or paper. Buy sets of inexpensive dishes for the office. Encourage office members to bring their own reusable cups for water, tea, and coffee. Inform the salespeople who bring food & beverages to your office that you no longer accept Styrofoam. Tell your patients!

Issues to discuss:

  1. Can we agree to do this?
  2. Can we order paper or corn-based cups?
  3. Can we re-use our personal cups and glasses?
  4. How can we inform our colleagues, patients, and families about this?
  5. Who will lead this Action Step?

 

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Eliminate Bottled Water and the Water Cooler

Eliminating bottled water and the water cooler saves money, saves electricity, and averts a lot of plastic waste. Of course, you can only do this if your town’s public water supply is safe to drink. Bottled water is expensive, wasteful, and is less rigorously tested for safety than most public water supplies.

Issues to discuss:

  1. Can we agree to do this?
  2. Who will lead this Action Step?
  3. Can we print for the waiting room the My Green Doctor brochure, “Choose Tap Water”
    https://mygreendoctor.org/resources/waiting-room-brochures/?

 

 

Meeting 6:  Education: Sharing Wise Information with Patients & Families

  1. Thank everyone for participating.

  2. Ask your leaders to report the progress with the Energy Efficiency Action Steps and with Solid Waste & Recycling.

  3. Explain that this meeting is to decide how to share sensible My Green Doctor ideas with office colleagues, families, and patients.

  1. Verify that your Green Doctor Office Pledge certificate is printed, framed, and displayed in the waiting room and lunchroom. If not, find a volunteer to do this. Obtain the certificate by registering at https://mygreendoctor.org/ or https://www.MyGreenDoctor.es/ (en Espanol). It is

available in any language.

  1. Here are several Education ideas (pick two or three)

  • From the Resources page, decide to print one or more brochures to offer to patients in the waiting

room. Consider printing one of our climate change education or energy efficiency brochures, for example. Who will take responsibility for this?

  • Consider a short survey to ask your patients in the

waiting room whether they like being offered these brochures, are they likely to share the information with their families, which other topics would they like to learn about.

  • Start an office “Tip of the Week” Program for office colleagues and patients. We provide dozens of simple Tips on the Resources page https://mygreendoctor.org/resources/. Who will pick the “Tip” for each week? How will it be announced: verbally at a meeting, by email, by Electronic Medical Record, by newsletter, or posted on a bulletin board?
  • From the Resources page or from another website, choose a poster to print, frame, and display. Who will this project? For fun, consider making your own poster, or for one of your children to design a colorful poster.

6. Decide to write a short announcement concerning one of your Action Steps for each edition of your office newsletter. Or share with your patients and colleagues several of the brief My Green Doctor blogs:

https://mygreendoctor.org/blog-2/.

  1. Announce the date for the next meeting, on the topic, ”Drug Disposal & Chemicals”.
  2. After the meeting, fill out the Green Team Notes form. Keep your Notes very brief– not more than 5 minutes for the Notes: https://mygreendoctor.org/resources/green-team-notes-form/

 

Meeting 7:  Begin Workbook 5:  Drug Disposal & Chemicals

  1. Thank everyone for participating.
  2. Ask your Action Step leaders to report the progress with “Energy Efficiency, “Solid Waste & Recycling”, and “Education”.
  3. At this meeting, CHOOSE TWO Action Steps from “Workbook 5: Drug Disposal & Chemicals”: https://mygreendoctor.org/workbook-5-drug-disposal-chemicals/  .  We recommend choosing from “Discarding Pharmaceuticals”, “Green Cleaning Supplies”, “Green Hand Soaps”, or “Say ‘NO’ to Mercury”. Each of these is provided below.  Find a leader for each Action Step that you choose.
  4. Announce the date for the next meeting when you will continue with ”Drug Disposal & Chemicals”.

After the meeting, fill out the Green Team Notes form. Keep your Notes very brief– not more than 5 minutes for the Notes: https://mygreendoctor.org/resources/green-team-notes-form/

 

MGD-Leaf

Discarding Pharmaceuticals

A dopt a policy for safe disposal of prescription medications and non-prescription products by the office, your families, and patients. Prepare a one-page handout for your office and patients.  My Green Doctor’s “Resources” tab has brochures, handouts, posters, and blogs for you. Every time your office recommends a new medication to patients, remind them of safely discarding their old pharmaceuticals.  Print our free posters & buy simple picture frames to inform your colleagues and patients:
https://mygreendoctor.org/resources/waiting-room-posters/

  • Never discard medicines in the sink or toilet as these can contaminate public water supplies.
  • Most medicines, vitamins, and herbal medicines can be thrown into your household or office trash. These include prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs in pills, liquids, drops, patches, creams, and inhalers.
  • Scratch out personal information on the empty packaging to protect privacy.
  • If you are concerned that the medicines such as pain medicines could be misused by others, mix them with something undesirable, such as used coffee grounds, dirt, or cat litter, before discarding them in the trash.
  • Some medicines come with instructions for their disposal.  Some inhalers can be dangerous if the container is punctured.  You can ask your pharmacist.
  • Medicines can be returned to most pharmacies for disposal.
  • Some communities have “Drop Boxes” for collecting medicines safely.
  • If you are not sure what is advised in your community, go online or telephone your pharmacist, local government, your trash collector, or your hazardous waste collection center.

 

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Green Cleaning Supplies

Adopt an office policy to use only “green chemicals” endorsed by Safer Choice (from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency), Green Seal, EcoLogo, or a similar organization.  These are products that are safer for you, safer for the workers who made them, and safer for the environment.  Products to identify in your office include hand soaps, general cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, carpet cleaners, glass cleaners, floor strippers, and waxes. Never use bleach, a common cause of lung injury to health professionals. The person who sells and delivers your cleaning products may know about safe chemical options.   Consider sharing with your colleagues and patients our “Green Cleaning” blog: https://mygreendoctor.org/green-cleaning-an-easy-guide-for-homes-offices/  .  Tell your patients that you use safer, “greener” chemicals!

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Green Hand Soaps

 

Adopt a policy to use only Green hand cleansers in public areas such as restrooms.  Avoid “anti-bacterial” products as these generally are not necessary, are expensive, and can harm the environment.

  • Never use soaps containing triclosan, a chemical that is particularly hazardous.
  • C onsider sharing with your colleagues and patients our “Cheaper & Greener” blog: https://mygreendoctor.org/safe-soap-cheaper-greener-by-avoiding-triclosan-2/.
  • Display signs stating that you use only environmentally-certified cleaning products for the safety of your patients and of the environment.
  • Print a My Green Doctor blog on this topic for patients and staff.

 

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Say “NO” to Mercury

Adopt a policy to eliminate all mercury from your office. Mercury is a metal used in liquid form in many medical devices, such as sphygmomanometers, thermometers, and thermostats. Mercury when spilled will evaporate at room temperature to become a highly toxic gas that causes nerve damage, kidney disease, and harm to unborn children. Take an inventory of your mercury-containing devices.  Plan a timetable to rid the office and your homes of mercury-containing devices. Fluorescent lightbulbs contain mercury: always discard these safely. See our “Workbook 1: Energy Efficiency” for more information on bulbs.

 

Meeting 8:  Continue working on Drug Disposal & Chemicals

  1. Thank everyone for participating.
  2. Ask your Action Step leaders to report the progress with “Energy Efficiency, “Solid Waste & Recycling”, and “Education”.
  3. At this meeting, continue with Drug Disposal & Chemicals from the last meeting, from “Workbook 5: Drug Disposal & Chemicals”: https://mygreendoctor.org/workbook-5-drug-disposal-chemicals/ .  We recommend choosing from “Discarding Pharmaceuticals”, “Green Cleaning Supplies”, “Green Hand Soaps”, or “Say ‘NO’ to Mercury”. Each of these is provided below.  Find a leader for each Action Step that you choose.
  4. Announce the date for the next meeting when you will continue with ”Drug Disposal & Chemicals”.

After the meeting, fill out the Green Team Notes form. Keep your Notes very brief– not more than 5 minutes for the Notes: https://mygreendoctor.org/resources/green-team-notes-form/

MGD-Leaf

Discarding Pharmaceuticals

A dopt a policy for safe disposal of prescription medications and non-prescription products by the office, your families, and patients. Prepare a one-page handout for your office and patients.  My Green Doctor’s “Resources” tab has brochures, handouts, posters, and blogs for you. Every time your office recommends a new medication to patients, remind them of safely discarding their old pharmaceuticals.  Print our free posters & buy simple picture frames to inform your colleagues and patients:
https://mygreendoctor.org/resources/waiting-room-posters/

  • Never discard medicines in the sink or toilet as these can contaminate public water supplies.
  • Most medicines, vitamins, and herbal medicines can be thrown into your household or office trash. These include prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs in pills, liquids, drops, patches, creams, and inhalers.
  • Scratch out personal information on the empty packaging to protect privacy.
  • If you are concerned that the medicines such as pain medicines could be misused by others, mix them with something undesirable, such as used coffee grounds, dirt, or cat litter, before discarding them in the trash.
  • Some medicines come with instructions for their disposal.  Some inhalers can be dangerous if the container is punctured.  You can ask your pharmacist.
  • Medicines can be returned to most pharmacies for disposal.
  • Some communities have “Drop Boxes” for collecting medicines safely.
  • If you are not sure what is advised in your community, go online or telephone your pharmacist, local government, your trash collector, or your hazardous waste collection center.

 

MGD-Leaf

Green Cleaning Supplies

Adopt an office policy to use only “green chemicals” endorsed by Safer Choice (from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency), Green Seal, EcoLogo, or a similar organization.  These are products that are safer for you, safer for the workers who made them, and safer for the environment.  Products to identify in your office include hand soaps, general cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, carpet cleaners, glass cleaners, floor strippers, and waxes. Never use bleach, a common cause of lung injury to health professionals. The person who sells and delivers your cleaning products may know about safe chemical options.   Consider sharing with your colleagues and patients our “Green Cleaning” blog: https://mygreendoctor.org/green-cleaning-an-easy-guide-for-homes-offices/  .  Tell your patients that you use safer, “greener” chemicals!

 

MGD-Leaf

Green Hand Soaps

Adopt a policy to use only Green hand cleansers in public areas such as restrooms.  Avoid “anti-bacterial” products as these generally are not necessary, are expensive, and can harm the environment.

  • Never use soaps containing triclosan, a chemical that is particularly hazardous.
  • Consider sharing with your colleagues and patients our “Cheaper & Greener” blog: https://mygreendoctor.org/safe-soap-cheaper-greener-by-avoiding-triclosan-2/.
  • Display signs stating that you use only environmentally-certified cleaning products for the safety of your patients and of the environment.
  • Print a My Green Doctor blog on this topic for patients and staff.

 

 

MGD-Leaf

Say “NO” to Mercury

Adopt a policy to eliminate all mercury from your office. Mercury is a metal used in liquid form in many medical devices, such as sphygmomanometers, thermometers, and thermostats. Mercury when spilled will evaporate at room temperature to become a highly toxic gas that causes nerve damage, kidney disease, and harm to unborn children. Take an inventory of your mercury-containing devices.  Plan a timetable to rid the office and your homes of mercury-containing devices. Fluorescent lightbulbs contain mercury: always discard these safely. See our “Workbook 1: Energy Efficiency” for more information on bulbs.

 

Meeting 9:  Begin Workbook 7:  Healthy Foods in the Office

  1. Thank everyone for participating.

  2. At this meeting, ask your Action Step leaders to review your progress with each the Steps that you have adopted:

  • Education: Sharing Information with Patients and Families

  • Drug Disposal & Chemicals

  • Energy Efficiency

  • Solid Waste & Recycling

  1. Choose ONE Action step from “Workbook 7: Healthy Food in the Office”, provided below: https://mygreendoctor.org/workbook-7-healthy-foods-for-the-doctor-office/ . We suggest choosing to adopt “Go Meatless” or the “Healthy Foods Vendor Policy”.

  1. Who will agree to be the leaders for these Action Steps?

  2. Announce the date for the next meeting at which time you will review your progress & look forward.

  3. After the meeting, fill out the Green Team Notes Form, keep it brief: not more than 5 minutes for the Notes: https://mygreendoctor.org/resources/green-team-notes-form/

MGD-Leaf

Go Meatless

Adopt a policy for everyone in the office have no meat in their diets in the office or at home for at least one day each week. It might be “Meatless Wednesday”! The environment and most people benefit from avoiding meat products, and especially fatty meats and meats from 4-legged animals (beef, pork, lamb, mutton & goat). A terrific website on this is offered by the U.S. non-profit group, “Physicians Against Red Meat”:

https://www.PhARM.org. Tell your families and patients.

Healthy Foods Vendor Policy

Adopt a policy to have only healthy, “green” foods in your office.   My Green Doctor has created a list of practical, industry-standard guidelines that you can print and give to pharmaceutical representatives and other vendors who bring foods to the office (our thanks to Chef Cathy Collins in Jacksonville, Florida, for her advice):

Our Healthy Foods Policy

Adopt a policy to have only healthy, “green” foods in your office. My Green Doctor has created a list of practical, industry-standard guidelines that you can print and give to pharmaceutical representatives and other vendors who bring foods to the office (our thanks to Chef Cathy Collins in Jacksonville, Florida, for her advice):

Our Healthy Foods Policy

Our medical office wishes to promote a healthy workplace and to reduce our carbon footprint. Please consider these guidelines in choosing caterers and restaurants for food and beverages that you bring us.”

    1. Organic: Choose organic foods and beverages.

    2. Go local: Seek produce & specialty products that come from within 100 miles of our community.

  1. Be Sustainable: Offer fish and seafood products from sustainable fisheries and farms.

  2. Healthy fats: Use no Tran’s fats in the preparation of foods for our office.

  3. Meatless: Offer a meatless lunch option, in addition to salads.

  4. Recyclable/Reusable: Use recyclable or reusable plates, cups, and cutlery.

  5. Containers: Use recyclable or reusable containers and bags for deliveries.

  6. Whole foods: Promote healthier eating by using as many whole grains, beans, fresh, and unprocessed foods as possible.

  7. Healthy cooking: Avoid fried, oily, less healthy foods.

 

Meeting 10:  Assessment and Looking Forward

1.Thank everyone for participating.
2.At this meeting, ask your Action Step leaders to review your progress with each the Steps adopted in Meetings 1-9.
Discuss how your practice will continue your work on these topics:

  • Energy Efficiency
  • Solid Waste & Recycling
  • Education
  • Drug Disposal & Chemicals
  •  Healthy Foods in the Office

3.If you have not done so already, email your Green Team Notes forms, or any records that you have created, to My Green Doctor (https://mygreendoctor.org/contact/) and tell us that you have qualified for your Green Doctor Office Certificate. The Certificate is valid for three years and free to offices with a colleague who is a member of one of My Green Doctor’s partnering or participating organizations (https://mygreendoctor.org/welcome-to-my-green-doctor/our-partner-organizations/ ).  The cost of your certificate is $250 (U.S.) for non-members, so this could be a smart time to join one of our partner societies! Print two copies of your Certificate and buy simple frames to display this proudly in your waiting room and lunchroom. Post on social media that your office, clinic, outpatient center has earned the Green Doctor Office Certificate and describe your journey for the benefit of others.
4. Announce the date for the next meeting, continuing to add five minutes of My Green Doctor to each of your practice’s business or planning meeting.
5.After the meeting, complete the Green Team Notes form. Keep it very brief– not more than 5 minutes for the Notes:
https://mygreendoctor.org/resources/green-team-notes-form/

 

 

Meeting-by Meeting: Meeting 11 and Beyond:  “The Road Ahead is Green”

Green” is now part of the culture of your office, clinic, or outpatient center.  Congratulations!   Look back at “Ten Reasons to Go Green”, and see if these have been true for you:  https://mygreendoctor.org/welcome-to-my-green-doctor/ten-reasons-to-go-green/.   My Green Doctor would love to receive a brief email with your impressions and suggestions:  [email protected]

The My Green Doctor Workbooks – we offer seven of them at MyGreenDoctor.org and MyGreenDoctor.es — will be your guide for the next three years.

  • My Green Doctor hopes you will continue to include a five minutes of My Green Doctor as part of every planning meeting of your office, clinic, or outpatient center. My Green Doctor offers more than 140 ideas for how to make your place of work and community healthier.  You will never run out of fun, worthwhile, and money-saving Action Steps and Education Steps.

At Each Office, Clinic, or Outpatient Center Meeting:

  1. Thank everyone for participating.
  2. At each meeting, ask your Action Step leaders to review your progress with the Steps that you have adopted that still need attention.
  3. At each meeting, try to adopt ONE new Action Step from the My Green Doctor Workbooks. Remember to include an Education component, such as an announcement for your office colleagues, a newsletter item, a waiting room brochure, a poster, or a “Tip of the Month” for your patients and their families: https://www.mygreendoctor.org/tip-of-the-month/.
  4. Here are a few ideas for Action Steps for your practice:
    1. Energy Efficiency: “Complete an Office Energy Audit”, “Engage Your Office Neighbors”, or “Install Motion Detectors”
    2. Renewable Energy: “Buy Renewable Energy”, and create a one-page handout telling your patients how they can also.
    3. Water Efficiency: “Inspect Your Irrigation System” or “Turn Off Your Hot Water Heater”
    4. Solid Waste & Recycling: This workbook has 38 ideas that you can use in your practice, most of them easy. Consider joining My Green Doctor’s “Green P urchasing Program” to buy products for your office that are as safe as possible for those in your office, for the environment, for the climate, and for the people who make the products that you buy.
    5. Drug Disposal & Chemicals: “Adopt a Green Chemicals Policy”, deploy insect “bait stations” instead of chemical sprays
    6. Transportation & Commuting: “Encourage Bicycle Use”, “Calculate the office Transportation Carbon Footprint’, “Educate Each other on Electric or Low-Emission Vehicles”.
    7. Healthy Foods for the Office: “Go Meatless”, “Start a Garden”, “Join a Local Food Box”:  https://www.mygreendoctor.org/why-not-join-a-local-food-box-or-csa/.