Greener Veterinary Practice Checklist

The Vet Sustain Greener Veterinary Practice Checklist outlines where to start and provides links to available guidance and green-options.

The Vet Sustain Greener Veterinary Practice Checklist outlines the points a veterinary practice may consider to become more sustainable, and provides links to available guidance and green options.

This Checklist has been created by Vet Sustain in partnership with BVA, BVNA and SPVS. On this page you can find the full Checklist together with links to useful resources and our independent recommendations, and a free download of the poster for your practice.

Download the free poster for your practice at the bottom of the page.

1. Practise Responsible Resource Use

a) Reduce fossil fuel use for energy and heating by remembering to turn appliances off and switching to renewable energy:

b) Segregate and dispose of waste appropriately, reducing, reusing, and recycling where possible:

c) Reduce disposable materials usage, including single-use plastics, where possible:

  • Use reusable cloth surgical hats such as these from All Scrubbed Up
  • Replace shoe covers with theatre shoes
  • Use reusable cloth hand towels and re-sterilise them, if using traditional scrub techniques
  • Use reusable textile surgical drapes and gowns, when suitable
  • Use reusable sterilisation wraps or tins, such as these from B.Braun Vet Care, IMS or Veterinary Instrumentation
  • Use recyclable sterilisation pouches, such as these from Millpledge Veterinary
  • Replace purified water bottles with a water purifier

d) Ensure responsible paper sourcing, use and disposal:

e) Put water-saving measures in place:

  • Use alcohol-based surgical skin preparation versus traditional surgical scrub
  • Install a cistern displacement device in your loo to save 1 litre per flush!
  • Rationalise dishwasher loading and running
  • Use fleece animal bedding that is easier to wash and line dry

f) Make sustainable choices when purchasing equipment or consumables

  • Check out our Green Procurement List
  • Encourage your suppliers to minimise packaging
  • Purchase supplies from companies with environmental credentials

2. Be sustainable in your operation

a) Include eco-principles in building design or adaptations where possible:

b) Ensure environmental legislation compliance:

  • For example, make sure you are correctly handling veterinary waste by following the BVA guidance posters

c) Use evidence-based infection control measures and minimise use of ecotoxic chemicals:

d) Minimise the greenhouse gas impacts of anaesthetic agents:

e) Enhance on-site green spaces and promote biodiversity in surroundings:

f) Promote animal welfare:

  • Take a look at the BVA animal welfare strategy
  • Consider practice commitments in areas such as reduced-stress handling and hospitalisation, support for ethical decision-making, use of pain scoring tools and neutering kittens at four months old. Get inspired by the PDSA's approach to advancing animal welfare in their Pet Hospitals using a pet wellbeing task force, practice-based champions and clinical audit.

g) Support sustainable welfare-friendly agriculture when advising farming clients:

h) Create a travel-policy to reduce emissions from business travel, commuting and freight:

i) Support walking, cycling or public transport use, by staff and clients:

j) Reduce carbon emissions from conferencing, education and practice meetings:

  • Attend some conferences or CPD virtually where possible
  • Consider holding your practice meetings between branches as a teleconference

k) Utilise paper-free management systems wherever possible.

3. Use medicines responsibly

a) Practise responsible antimicrobial stewardship (including antiparasitic) to mitigate resistance:

b) Avoid drug wastage through good stocking principles

c) Dispose of drugs correctly (avoid ecotoxicity)

4. Empower the team

a) Support staff wellbeing and development, eg through sustainability education and projects, and encourage formation of a ‘Green group’

b) Recognise that good health and wellbeing supports all aspects of practice operations. This includes physical, emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing:

If you can take these steps and note your improvements, you’re ready to write your Sustainability policy for your practice.

  • Create a “Green group” of passionate team members
  • Communicate what you are doing with your clients

If you want to take the next step, you could create an environmental management system (EMS) for your practice (you can find more information on this in our upcoming Greener Veterinary Practice course), or through Investors in the Environment (iiE) if you are interested in undertaking an accreditation scheme.

Please complete the form to access your free Greener Veterinary Practice Checklist download!