Meet Merryn: Locum Veterinary Nurse & founder of Zero Waste Veterinary
"If everyone in the veterinary profession made a stand against the big companies who are overusing packaging and operating on a less-than-sustainable basis, these companies would have no choice but to listen."
Briefly describe your current role and professional interests
I have been a locum nurse for almost two years now in practices across Scotland. I particularly enjoy my work in the charity sector. Within practice, I’m drawn to feline nursing and nursing clinics.
When did you know you wanted to work in the veterinary profession?
When I was little, I always said I wanted to be a hamburger when I grew up. In secondary school, I did a two-week work placement at my local vets and the hamburger idea went out of the window!
What is your favourite part of the job?
Seeing how much pets mean to people and knowing that those animals are safe and loved.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Seeing the huge amount of waste being produced around me and knowing that a lot of it could be avoided.
Do you have any tips for achieving a good work-life balance?
How do veterinary professionals currently help to drive sustainability?
The most common things I’ve seen include recycling and reducing the amount of waste being produced, both at home and in practice. I’ve even seen veterinary professionals change their diet to help drive sustainability.
What do you feel are the major opportunities to drive sustainability in the veterinary sector?
I think that our collective voice can have a very big impact. If everyone in the veterinary profession made a stand against the big companies who are overusing packaging and operating on a less-than-sustainable basis, these companies would have no choice but to listen. This is something everyone can get involved in.
What are your top tips for veterinary professionals wishing to take the first steps to drive sustainability in their roles?
It is important to keep in mind that all of this stems from a much bigger problem within our society. We have been conditioned to prioritise convenience over sustainability. Although, we are now being told that we must change, breaking these habits overnight is just not feasible. My advice is to start small, take it day-by-day and lead by example.
If you could wave a magic wand and make one improvement to drive the sustainability impact of the veterinary profession, what would it be?
I would eliminate the need for single-use plastics within the veterinary profession. It's the most common complaint that I’ve come across while discussing sustainability with veterinary professionals.
Meet the people who embed sustainability into their life and work
From the veterinary nurses who advise on responsible antibiotic use and lead welfare campaigns, to the practice managers who actively reduce the environmental footprint of their workplace — we recognise the scale of your impact.