SCOTLAND’S largest independent veterinary group has formed a specialist green team who are already introducing new initiatives, from powering practices using only renewable energy to changing pet food packaging to recyclable materials, to reduce the group’s carbon footprint and be as sustainable as possible.
The green team at Thrums Vets now includes representatives from each of its four practices across Angus and East Perthshire, who are addressing how every aspect of the group’s operations can be made more sustainable. The team, comprising of veterinary nurse Amy Lownie and vets Katrin Lewis, Alex Hussey and Bex Allen, also meet regularly to share ideas and implement new initiatives.
In recent months, the group has invested in a water purifier and oxygen generation system, installed composting bins made from recycled pallets and transitioned food packaging to eco-friendly and recyclable materials.
Compostable paper towels are now being used across the practices and through a partnership with PetsApp, appointment reminders, invoices and receipts are sent electronically, with anything that does have to be printed using FSC certified paper. Eco-friendly cleaning supplies and sustainable office products are also being sourced from local suppliers.
In addition, solar panels have been installed at Thrums Vets’ Kirriemuir branch, meaning the entire surgery’s electrical needs and its team of 25 vets, nurses and support team are now fully powered by renewable energy.
Other initiatives include avoiding single-use plastic wherever possible, using water butts to collect rainwater for watering plants and washing vans, as well as planting wildflowers to encourage wildlife. The group has also installed energy efficient LED lighting, along with a system to prompt people to turn off lights, and is currently switching signage lighting to LEDs.
Katrin Lewis said: “As we celebrate our 75th anniversary this year, we’ve clearly always been committed to providing the best care for our clients, but it’s vital that this also extends to the impact we have on the planet. We’ve therefore embarked on green mission to ensure our practices are as sustainable as possible.
“We’ve also taken inspiration and advice from practices within XLVets, the community of independently owned veterinary practices that work collaboratively for the greater good of the industry. This has helped us to share best practice when it comes to sustainability and make further improvements to our procedures.
“We now have colleagues from all four of our practices in the green team and we’re continually looking at new ways of improving our green credentials. Even simple things like using spare Loxicom syringes for lab work, and washing lines instead of relying on tumble drying, as well as redesigning our recycling plan, are making a noticeable and positive difference.
“Since the start of the year, we’ve significantly reduced our carbon footprint and we’re now looking at a number of other exciting initiatives that we’ll be ready to unveil in the coming months.”