“Going green” is a great way for your independent community pharmacy to save money and attract more patients.
Many consumers even choose to shop at stores because they’re eco-friendly. A 2015 study by Nielson found that consumers preferred purchasing from companies committed to helping the environment.
If your independent community pharmacy doesn’t implement any sustainable business practices, follow these tips to get started. And if you already practice sustainability, this list can help expand your efforts.
10 Ways Your Independent Pharmacy Can Go Green
1. Be conscious of lighting
You can save a lot of energy—and money—by investing in energy-efficient lighting.
For example, use lighting sensors that turn lights on and off automatically when someone enters or leaves a room. This is especially beneficial if you or your employees are guilty of forgetting to switch off the lights.
If your building allows for it, take advantage of natural light. When it’s bright outside, turn off the lights and use the natural light from windows or skylights.
2. Be efficient with heating and cooling
Heating and cooling can eat up more energy than most people realize.
Invest in programmable thermostats so you can regulate the temperature in your pharmacy depending on the time of day.
For example, during winter you can set the temperature to be colder at night when no one’s there but crank the heat back up the next morning before your pharmacy opens.
Additionally, change your air filters regularly and have your units checked yearly to ensure they’re working as efficiently as possible.
3. Bank online
Part of going green is limiting the amount of paper you use on a daily basis. One easy way to do this is to make payments electronically.
Instead of using paper checks, pay utilities, vendors, and suppliers online.
And, pay your employees using direct deposit.
4. Power down electronics
You’ve heard it a million times before. Turn off your electronics to conserve energy.
When you’re not using them, keep electronics and appliances unplugged—especially when you leave the pharmacy for the day.
And, switch any equipment you’re using into power-save mode when possible to save additional energy.
5. Offer email receipts
Traditional receipts use up a lot of unnecessary paper, and they can clutter up patients’ wallets, purses, and pockets.
Go paperless and email patients an electronic copy of their receipt rather than printing physical ones.
This method can also help grow your pharmacy’s email list, as you’ll need to ask patients for their email address to send the receipt.
6. Use a digital schedule
Printing a new schedule for employees each week or month is another paper-wasting practice.
Instead, use a scheduling app employees can download on their smartphone or tablet.
They can easily view the schedule when they need to and clock in and out without having to use timesheets.
7. Use recyclable prescription bags
Your pharmacy fills a lot of prescriptions each day. If your prescription bags aren’t recyclable, think about how much damage your pharmacy alone could be doing to the environment.
Make the switch and use environmentally-friendly bags made from recycled materials. And, use paper bags for front-end merchandise instead of plastic ones.
Additionally, encourage patients to use reusable shopping bags when shopping for front-end merchandise. (Hint: You can even sell reusable bags in your pharmacy.)
8. Sell environmentally-friendly products
Patients who prefer shopping at eco-friendly stores will likely buy eco-friendly products.
Demonstrate your commitment to going green by stocking environmentally-friendly products in your front end.
Eco-friendly products your pharmacy can carry:
- Reusable coffee cups and drink bottles
- Recycled toilet paper
- Biodegradable feminine products
- Eco-friendly cleaning supplies
- Reusable napkins and sandwich wraps
- Pens made from recycled materials
- Recycled handle toothbrushes
- Biodegradable bug spray and sunscreen
- Compostable cutlery and dishes
- Eco-friendly cosmetics
9. Encourage alternative transportation
We all know that cars have a negative effect on the environment.
As an independent community pharmacy, there’s a good chance your employees don’t live too far from where they work—or from one another.
Encourage employees to take public transportation or carpool when they can. If they live close to work, suggest they walk or ride their bikes.
And, install bike racks outside your pharmacy to encourage patients to ride their bikes to your business.
You might recycle at home, but do you recycle at your pharmacy?
Recycling helps save energy and reduces pollution, which is great for the environment.
Place a recycling bin in your pharmacy next to the trash. Hang a sign above the containers to remind employees which items they can place in the recycling bin instead of the waste basket, such as paper, aluminum and plastic bottles.
Implement these sustainable business practices to make your pharmacy more environmentally friendly.
A Member-Owned Company Serving Independent Pharmacies
PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy-side of their business. Founded and owned by pharmacists, PBA Health serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, wholesaler contract negotiations, proprietary purchasing tools, and more.
An HDA member, PBA Health operates its own NABP-accredited secondary wholesaler with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products — offering the lowest prices in the secondary market.