Your practice can make a big difference by going green
General practices have the opportunity to contribute to the preservation of our environment and planetary health. Efforts to reduce the environmental impact of a practice also has financial benefits.
General practices can lead by example and makes changes to the way they operate to reduce their environmental footprint. The RACGPs Reducing the environmental impact of a general practice factsheet provides practices with advice on how to:
- reduce energy consumption
- review water usage
- reduce paper usage
- increase recycling, and
- minimise and recycle e-waste.
The RACGP has also developed an e-waste policy template to help practices articulate how they manage e-waste.
Amandeep: So we do throw out a lot of e-waste. Unfortunately, we're replacing things at such a rapid pace - I think we've got 200,000 tons of e-waste every year that we're throwing out. So e-waste is any of our electronic devices. It's laptops, computers, faxes, televisions, smartphones, tablets, all of that that carries information on it that we throw out, is considered e-waste. So we need to be careful about how we dispose of these devices because they do contain patient information and we have obligations around privacy and confidentiality to make sure that we're not throwing out patient information, and it might fall into the wrong hands.
So there's one side of it around making sure that we're not inadvertently exposing our patient information to other parties, but there's also another part around the environmental concerns of throwing out some of these devices. They can be toxic to the environment because they release chemicals which are damaging and we need to make sure that we're not throwing it out with a general rubbish. So there are specific places where you can dispose of e-waste and there's resources on the RACGP website, which will go through - depending on what you're throwing out - some of those processes, some of those locations where you can actually go, or organizations you can contact to help you get rid of unwanted items.
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In summary, you must not edit or adapt it or use it for any commercial purposes.
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