7 Tips for Going Green in the Pharmacy

How green is your pharmacy? Think about how much you and your coworkers are reducing, reusing, and recycling in the pharmacy.

As the world prepares to celebrate Earth Day later this week, it’s a good time to reflect on our practices in the pharmacy. How green is your pharmacy? Think about how much you and your coworkers are reducing, reusing, and recycling in the pharmacy.

If you want to go green, here are some quick tips to consider in your pharmacy:

  • E-prescriptions. Make sure you have your e-prescriptions coming through to your pharmacy system directly and not through the fax machine. It may cost a bit more to receive those e-prescriptions but it will increase efficiency — think about the time spent typing and scanning hard copies. If your system pulls in the information in your fields, it will also minimize errors since you’re not transcribing as much.
  • Minimize printing. Only print medication guides with the first dispense of each prescription. That’s the minimum requirement and we shouldn’t print more than is required unless the patient requests it. Studies show that patients don’t read the written materials we give them. Suppress receipt printing if the patient doesn’t need a receipt.
  • Avoid bags. Of course you should keep bags on hand in case patients request a bag or need one for a large quantity of items. Most people appreciate the reminder and opportunity to go green when you bring it up. You can even create a small sign near your register about your pharmacy’s efforts to go green and avoiding bags.
  • Reuse vials. This may sound icky and unsanitary at first. This tip only applies to vials being used for the same medication for the same patient. Encourage patients to bring in vials for refills. You can just slap the new label over the old when refilling the vial.
  • Use the smallest size. You might even save your pharmacy a bit of money when using the smallest vial or bottle size when filling prescriptions. Patients will appreciate the smaller sizes too so they can carry or pack their prescriptions more easily.
  • Recycle paper. Even paper with patient identifiers can be shredded then recycled. Try reusing paper without patient identifiers for scratch paper.
  • Conserve energy. Turn off lights, air conditioning, computer monitors and other equipment that isn’t needed when the pharmacy is closed. This is going to save on the electricity bill too.

After reviewing these tips, what would you add to the list?

It may not be possible to make all these changes, but do what you can. The Earth along with everyone and everything living on it thank you for your efforts!