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      How, and Why, to Introduce Eco-Friendly Products Into Your Veterinary Practice


      The animal health industry’s consumption of single-use products is difficult to accurately measure, but spending even just a day in any average clinic in the US will show you we produce a lot of waste. However, without sustainable products and services readily available, what options do we have?

      Let’s use nitrile gloves as an example. If we were to look at the number of veterinary medicine practitioners, as well as the average number of patient visits, that number could very well reach two million gloves (or more) per day. That equates to three-quarters of a billion gloves per year.

      Traditional nitrile exam gloves can take over 200 years to decompose, which affords plenty of time for an extended leach of toxins into soils, wild animal consumption, and hazardous product lifetime proliferation. That also means that every nitrile glove ever worn, unless it was incinerated, is still currently in a landfill, and will be for hundreds more years.
       

      What about consumers?


      Let’s look at the other part of the equation: the consumer. Over the past several decades, we’ve seen sustainability shift from a “fringe idea,” to nearly the forefront of consumer purchasing decisions. In fact, a joint study by McKinsey and NIQ showed that growth in products making ESG claims (Environmental, Social, Governance) outpaced similar products by nearly double-digit growth over a 5-year period. It’s clear that consumers want sustainable goods, and that they are willing to prove it with their dollars!

      Consumers are making demands of every other industry to be more sustainable, and while they may be more forgiving when it comes to medical needs at the moment, the demands are most certainly on the horizon for animal health.

      Additionally, those same Millennial or Gen Z consumers are now also working in clinics, and have been for some time. Their desire for corporate sustainability and accountability doesn’t stop when they put on their scrubs.
       

      Do products exist to meet the “sustainability demand?”

      We have the need, from consumers and practitioners, but do we have the products…?

      Sustainability in medicine requires there be a balance struck between efficacy and price. Whereas we may be willing to deal with mushy paper straws at our local coffee shop, we cannot accept poor performance when a patient’s life is in jeopardy, and we can’t levy exorbitant prices on the consumer either.

      To achieve balance, we must fundamentally believe that pursing sustainability is not just good for the planet, but good for business as well. By pulling back the proverbial curtains on our business practices, we can not only benefit the world, but ourselves and our businesses, by hard questions and making different choices.

      It all starts with doing what you can. Adding sustainable practices and products are two actions that can have a huge impact on your carbon footprint alone. From there, we progress as we can.
       

      Spotlight on 3 eco-friendly veterinary products

      1. BetterGloves™ PF Nitrile Exam Gloves

      kvp-eco-gloves.png

      Designed to address the growing issue of single-use product pollution in the medical industry, KVP BetterGloves™ are biodegradable and FDA-approved medical-grade gloves.

      Additional Features:
      • Maintains the same glove properties and shelf life as standard nitrile gloves, proven by real-time shelf-life test results
      • BDG drop-in technology attracts microbes found in landfills to increase decomposition time, without leaving behind chemicals as seen in traditional nitrile gloves.
      • BDG is integrated into the existing manufacturing process without compromising product quality, preserving tensile strength and force exerted at break.
      • Proven safe for use against skin according to ISO standards and food handling. • Nitrile, powder-free gloves (latex free)
      • Available in sizes S - XL

      2. BetterCollars™ Elizabethan Collars

      kvp-eco-collars.png
      Designed to address the growing issue of single-use plastic products in the veterinary industry, KVP BetterCollars™ are made with a unique PLA material that contains properties to assist biodegradation. That, in combination with the tried-and-true design from PLA’s classic Saf-T-Clear, BetterCollars™, brings an undisputed sustainable e-collar option to the veterinary industry for a better planet and greener animal healthcare.

      Additional features:
      • Takes 42% less energy than petroleum-based plastic to produce
      • 32% reduction in greenhouse gases compared to petroleum based plastic
      • Attracts microbes found in landfills to decrease decomposition time without soil ecotoxicity
      • 100% biodegradable in 3-6 months in a landfill or industrial compost
      • Edges are sewn with natural cotton
      • Dye-free
      • Available in neck circumference sizes 6" - 25"

      3. BetterVials™ Renewable Prescription Vials

      kvp-eco-vials.png
      Designed to address the growing issue of single use plastic waste in the medical industry, KVP BetterVials™ are the only pharmacy bottles made with PLA, that also meet FDA guidelines.

      Additional Features:
      • 100% plant based and biodegradable
      • Both dram and lid can be thrown away in household trash or recycled (#7)
      • Complete degradation when exposed to moisture and heat in 3-6 months
      • Takes 42% less energy than petroleum-based plastic to produce
      • 32% reduction in greenhouse gases compared to petroleum based plastic

      By making small efforts to be better stewards of the planet, you also become a better business, a better employer, and are ultimately able to provide a better service for your customers. Happy Earth Day!
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