AVMA policies encourage recycling

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Does the AVMA have a stance on recycling in private veterinary practice? Some members have called to ask.

The answer is yes—the Association supports recycling and other conservation measures. Two AVMA policies provide relevant guidance.

"Recycling and Resource Conservation" is an AVMA policy that encourages these practices by its members, employees, and others. The policy states the following:

Recycling and Resource Conservation

The AVMA supports conservation of natural resources by encouraging prudent recycling and the utilization of recycled products by its offices, employees, councils, committees, members and others. The AVMA also encourages reduced use and re-use of supplies and materials where appropriate.

Staff at the AVMA headquarters building in Schaumburg, Ill., recycle and use recycled products. Also, the building recently earned the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star rating for energy efficiency (see story).

The second policy promotes an environmentally sensitive approach to practicing veterinary medicine:

Environmental Responsibility

The AVMA supports environmental responsibility including:

  • Education of veterinarians and the public on the importance of maintenance and restoration of a healthy environment using cost analysis and science-based, peer-reviewed information, and the importance of sustainability, conservation and long term planning.
  • Understanding control and prevention of the environmental impacts of chemicals, medical and animal wastes, greenhouse gases, and other man made products that may negatively effect the environment.
  • Promotion of scientifically-based, environmentally sensitive practices of veterinary medicine to ensure a viable ecosystem for future generations.

The policies are available online here.

The AVMA Committee on Environmental Issues has oversight of these policies. The AVMA Executive Board will vote later this month on a CEI proposal to expand "Recycling and Resource Conservation" to encourage energy conservation and other green practices.

The committee's overall mission is to address environmental issues that affect animal, environmental, and public health. The committee has chosen three areas on which to focus its energy and expertise—green practices in veterinary medicine, environmental health aspects of the one-health initiative, and issues related to waste generated by animals and veterinary practices.

To increase veterinarians' awareness of environmental issues, the committee organizes educational sessions for the AVMA Annual Convention and is developing practical materials such as guidelines on waste disposal.

Coming soon from the committee is a searchable database that will allow veterinarians and veterinary students to locate internships, training programs, and other opportunities in areas such as conservation, environment, wildlife, and zoologic medicine as well as service opportunities such as policymaking.

"Every day, there is more information to remind us that the quality of our environment has a major impact on the health of animals and people," said Dr. Peregrine L. Wolff, CEI chair. "The membership of CEI, working closely with the AVMA staff, is committed to disseminating relevant information concerning these environmental issues to our membership."