5 simple steps towards a sustainable physiotherapy practice

Every little step counts

Do you want to positively impact not only the environment but also your finances and patient base? Making your practice more sustainable is easier than you may think. With just a few simple steps, you’ll make a big difference before you know it. Discover five practical and easily achievable steps in this article to transport your physiotherapy practice into a sustainable future. From reducing paper usage to promoting green mobility and switching to renewable energy, numerous opportunities can transform the environmental impact of your practice.

However, committing to sustainability goes beyond environmental benefits. Striving for sustainability can also positively affect your practice's reputation and patient satisfaction rate. So what are you waiting for? Let's join forces on this journey towards a more sustainable future.

Read on to discover how five simple steps can help make your physiotherapy practice more sustainable. Every little step counts, and your commitment can make a big difference.

Step 1: Reduce paper usage

One single step that has already been implemented in many practices is reducing paper usage. Lest we forget that paper comes from the valuable trees we rely on to absorb CO2 and oxygen production, paper also requires an efficient and space-consuming storage system. In a time when space is becoming scarcer and more expensive, it's a good idea to consider the following:

  • Start using electronic patient records.
  • Digitise existing patient files.

Of course, a digital calendar can also come in handy. That way, if you have a larger team, all team members can access the calendar instead of just you.

Step 2: Reduce waste

Waste accumulates quickly, but reducing your waste is not rocket science:

  • Separate your waste. Every piece of garbage that doesn't end up in the general waste bag is one step forward.
  • Use recyclable products.
  • Avoid using disposable plastic items, or even better:
  • Use reusable materials such as glasses, cups, towels, and terrycloth covers for your treatment table.

If replacing your disposable products with reusable ones isn’t straightforward, try sustainable disposable products. While that may sound contradictory, you're already making a more sustainable choice by selecting products from responsible materials such as paper, bamboo, cardboard, and palm leaf. These materials decompose faster than plastic and are, therefore, better for the environment and the planet.

Step 3: Invest in sustainable products

Sustainable products are manufactured environmentally friendly and contribute to reducing their environmental impact. Purchasing and using sustainable products appeals to ecological activists and can benefit your practice because they last longer. Consider the following ideas:

  • Use sustainable tools, such as foam rollers made from recycled materials.
  • Purchase sustainable furniture.
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with LED lights and replace fluorescent tubes with more sustainable alternatives.
  • Choose sustainable cleaning agents and methods. Cleaning agents often make all sorts of promises on their packaging, but do they deliver? You can go a long way with vinegar, green soap, baking soda, and citric acid. That’s good for your wallet and the planet, as you don't have to flush chemical products down the drain. Additionally, try using almost indestructible microfiber cloths instead of disposable wipes.

Step 4: Promote green mobility for employees and patients

Ensure a reduction in CO2 emissions by adopting greener means of transportation:

  • Encourage your employees to carpool.
  • Implement a bicycle plan for your employees or promote cycling during working hours by purchasing a bicycle for home visits. Consider an electric bike or car for your practice if home visits are not nearby.
  • Provide bicycle parking or racks at your practice and provide information about public transportation.

Step 5: Opt for green energy

Green energy results in little to no CO2 emissions and is renewable, benefiting the environment. What else can you do?

  • Invest in solar panels. In the short term, this benefits the environment, but in the medium term, it provides financial advantages. That's a win-win for you and the planet.
  • Incorporate nature into your patients' exercise therapy. Functional exercises using one's body weight as resistance are highly effective. If you're not keen on moving your work to the great outdoors, encourage your patients to exercise in nature.

Purchasing solar panels may be challenging if you rent your business premises, but why not discuss it with your landlord? Maybe you can even negotiate a rent reduction for the future. Even if that doesn't work out, it's still a good investment for your landlord and gives you a sense of being more environmentally conscious.

Extra tip: Implement biophilic design in your practice

Biophilic design involves incorporating nature into the design of your practice. It can make employees more productive, creative, and satisfied. Furthermore, it can also contribute to the sustainability of your practice:

  • Choose live plants for your indoor space. Various plants can filter out harmful substances and increase the oxygen level in a room. So, say goodbye to expensive, noisy air purifiers that consume electricity and are not environmentally friendly, and welcome the air-purifying Calathea.
  • Use natural elements, including light and ventilation. This can reduce the need for artificial lighting and mechanical ventilation.

Gymna is also committed to sustainability

Of course, we don't just provide tips but also like to go the extra mile regarding our sustainability efforts. Gymna's mission is to promote accessible and sustainable healthcare for everyone. As a company operating in a sector that directly impacts people's quality of life and well-being, we recognise that it's our responsibility to contribute to a fairer, socially inclusive, and more environmentally friendly world.

As a conscious and leading brand, we understand that sustainable business practices are essential for our future. Therefore, we’ve aligned ourselves with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and have identified three key pillars to guide our efforts and decisions.

The sustainable care pillar represents our ongoing commitment to protecting the environment. We strive to minimise our ecological footprint and to integrate sustainable principles into all aspects of our business:

•    We choose local suppliers and materials whenever possible. •    We produce sustainable products with minimal waste. •    We invest in the research and development of new sustainable and user-friendly products and aim to integrate eco-design principles.

Curious about the other two pillars that support Gymna's sustainability vision? Learn more about them here

We understand there’s still a long way to go, but we are determined to take the necessary steps to achieve our goal. Follow our journey towards becoming a more sustainable enterprise on our social media channels.