Pennard Vets enhances green credentials with innovative recycling scheme - Veterinary Practice
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Pennard Vets enhances green credentials with innovative recycling scheme

Employee-owned veterinary group, Pennard Vets, has launched a ground-breaking recycling scheme to ensure surgical aprons, masks and certain syringes, as well as foil pet food pouches, are now being recycled rather than incinerated or sent to landfill

Pennard Vets has joined forces with Hill’s Pet Nutrition to recycle the premium pet food brand’s foil food pouches and flexible bags through specialist recycling giant TerraCycle, which can recycle almost any form of waste. This recycling scheme means cat and dog owners can take Hill’s rinsed out, empty packaging to Pennard Vets’ practices in Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and Maidstone to be recycled. 

Pennard Vets is now planning to expand the recycling scheme into its other Kent practices in Allington, Borough Green, Langley Park and West Malling, next year. 

The company has also become one of the first veterinary practices in the UK to start recycling surgical aprons, face masks, needle caps, blister packs and plastic syringes that have been used with sterile water or saline. The scheme has been trialled at Pennard Vets’ Tonbridge and Sevenoaks practices and the company is now exploring rolling this out across the group.  

Earlier this year Pennard Vets became the largest veterinary practice in the world to become employee owned, through an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT), meaning its 110-strong team are now practice owners and shareholders in the business.  

Beth Kirwan, head veterinary nurse at Pennard Vets’ Sevenoaks practice, said: “Historically the veterinary industry has produced more than its fair share of waste, and at Pennard Vets we’re working hard to reduce our impact on the environment. This has been accelerated by us becoming employee owned which means our entire team are now even more empowered to put forward ideas and drive change through the business. 

“We already have weekly collections of cardboard, tins, drip bags and tubing, but we wanted to do more to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill or being incinerated. 

“Pet food packaging uses special materials, to keep food fresh for extended periods and prevent leaks, which means it can’t be recycled in domestic bins. Previously we were taking Hill’s food pouches to specialist recycling points, but introducing our own collection bins is dramatically increasing the amount of waste we can recycle, and it’s already proving popular with local pet owners. 

“We’re also excited to now be in a position to start recycling clinical clothing and equipment that does not contain blood, medicines or biological contaminants, which gives us a big opportunity to significantly reduce our environmental impact further. Hopefully the industry will see that changes likes these at individual practices will all combine to make a big difference.”  

In recent years, Pennard Vets has launched a wide range of other initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint. These include installing energy efficient LED lighting with motion sensors, investing in oxygen generators to eradicate deliveries of oxygen cylinders, replacing plastic bags with paper or tote bags, as well as investing in large load washing machines and eco-friendly drying facilities. 

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