CLEARWATER, Fla. - The staff of Advanced Medical of Florida gets together four times a year to pick up garbage along the beach, but they do much more for the environment all year long.
Senior physical therapy assistant Isabella Thayer came up with the idea. "Last year around April, Earth Day was coming around,” Thayer explained. “I looked around and thought, there's a lot more we can be doing to make a positive impact, not just with our patients, but out in the community.”
Thayer is passionate about the beach and thought it was a great place to start. “We could clean up the beaches, and get more team members and other people involved, and show them that what we do every day really matters," Thayer said.
But then Thayer decided to take her efforts a step further and encourage changes at the office. She said, "I looked around at what we were doing at work, and thought we could reduce our carbon footprint and take charge of our little daily activities. The things we do every day. The small things."
In the office, everyone now brings reusable lunch bags. They also bring their own silverware from home versus using plastic silverware. Thayer said, “If there’s plastic in the clinic we may shake our finger at you for the day and say, ‘Hey, where’s that reusable cup?’”
The staff also uses metal reusable cups, rather than paper or plastic ones. The office now uses rechargeable batteries and has reduced its paper use. The team also went paperless by putting more documents on a computer. They are also using rechargeable batteries.
Thayer adds, "At first it was quite a bit of a challenge. There was definitely resistance. Not because they didn't like the idea, but because changing any habit can be difficult. When you put more responsibility on yourself, obviously that’s a time you have to think about what you’re doing.
But once everyone realized how easy it is, and the little changes that we do make, really make an impact on our community and our environment, it's been so easy."
Thayer said a lot of team members also began changing what they do at home and began educating their family and friends.
She hopes other Tampa Bay area offices will follow in their footsteps and do their part for the environment.