Recognized with the Eco Excellence Award, the Stettler Veterinary Clinic has been operating in the community since 1949. The honour, part of the Stettler Business & Citizenship Awards, was formally received Oct. 24th.
“The clinic was built in 1949, and was originally one of the government’s projects to bring veterinarians to rural areas,” explained Andrea Muhlbach, facility administrator. The Clinic, which employs six veterinarians, has been expanded several times since those early days.
“Over the years, there have been add-ons to the ground floor and then 12 years ago, there was a big renovation where we added the second storey,” she said.
As to the Eco Excellence Award, Muhlbach said Clinic staff always attempt to re-think how to handle waste and come up with ways to reduce, reuse and recycle as much as possible.
“The recognition means a lot to us,” she said. “It is nice to be recognized by the general public that we do try and make an impact, however little we can do. We do what we can.”
Muhlbach added that within the health care industry, there can be significant waste because of the nature of the services.
That includes veterinary clinics, so that’s why staff are committed to ‘eco excellence’ on a number of fronts. “We look at options to reduce our environmental footprint all of the time. We look at where we can make an impact.”
It starts with the recycling of regular materials like paper, plastics and cardboard, and also the recycling of some of the shredded paper that is accumulated as well. “Any shredded paper goes home with our cat neuters – it’s a good option for a low-dust litter insert for a few days after surgery. So we can also now recycle that paper – that usually just gets thrown away – into a useful thing. That’s one little step – to recycle all of those reusable and recyclable materials.”
IV lines are even re-purposed in useful ways, too. And manure also gets used in flower beds as fertilizer.
Dr. Barb Munholland, who co-owns the Clinic along with Dr. Jackie Dobinson, said Muhlbach is great at fixing things and finding uses for materials that would normally end up in the trash.
In the meantime, staff at the Clinic clearly have a passion for what they do.
Munholland said she loves the nature of small communities and the process of looking to help local producers to be as successful as they can be. “I find it almost like a big family – living in a small community,” she added.
Muhlbach, who hails originally from Switzerland and is a certified farmer, agreed.
“It’s nice when you walk down the street, you see your clients and they want to say ‘hi’. You can sit and chat. It’s also nice to be part of the family. Clients feel comfortable enough to call us up with any questions or to stop in. The coffee is always on.”