On April 22, the world observes Earth Day, an opportunity to reflect on ways we can keep our planet healthy. With just some small actions, we can all help out in reducing our carbon footprint. In honor of Earth Day, we celebrate VCA Associates whose efforts are helping promote change at their hospitals and in their communities.

Small Actions, Big Impact

Each week, Christy Conk, veterinary assistant supervisor, loads approximately 90 gallons of paper, plastic, aluminum, cardboard, glass, and the occasional broken or spent electronic item from VCA Clermont Animal Hospital in Clermont, FL into her car. To keep these items out of the landfill, she either takes them home to add to her recycling bins or brings them to the local recycling center. It’s a labor of love for Christy, who’s passionate about the environment.

Thanks to Christy, manager Kaleia Corbin, CVT, and the team’s efforts, VCA Clermont recycles often overlooked items like shredded paper that is sent to a local zoological park for animal enrichment, Bordetella vaccine vials that a VCA Clermont Associate upcycles into necklaces, and syringe containers.

Christian Palma, MSC, VMD, also brought recyclables home from his hospital, VCA Angel Animal Hospital in Flower Mound, TX. When he started at VCA Angel 15 years ago, the town of Flower Mound didn’t have a recycling program for businesses. He was instrumental in establishing one, and now every Associate at his hospital has a recycling bin near their desk. VCA Angel recycles everything from cardboard and plastic packaging to toner cartridges.

“Animal hospitals consume a lot of cardboard and paper as an industry, so it feels good to know that we’re doing our part to reduce waste,” says Regan Cruze, hospital manager at VCA Angel.

Dr. Palma says that recycling has become part of the culture at VCA Angel, so it feels very routine for Associates there. 

“Everyone is really good about chipping in here, and I think that recycling can become part of any hospital’s culture with a little effort,” he says. “With everyone doing their part, we can make a real difference.”

“My kids are now young adults who will soon inherit the problems earlier generations have created, Dr. Larry Cohen says. It’s important to me that we’re taking steps to leave the world a better place for them.”

Company-Wide Efforts

At VCA and Mars Veterinary Health, sustainability means thriving people, pet well-being, and a healthy planet.

VCA sustainability director Larry Cohen, DVM, explains that VCA has always been focused on efforts to promote a healthy planet, even back when the work didn’t have an official label. Now, exciting new steps are underway to accelerate efforts to reduce the company’s environmental impact.

Last year, Mars Veterinary Health announced a partnership with Apex Clean Energy, an energy developer, to source enough wind power to power all of VCA’s U.S. hospitals. These types of projects to reduce our footprint are important to current and future VCA Associates and the communities we serve. 

“Having a demonstrated commitment to sustainability has become an increasingly important factor when choosing a place to work, especially among the younger generations,” explains Dr. Cohen. 

More than anything, though, Dr. Cohen says he sees sustainability through the eyes of his children.

“My kids are now young adults who will soon inherit the problems earlier generations have created,” he says. “It’s important to me that we’re taking steps to leave the world a better place for them.”

Thank you to all Associates who contribute to VCA’s efforts to reduce our carbon footprint!