Environment & Sustainability

Green Impact for Health - reducing Penryn Surgery’s carbon footprint

As a practice we have been making changes to how we function so that we now consider sustainability in all our decisions. We have developed an environmental policy and we welcome any patient ideas to improve our sustainability further.

We take part in the Green Impact for Health Scheme run by the Royal College of General Practitioners and the National Union of Students. We are delighted that our improvements towards carbon reduction and sustainability have been recognised and we have been awarded with the silver award in May 2022 following on from our bronze award in 2020,

The climate emergency is also a health emergency, and health care in the UK contributes 5.4% of the UK's carbon emissions. We need to enhance the health of our current population without compromising the health of future generations, and this means operating within the sustainable boundaries of the planet.

Fortunately most of the solutions for the planet also make our health better - for example engaging in active travel and exercise in nature, avoiding smoking, reducing pollution etc all enhance our health and reduce our need for medications, with further benefits to the NHS, your health and the carbon footprint of healthcare.

Take a look at the Green Impact website to learn more.

How you can help

There are many ways that patients can help the Practice to maintain the environment.  These could include:

Reduce your travel to the surgery

By using telephone consultations and making the most out of telephone appointments, emailing photographs and receiving documents by text or email, then you can reduce the amount of unnecessary travel to the Practice.  There will always be a need for face-to-face-appointments: but if we keep these to a minimum we can all reduce our travel-carbon footprint.

Avoid medication waste

As part of the Practice’s work to reduce wasted medication we will be reviewing the amount of prescriptions issued to minimise the amount of medications that are wasted by patients.  The drivers behind this are:

  • The financial cost to the NHS.   A report by the Department of Health estimates that unused medicines cost the NHS around £300 million every year, with an estimated £110 million worth of medicine returned to pharmacies, £90 million worth of unused prescriptions being stored in homes and £50 million worth of medicines disposed of by care homes
  • Environmental cost.  Pharmaceutical waste in the environment is thought to have significant implications for the structure and functioning of ecosystems. Given the ongoing rise in pharmaceutical use and misuse, it is likely that without significant intervention, this issue will be exacerbated further in the coming years.  As the majority of medicines come with non-recyclable plastic packaging the damage to the environment of un-used medication is worrying on many levels
  • When ordering patients should always specify what medication they need when
    re-ordering and avoid stock-piling
  • Upon collection patients should always to check their medication bag when they collect as once it is removed from the building then it cannot be re-used but will be destroyed
  • Reject unwanted medications.  If a Pharmacy gives you something you have not ordered then do not accept it. Give it back to the dispenser straight away.  Ask the surgery to remove it from your repeat prescription list and if it happens again then do make a complaint to the Pharmacist and let the surgery know.

Recycle asthma inhalers

Our dispensaries will recycle your used asthma inhalers.  The aluminium is remade into other products, such as car parts of components for air conditioning units. 

Using inhalers can have potential harm on the environment so please minimise their use.

Support the surgery's and our partners' initiatives    

Simple things can help the environment and the local community:

Your old computer and phone could help someone reduce their loneliness and isolation.  By donating an unused electronics you can help reduce loneliness and isolation for people in Cornwall, as well as help in their everyday lives doing online shopping. 


Your old bicycle can be donated and re-used through https://www.liferecycle.co.uk/

Cornwall Life Recycle aims to improve the lives of everyone who attends. Having their own transport allows them to go out wherever and whenever they want to, meeting people and making new friends.

Environmental & Carbon Reduction Policy

Environmental & Carbon Reduction Policy.pdf

Silver Green Impact Certificate