Donate unused clothes, household decor, and more rather than just throwing it out. Taking your goods to a donation site gives them an opportunity to be used again by a whole new family, rather than just continuously buying new things. On that same note, shop at thrift stores to be more environmentally friendly as well.
As part of my series about companies who are helping to battle climate change, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Ashley Niles.
Dr. Ashley Niles is a community-oriented family dentist centered in Niwot, Colorado. Dr. Niles is not only committed to bringing her patients the most advanced dentistry the industry has to offer, but she is equally committed to the environment. Practicing eco-friendly dentistry, Dr. Niles is a member of the Eco Dentistry Association and works to preserve the environment of her community while providing dental care.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Growing up, I knew from a young age that I wanted to help my community in some realm of health care. Focusing my life on that goal, I chose dentistry and have worked to be able to provide comprehensive and community-based oral health care.
What is the mission of your company? What problems are you aiming to solve?
At Niles Family Dentistry, my main goal is to bring my patients the best and most advanced dentistry they are able to find, while also working to better our environment. I am passionate about overall health and wellness, but also about preserving the natural beauty in our community.
Can you tell our readers about the initiatives that you or your company are taking to address climate change or sustainability? Can you give an example for each?
My eco-friendly practice has honed in on four different areas that we are constantly scrutinizing to make us better for the environment and our patients. We focus on:
Reducing waste and pollution. To do this, we recycled and reused much of the existing building during construction and used environmentally friendly paint and products. Further, we use infection control methods like steam sterilization and reusable sterilization pouches to reduce our waste — all while maintaining a hospital-grade environment.
Saving water, energy, and money. For this area, we use a dry vac system for our dentistry practices that uses no water, which saves upwards of 360 gallons of water a day when compared to the vacuum systems that are used at traditional dentists offices.
Being high tech. We have switched to electronic patient records to remain as paperless as possible, use digital x-rays, and LED lights in the operator (which saves about 50% of energy than conventional operatory lights).
Supporting a wellness lifestyle. We encourage our patients to ride their bikes to their appointments, weather permitting, to not only get more exercise themselves but give the earth a break from the pollution that comes from our cars.
How would you articulate how a business can become more profitable by being more sustainable and more environmentally conscious? Can you share a story or example?
In my personal experience, we have saved money on water and energy by switching to more eco-friendly systems that can save hundreds of gallons of water a day and by using compact fluorescent lights that save an incredible amount of energy each day.
The youth led climate strikes of September 2019 showed an impressive degree of activism and initiative by young people on behalf of climate change. This was great, and there is still plenty that needs to be done. In your opinion what are 5 things parents should do to inspire the next generation to become engaged in sustainability and the environmental movement? Please give a story or an example for each.
- Start in your own home by recycling things like cans and water bottles. Give out gold stars when your child remembers to put their bottles in the recycling can vs. the trash. After a certain amount of stars, give them a reward!
- Get more exercise. Park the car and ride your bike to places or walk instead. Not only is this good for the health of your child, but for the environment too.
- Prioritize supporting businesses that are conscious about the environment and do things to lower their waste and pollution.
- Level up by not allowing plastic water bottles in your own. Rather, invest in a water filtration system and a reusable water bottle that can be used time and time again.
- Donate unused clothes, household decor, and more rather than just throwing it out. Taking your goods to a donation site gives them an opportunity to be used again by a whole new family, rather than just continuously buying new things. On that same note, shop at thrift stores to be more environmentally friendly as well.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
- That it won’t be easy to be environmentally friendly, but it’s worth it.
- Taking the time to be different than the rest will set you apart.
- We only get one Earth, so we need to start at a young age working to preserve it.
- Focus on one area in your field and pursue it passionately.
- Live an active lifestyle — no matter how busy you get!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Some of my most valuable lessons have come from opportunities working in places that are vastly different from one another. I have wired in fast-paced downtown Chicago, a rural family practice in Illinois, and also have volunteered with pre-dental school students, all of which have taught me very different things about my career.
You are a person of great influence and doing some great things for the world! If you could inspire a movement that would bring the greatest amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
By using less chemicals that are toxic to humans and the environment, and using environmentally-friendly supplies that are good for everyone.
Do you have a favorite life lesson quote? Can you tell us how that was relevant to you in your own life?
What is the best way for people to follow you on social media?
This was so inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!