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Pharmacy follows community’s lead, goes green

Ashley Standup has been busy refilling customers’ toothpaste, shampoo, detergent and other products the Old Malone Pharmacy has begun offering in an environmentally-friendly manner. (Daniel J. Rowe, The Eastern Door)

Jamie Diabo needed to go shopping for shampoo and conditioner this week, and rather than swinging by the pharmacy to buy two new bottles, she brought her empty ones.

Diabo was at the Proximed Old Malone Pharmacy Tuesday where clerk Ashley Standup refilled both bottles in the pharmacy’s new eco-friendly section of the store.

“I started using it two months ago, and I’ve been using it ever since,” said Diabo.

About a year ago, the pharmacy hired the Maillon Vert, a company that specializes in upgrading pharmacies with eco-friendly alternatives, and now offers refillable dish soap, detergent, shampoo and a number of other products in addition to having an all-organic food section.

Pharmacy clerk Ashley Standup has been active running back-and-forth to the refillable products section, as customers have started flocking to the store’s new eco-friendly product. (Daniel J. Rowe, The Eastern Door)

“All biodegradable, all natural items,” said pharmacist Kris Manoukian.

Standup said the setup has been very popular, and she is refilling bottles on a regular basis.

“I like it because it’s refillable, but also, I find that shampoo for me is hit a miss,” said Diabo. “I find a lot of shampoos make my hair dry, and when I used this for the first time, I didn’t have that problem.”

Manoukian said he has already started to see the results of the investment, and his story even appeared on CBC News last week.

“We have reduced our waste, we are recycling about 84 per cent of anything that comes in, which is roughly about two tons per year,” he said. “Basically, we’ve reduced our carbon footprint by a lot, and also the town’s because the majority of the town now is switching over.”

Though he wouldn’t give an exact figure due to a confidentiality agreement with Maillon Vert, Manoukian admitted the monetary investment was not light. However, he and store manager Brandon Cross feel it is worth it.

“It was more so, how we can protect our environment, and also tailor to the needs of a very progressive-thinking community,” said Manoukian. “The town has backed us up tremendously, and it was also one of their requests to motivate and encourage us.”

In addition to being environmentally-responsible, Manoukian said the pharmacy wants to promote a better standard of living.

“We are a healthcare provider, and that just doesn’t go only for medication,” said Manoukian. “We can also offer completely self-sustaining alternatives to traditional and/or bigger name products. All of our new products are plant-based, all organic.”

The pharmacy will change all its neon lights to LED, and swap its heating system to a more efficient set up.

Diabo feels people react to the eco-friendly and organic products for a number of reasons.

“It’s good to know where your things are coming from,” said Diabo. “I think that’s why a lot of people come here and cater to this because you know where it’s coming from, and we don’t have to worry about the damage that it’s doing not only to your being but also to the environment as well.” 

Pharmacy manager Brandon Cross has seen customers eagerly embrace the business’s new eco-friendly products that have already begun cutting down the pharmacy’s carbon footprint. (Daniel J. Rowe, The Eastern Door)

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