Every industry is responsible for slowing down climate change and protecting the planet. The dental industry is not alone in impacting the environment. Each practice and dentist must find ways to introduce more eco-friendly products and methods.
You might not consider the planet when disposing of dental amalgam or using a plastic syringe. Still, each action is negatively impacting the environment. Make it your mission to safeguard the Earth by learning how dental practices can become more sustainable.
Learn How Single-Use Plastic Affects the Environment
Like many healthcare sectors, the dental industry is guilty of excessively using single-use plastic daily. As you will know, the products are more hygienic, safer, and affordable than reusable, non-plastic alternatives, which is why they are commonplace in many practices. Yet, the plastics struggle to break down once they reach a landfill, negatively impacting the planet.
Unfortunately, there are limited alternatives for single use plastic in the dental industry at present. However, practices can improve sustainability by sourcing high-quality products from suppliers that have adopted sustainable materials and methods as much as possible, such as providing eco-friendly packaging and labeling. Also, dentists must ensure they responsibly dispose of single-use plastic and recycle as many products as possible to protect the planet.
Reduce Mercury Contamination
As mercury binds dental amalgam metals, dental practices must be mindful of mercury contamination when disposing of tooth fillings. Mercury is often included in much of the waste after a cavity procedure and can contaminate the waterways, posing a risk to the ecosystem. The good news is that dentists can decrease mercury contamination by using an amalgam separator, which filters waste particles and prevents mercury from damaging the environment and human health.
Decrease Travel to and From a Practice
According to a study by Public Health England, 64.5% of carbon emissions in UK dentistry are caused by traveling to and from the practice. The statistic includes patients who travel for appointments, dental staff commutes, and lab service deliveries. For this reason, dental practices must strive to reduce travel as much as possible to protect the planet.
For example, dental practices could encourage employees and patients to walk or cycle to work or appointments and convince people to do so by providing a secured bike storage area.
If walking and cycling are not possible, offer incentives for employees to take public transport, such as providing flexible working patterns to match bus or train timetables. If your employees prefer to drive, encourage staff members to carpool when possible to save money and safeguard the environment.
Conserve Water as Much as Possible
Dental practices of every size can create more sustainable operations by reducing water usage as much as possible. For instance, a water meter can help practices monitor water consumption.
Also, dentists can stop wasting water by resolving leaks and avoiding running water for too long. Conserving water whenever possible will take pressure off the environment and is a positive step toward running a greener practice.