According to the Eco-Dentistry Association, dental practices every year generate 4.8 million lead foils, 28 million liters of toxic x-ray fixers, 3.7 tons of mercury waste, 1.7 billion sterilization pouches and 680 million chair barriers, light handle covers, and patient bibs.
So how do you shore up your dental practices to be greener? DentistryIQ provides the following tips:
- Go digital?Want to save money, time, and the environment? Go as paperless as possible. Deliver charts, patient appointments, and reminders via email or even text message. Set up an online payment option. Go super green with digital x-rays. Not only do they use no toxic x-ray development chemicals or lead foils, but they expose technicians to 75% to 90% less radiation.
- Cut down on chemicals?Using digital x-rays is one way to limit toxins in your practice. Another way is steam sterilization for instruments. Look for other alternatives to chemical processes and materials, such as BPA-free night guards. And look around your office. If you plan to do a remodel or touch-up, remember to select VOC-free carpets and paint.
- Choose renewable?Check to see if your utility company has a renewable energy option. Purchase products made from sustainable resources, too. Think fabric (not paper) lab coats, cork or bamboo floors, or even making bamboo toothbrushes your giveaway item.
- Conserve energy?Turn off lights and equipment when they?re not in use. Install energy-efficient appliances, air conditioning, and heating. Think about replacing windows. You?ll save on heating and cooling and let in more natural light.
- Recycle?You probably recycle some materials already. Do more. Put recycle bins everywhere that your staff may need them. Check with your waste management company to learn how to recycle items that don?t get picked up on a regular basis (batteries, paint, electronics, etc.) You can even find programs that recycle dental instruments into industrial metal.
Interested in learning more about becoming a green dentist? Visit the Eco-Dentist Association, which has information for patients, practitioners and the green dental industry. Practitioners can also participate in green education programs, keep up with the latest green dental news and learn more about EDA accepted green products.