Dental Product Shopper talked with one of the “green” dentists seeking certification by the Eco Dentistry Association, Dr. Benjamin Farrow, from Monroe Street Family Dental in Madison, Wisconsin. Dr. Farrow’s practice is set up to use environmentally friendly methods and materials wherever possible, while minimizing waste and energy. In fact, they were the first dental office in Madison to contact the local electric company to perform an energy audit and to learn ways to be more energy efficient.
DPS: Why did you decide to “go green”?
Dr. Farrow: I made a commitment to being a green dental practice when I first planned to open a practice. I live in the neighborhood and it’s important to connect patient dental health as a part of one's overall body health while also taking care of the environment. It's the most responsible thing we can do for the environment while taking care of ourselves.
DPS: Are patients aware of your green initiatives and is that important to them?
Dr. Farrow: We promote our green initiatives on our website and office Facebook page. Many patients at first ask how we are green. It's through the use of environmentally friendly dental products and office materials, as well as how we dispose of waste and use energy. It's about running a business in the most environmentally friendly way and how we can both help a patient and the environment.
DPS: Do some patients seek out your office because of the fact that it’s green?
Dr. Farrow: Yes, we have had patients choose us because of our green commitments. Patients notice little things. For example, one patient commented that she liked, "having hand towels that are REAL towels (in the bathroom) rather than tossing out paper towels. They do their part to have a lesser impact on the planet."
Some of the green initiatives undertaken by the entire team at Monroe Street Family Dental include:
Construction – used recycled construction waste and reclaimed products like pillars, doors, furniture, and terrazzo floors; features low VOC cabinetry, adhesives, and paints; flooring made from sustainable products; high quality, refurbished dental office equipment
Operation – paperless charting; waterless vacuum (saves 1 gallon of water per minute); use of an amalgam separator; low-flow faucets and toilets; digital radiographs (no chemicals for processing or paper filing); eliminate disposable dental products and those with wasteful packaging; use non-toxic cleaning products
Energy Conservation - Energy Star appliances; installed fluorescent, motion sensor-activated lights; purchase renewable energy; use of natural light
Read our other 2 Earth Day blogs from earlier this week.