Sustainability Within the Dental Practice
July 16, 2022
The arrival of summer brings with it new hope for sustainability and greener pastures. As more people become aware of the rising threat of global warming, we can see more improvements in the way businesses — large and small — continue operations.
Sustainable practices have been around for quite some time. This movement encourages people to choose less wasteful methods and products for use in their daily lives. And while the biggest target of the sustainability movement is the bigger corporations, dental practices, too, are now using sustainability in business.
Have you implemented green policies in your dental practice? If not, here are seven ideas you can use right now in your business.
Choose to Go Paperless
Going paperless is a great way to optimize your dental practice workflow. It can make setting appointments more convenient for clients. Plus, automated forms are much more reliable than paper, since paperwork can easily be misplaced. There are over a dozen available software for clinics to buy and download.
A few examples are:
- There are many other applications and software you can try besides the ones mentioned on this list. Take the time to look research them online to find the perfect app that fits your needs.
Partner With Sustainable Businesses
Partnering with other sustainable businesses can help bring your sustainability goals to fruition. Green businesses use environmentally friendly production processes in their operations, reducing their environmental impact and improving carbon emissions. By partnering with these companies, you — in turn — reduce your energy consumption and as a result decrease your carbon footprint.
Consider switching to a green bank that uses sustainable practices during transactions. You can also transfer to green utilities and energy providers, like Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, and Southern Company — among others. Lastly, consider stocking all-natural oral care products from toothpaste to dental floss.
Use Organic or Eco-Friendly Scrubs
Organic or ethical scrubs are now available in most medical practices — including dental practices. Besides reducing your carbon footprint, one of the best things about these products is that they enhance blood circulation and help increase tissue oxygenation. As a result, your body maintains consistent optimal body temperatures, even while you’re hard at work.
There are plenty of brands that now offer ethical scrubs. A few that come highly recommended are Barco One, Bella Organics Medical, Mediclo, Figs and Skechers. Ethical scrubs can cost anywhere between $30 to $70 on up — so they aren’t inexpensive. However, with the right care, they can last you a long time and are incredibly good for the environment and your health.
Say Goodbye to Single-Use Plastics
The thing that most people don’t know about single-use plastics is that they don’t biodegrade. They just break down into microscopic particles that poison our environment. These microplastics end up in our water sources and food, ultimately entering our bodies later in the process.
Human exposure to microplastics is believed to cause oxidative stress in the body, according to researchers. It can also cause DNA damage and inflammation, among many other health conditions.
For dentists, surface barriers, plastic cups, and patient giveaway bags can all be substituted with more eco-friendly and reusable options.
A few examples include:
- Metal or autoclavable plastic
- Aluminum foil
- Biodegradable bags
- Fluoride varnish
- Autoclave cassettes in reusable cloth
- Reusable fabric bags
- Bamboo toothbrushes
- Biodegradable floss
Minimize Hazardous and Chemical Wastes
Most dental facilities are already required to use amalgam separators due to the quantity of mercury they contribute to wastewater. Another thing you may do to help is to think about greener alternatives to amalgam restorations. Another technique to make a real impact is to use digital photographs rather than traditional film X-rays.
Order in Bulk
This could be the easiest method for your practice to leave a positive impression on the environment. Bundling orders result in less packaging and lower vehicular emissions.
When you buy in bulk, less vehicles are used to deliver a larger variety of dental office supplies. If you have your supplies delivered in larger quantities, larger packaging allows the delivery truck to be packed more efficiently. By using more efficient transportation, you’re also helping to save the environment by lowering CO2 emissions.
Switch to LED Lighting
LED lamps can last up to 20 times longer than conventional lighting. This not only helps the environment but also saves you money on electricity costs. Some LED bulbs have a lifespan of two to three years — or even decades.
Consider the long-term environmental benefits if everyone made this little change, e.g., less landfill waste, less production of new lights, and reduced shipping and packaging—three major criteria used to evaluate environmental problems.
Sustainability is not something that anyone can easily achieve in a year. It will take quite some time before you make any noticeable changes to your dental practice. The important thing is that you start as soon as you can. Your efforts will compound and eventually create a larger impact on the environment. Take time to read through the seven ideas we shared today. Try to apply them to your dental practice and see how far it takes you.
Thank you to our Guest Author Kartreena Sarmiento.