With the demand for more and more companies to go green and reduce their carbon footprint it is worth considering the ways in which dental practices in London could go green. The amount of waste generated by dental practices is surprising, with treatments and procedures using x-rays, chemicals and dental materials, which all contribute to a practice’s waste accumulation.
There are a number of things that can be done to make dental surgeries more eco friendly. The first and most obvious one, for all companies, is to reduce lighting, which can be done by either ensuring all unused lights are turned off, or by installing lights that are motion activated.
Sensors on water dispensers, both in and out of the surgery, can go a long way to reduce the amount of water wastage. There is no added benefit to the surgery, or to people at home, to leave the tap running while teeth are being cleaned.
The dental industry throws away on average 5 million lead foils every year, but by switching to digital x-rays this waste can stopped immediately. Similarly the industry throws away around 4 tons of waste that contains mercury and if all surgeries had an amalgam separation device this would be reduced dramatically. Another step forward is to move away from mercury based fillings altogether.
Do away with the paper trail by utilising the computer effectively, so there would be no need to keep paper copies. Also reminders, where possible, should be sent via text message or email. When you consider the average practice serves around 2000-3000 patients a year that’s a lot of paper saved.
By switching to reusable cups a surgery could save around £200 a year. If they also opted for surface disinfectants instead of paper or plastic chair covers they could save a lot more.
Another simple step is to ensure that everything that is switched off at the end of the day, which means all computers, machines and lights. None of the above suggestions are difficult to implement and most will actually save the practice money, while also greatly benefitting the environment.
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