The dental industry is an essential part of healthcare, providing preventative and corrective services for maintaining oral health. However, like many industries, it has a significant environmental impact. From single-use plastics to energy-intensive equipment, the dental industry generates a significant amount of waste and contributes to the global carbon footprint. Fortunately, many practices are now adopting sustainable ways to reduce their impact on the environment. Need some tips on how you can join this movement? Keep reading to find out how you can reduce your practice’s impact on the environment.
Here are some specific things you can implement to increase your practice’s environmental sustainability:
Use of eco-friendly products
One of the most effective ways to reduce the environmental impact of dental practices is to switch to eco-friendly products. For example, many dental practices are replacing traditional plastic toothbrushes with biodegradable alternatives made from bamboo or other sustainable materials. So, instead of gifting patients with a plastic toothbrush consider giving them bamboo toothbrushes like these from WooBamboo. Not only will be you using less plastic, you’ll actually be Plastic Negative, because when you buy a WooBamboo toothbrush for your patients you are funding the removal of plastic waste from high risk environments and waterways all over the globe.
Similarly, using eco-friendly dental floss made from natural fibers, such as silk or bamboo, can help reduce the amount of plastic waste generated by the practice. Not sure where to find this floss? Check out WooBamboo’s floss that comes in a no-waste packaging. Or, another option would the floss from CocoFloss. They use recycled plastic to make their floss that comes in fun flavors!
Your patients are seeking sustainable products, so why not offer them? A survey conducted in 2019 found that only 35% of respondents actively chose sustainable products, while 41% avoided single-use plastic whenever possible. However, a more recent survey conducted in June 2021 found that 50% of global consumers have become more eco-friendly, showing a significant increase in environmental consciousness.
Reduce your energy consumption
Dental practices consume a considerable amount of energy, from lighting and heating to running equipment such as X-ray machines and drills. By taking steps to reduce energy consumption, practices can significantly reduce their environmental impact. For example, switching to energy-efficient light bulbs and turning off equipment when not in use can help save energy and reduce costs. You can also decrease your energy usage by having fewer patients in the office. By increasing your remote treatment options (like offering clear aligners) you won’t need to see your patients as often in the office. You could also install light sensors that turn off our bathroom lights when no one is using them. And ask team members to turn off lights in rooms you are not using throughout the day. Reducing energy usage has many environmental benefits and can often save you some money too!
Many dental practices are now implementing recycling programs to reduce the amount of waste generated. For example, recycling programs for single-use plastics, such as gloves and masks, can significantly reduce the amount of plastic waste generated by the practice. Additionally, recycling programs for metals used in dental restorations, such as crowns and bridges, can help reduce the amount of waste generated and provide a source of raw materials for manufacturing new products.
Water conservation at your practice
Dental practices use a considerable amount of water, from rinsing equipment to washing hands. By implementing water conservation practices, practices can help reduce their water usage and save costs. We suggest installing low-flow faucets and toilets. There is also water-efficient equipment dental clinics can use to help reduce water usage.
Using digital technology
Digital technology has revolutionized the dental industry, from digital X-rays to electronic patient records. By using digital technology, practices can significantly reduce their environmental impact. For example, digital X-rays use less radiation than traditional X-rays, and electronic patient records eliminate the need for paper records, reducing paper waste.
Reduce your practice’s environmental impact by starting small
There are many ways healthcare professionals can reduce waste and implement sustainable practices. At Clear Blue Smiles, we’ve pledged to reduce the amount of plastic in our nation’s waterways by recycling the plastic used in aligners and partnering with organization that share our goals. But you don’t have to go big to reduce your practice’s environmental impart. Start the journey towards becoming a more green dental practice by choosing one of the items from this blog and get started. You don’t have to take on everything listed in this blog to make a difference. The best way to make an impact is to make small changes. They add up and can make a big impact! Future generations will thank you for the positive changes you implement at your dental offices.