From our own Judy Dorner, RDH
Last January the team attended the New England Region Yankee Dental Convention in Boston.
We have always strived to learn and grow in order to provide you, our patients, with the latest and greatest dentistry. There are literally hundreds of courses offered. Some very technical, some motivational, some involving personal growth, communication, exercise, nutrition, and so on.
I decided to take a course that mirrored my personal passion of creating a more sustainable world. “Greening Your Dental Practice” was right up my alley!
After hearing the startling statistics of material use and waste, we broke down our office into departments to see how we could best save resources, reduce waste and save money while still maintaining our high level of quality care and sterilization practices for you, our patients.
First some statistics:
100 million trees are forested every year- not all are replanted.
One half of the world’s forests are gone.
25 countries have no forest left at all.
We started our “greening” efforts with our paper consumption. We only buy office paper with a minimum of 30% recycled content. When purchasing paper, we look for the highest recycled content possible. Instead of buying paper for interoffice notes, we cut up sheets of used paper, use it again and then recycle that! We also recycle all catalogs, magazines and paper scraps.
We also discontinued using paper covers on instrument trays and countertops. Previously, after each patient we just threw away the paper and sterilized the trays. We save about 70 sheets of paper a day and now wonder why we ever used the covers in the first place!
We recycle all of our empty glove boxes as well as the other boxes supplies come in. We must use 10 boxes of gloves a day. Previously, these were going in the regular trash. We also recycle all the corrugated cardboard boxes used to ship us our supplies. Most weeks we receive 10-20 boxes. Previously when I went to throw something in our dumpster, it was full of just cardboard boxes.
AbitibiBowater, Inc. collects recyclable materials in many communities with its Paper Retriever® dumpsters and makes many products with the recycled paper and different community organizations get some income. We use the Paper Retriever® at the YMCA adjacent to our office.
The sheer volume of materials our office uses is staggering. By recycling at the level we do, the cost savings in trash removal and landfill space is significant.
(Our office complex does not provide recycling, so several team members take our recyclables home where we have recycling pickup).
Most people don’t even think about what happens to trash (or items that can be recycled) when they are disposing of materials from their home or office. Out of sight, out of mind! We are making every effort to combat this mind-set, while still providing our patients with top-level care. If everyone were to do a little, it ends up being a lot! We are trying to do our part.