When it comes to eco-friendly dentistry, it’s not easy being green. Making changes to be more environmentally conscious can be daunting but important! Consumers today are drawn to businesses and organizations that are sustainable and eco-friendly.
Check out five easy things you can do today to have a greener and more sustainable dental office.
Ideas for dental practices to go green
Making small changes in your dental office can have a major impact. Try some (or all) of the ideas below to make your dental practice a little bit greener.
Change up the lighting
Traditional incandescent lights are typically used for overhead lighting. Unfortunately, they only use 10 percent of their energy to produce light. The other 90 percent is released as heat. This makes them incredibly wasteful when it comes to energy. One great alternative to traditional incandescent lights is a Compact Fluorescent Lightbulb.
Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFL) last about 10 times longer than incandescent light bulbs. They’re slightly more expensive, but their energy-saving impact is enormous. Over the span of just six months, a CFL bulb costs half the price of an incandescent. Another great alternative is to use LED light bulbs. Like CFLs, they have a long lifespan and are cool to the touch, meaning that less energy is wasted on heat.
Reduce paper use where you can
The average office uses about 12 trillion sheets of paper a year. Between patient forms and disposable cups, tons of paper products are thrown away each year in dental offices. You don’t have to eliminate paper from the office. Start small — set printers to automatically print double-sided. Purchase reusable cups and plates for the break room. Explore paperwork alternatives, too! Thanks to several apps, it’s easy for patients to fill out forms on tablets.
Rethink your batteries
Batteries have hazardous properties. Specialty batteries contain mercury and other metals.Consider switching from single-use batteries to rechargeable ones. You can recharge them upwards of 100 times! Regardless of which batteries you purchase, remember to recycle them.
Be mindful of computers
About 20 percent of energy consumption in offices located in the United States comes from computers. Think about all the computers used in your office — front desk computers, waiting room PCs, monitors for digital X-rays, etc.
Choose sleep over a screensaver — screensavers use just as much energy as an active screen. During the workday, set all computers to go to sleep automatically if they’re idle for three to five minutes. Finally, shut down all computers completely at the end of every day.
Upgrade your toilets
Surprisingly, sinks and constant syringing aren’t the biggest water wasters. Almost 90 percent of offices’ annual water consumption flushes down the drain, making the toilet the biggest water consumer in your dental practice.
Switching your office toilets to more eco-friendly options is a great way to save water, and WaterSense toilets are an inexpensive option that can conserve up to 13,000 gallons of water per year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Greener dental practices are important
As consumers are beginning to be more mindful of their impacts on the environment, it’s clear that green companies will be more successful in the future. Remember, making small changes over time is the key to setting up a more sustainable dental office. Not only are customers impacted by an eco-friendly dental practice, but the environment will benefit as well.
Click here for more tips on managing a dental practice.
*Updated April 2023