A Clinic with an eco-friendly ethos
Helping the Environment
The amount of waste generated by the dental industry around the world is staggering and it consumes valuable resources. ‘Green dentistry’ helps to identify simple measures dentists and their patients can take to reduce waste and conserve energy, as well as promoting awareness of the environment and getting local communities involved in green living.
‘Green dentistry’ is an environmentally friendly way of practicing dentistry. It involves using methods and machines to reduce waste, conserve energy and decrease pollution. Aside from helping to protect the environment, going green can also help to save money and time.
Protecting the environment is a global effort and everyone should be doing their bit to help out. Small steps can soon add up to make a huge difference when green dentists (and the population) make the effort.
Avoidance of Chemicals & Materials
Many people will probably be unaware of the risks associated with several chemicals and materials used on a daily basis in dental surgeries. However, this is an issue that has been highlighted in reference to green dentistry. Some of the materials used in dental offices can potentially be very harmful to the environment. Amalgam, for example, is used in fillings and contains mercury. Most practices still use mercury as the most cost-effective option.
Mercury from dental offices ends up in the central sewage networks, where it can be converted into a toxic substance known as methyl mercury. This can be passed onto humans when they eat fish or shellfish, which have been exposed to the substance.
Mercury Separating Machines
Currently, there is no law in place which requires dentists to purchase a mercury separating machine. These machines separate the mercury from the amalgam fillings and it can then be recycled and reused. Installing mercury separating machines would help to reduce the amount of mercury discarded into the water system by around 3.7 tons per year. At Honeycomb Dental Clinic, we installed Mercury Separating Machines.
Switching to digital X-rays rather than conventional X-rays reduces the amount of radiation sent into the universe by up to 90 percent. Also, it is estimated that each dental surgery would prevent the disposal of around 200 litres of toxic dental X-ray fixer and more than 7,200 lead foils over a five year period. At Honeycomb Dental Clinic, we use digital radiography and software.
What We Do
We have adopted several measures to reduce our carbon footprint, whilst being compliant with strict decontamination protocols. Since 2015, we are continually working towards being more environmentally friendly and have been collecting several awards from GreenAchiever.co.uk.
Our recent Gold Award makes us the only Dental Clinic in the UK to attain the 'Gold status' Environmental award; we feel very proud!
Tips for Patients
Patients can also do their bit to help the environment. Ideas to help out include turning off the taps when washing your hands; sharing lifts to or from the dentist; using public transport (where possible); recycling waste; and walking or cycling to the Clinic when they live nearby. The drive for greener dentistry is still in its infancy so there is no doubt that more improvement is needed.
What Difference Will Green Dentistry Make?
It is easy for people to be skeptical and wonder what kind of difference simply turning a few light bulbs off and recycling some paper will do. However, research has shown that making simple changes can make a huge difference to the environment in a very short space of time.
If you care about the planet like we do, please take a detailed look
at what we are doing by reading our Environmental Policy.
Here is Some of What We Have Been Doing…
- With the installation of solar panels we produce part of our own energy;
- With the conversion to digital software, we have greatly reduced paper consumption;
- With the conversion to digital X-Rays we have greatly reduced radiation levels and dental chemical waste;
- With the installation of a dedicated Decontamination Room we sterilize more instead of disposing;
- We re-cycle our domestic waste;
- Our main outdoor signs were produced from reclaimed and sustainable resourced wood and painted with a special eco-friendly paint;
- Our dental chair lights are more energy efficient LED;
- We changed all our bulbs to LED;
- Some shelving in the Patients Lounge is made of reclaimed wood;
- We have invested in the insulation of the building with new PVC double-glaze windows and roof insulation (Cavity wall insulation is already planned);
- We purchase second-hand furniture when possible;
- We have installed a bicycles rack;
- We use 100% recycled paper;
- We use biodegradable eco-friendly (non-tested on animals) hand soap and washing-up liquid;
- We have a Compost Area to dispose our organic waste;
- We collect rain water;
- We positioned insect and bumblebee boxes, bird feeders, a bird bath, bird houses and a hedgehog shelter throughout our gardens. There is a wild life corner where vegetation and bushes are left to grow wild in order to create shelter for little insects and animals;
- The flowers planted in the re-used wood planters at the front of the Clinic are purposely chosen to be Bee friendly and planted by our Garden Fairy…
- And much more…
Other measures are being adopted and we welcome any suggestions from our patients to help us be more sustainable.