Sustainability - Little things can add up

DATE: August 2020
AUTHOR: Susanna Scherer RDH, BSDH

Sustainability within the dental practice may seem like a large task. However, there are simple steps dental hygienists can take to partner with the dental team, patients and Colgate, to help create a healthy and sustainable future.

Eliminating Waste in the Dental Office

There are many steps the dental team can take to reduce waste in the dental office. Eliminating the amount of waste the office produces will have a lasting impact on our world.

When ordering supplies for the office, consider purchasing products that are naturally degradable and recyclable. There are many options available now. If you are not sure where to begin, speak with your dental distributor for guidance.

Another way to eliminate waste is to create an in-office recycling program. Even though not all supplies will be degradable or recyclable, separating the items that are is a great step towards reducing office waste. Begin by having a separate container for recyclable products. Encourage your team to separate all waste into trash or recycling.

Removing the plastic bags from your toothbrush plan is an additional step your office can take toward sustainability. Taking this step will equate to over 420,000 pounds of waste avoided. A great alternative to the plastic bags would be a reusable bag that has your office logo on it. Some patients may even prefer to simply carry their samples home in hand.

Sustainability at Home

As dental professionals we have the opportunity to create a healthy and sustainable future not only in the dental office, but also at home.

Colgate's sustainability initiative has launched products that make it easy for us to partner with them at home. For example, bamboo toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes that are 100% recyclable.

Turning off the faucet while brushing is a very simple way to conserve water and has a tremendous impact on our environment. By turning off the tap each time you brush you can save 64 cups of water!

Getting Patients Involved

Educate your patients on the steps you are taking towards sustainability and encourage them to do the same. One simple way to share your office's sustainability efforts would be to post this information on the office website or social media platforms.

You and your patients can also join Colgate's save water campaign by pledging to turn off the faucet and make every drop count.

Your office may consider getting patients involved by hosting a photo contest where patients show the steps they have taken at home to partner with your sustainability efforts.

Conclusion

When it comes to sustainability it is the little things that can add up! To bring about change in the dental office begin by incorporating some of the steps mentioned above. Encourage your team and patients to follow your lead, building a future we can all smile about!