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With climate change posing one of the biggest threats to humanity today, we should all be striving to live more sustainably both at home and at work.  But how many of us make as much effort to be as green in the workplace as we do at home?  There are several steps you can take to make your dental clinic more sustainable…

switching lights off

Remember to switch lights off

Reduce your energy consumption

There are several ways to cut your clinic’s energy consumption and the good news is that any steps you take will also help cut costs:
– Opt for low-energy appliances
– Switch off computers, lights and other electronic devices overnight (avoid leaving them on standby as this still uses energy)
– Install motion sensors in low-traffic zones to switch lights on and off automatically

Switch to green energy

If you’re not already with a renewable energy provider, look to make the switch.  It won’t necessarily cost you any more.  If you go through a business energy comparison service such as makeitcheaper, you can ask to be provided with quotes from renewable energy providers.  The comparison company will do all the legwork for you and more often than not also save you money.
say no to plastics

Ditch the disposables

Eliminate non-clinical, single-use plastics where possible.  If you offer clients bottled water, switch to a water cooler with compostable cups or reusable glasses. Within staff areas, swap disposable kitchenware for reusable crockery and cutlery.  Encourage staff to use reusable water bottles and cups.

Print less

Think before you print!  Do you really need to print something out?  If going completely paperless isn’t practical, at least make sure that you are printing double-sided wherever possible to avoid unnecessary waste.

Recycle more

Obviously hazardous and clinical waste need to be disposed of through the correct waste channels but elsewhere are you recycling as much as you could be?  If the answer is no, investigate options with your licensed waste carrier.As a business, you are responsible for making sure at least some of your waste is recycled (N.B. You’re not permitted to take your recycling home for disposal with your domestic waste.)  There are two main ways your business can meet its recycling responsibilities: Sort your waste yourself and send it for recycling (it must be collected by a licensed waste carrier – your local council should be able to advise), or have your waste collected by a company that will sort it for recycling.

Set up a recycling hub

Unfortunately, toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes still aren’t widely recycled.  An easy way you can help your clients to be more sustainable is to set up a dental care recycling hub at your clinic.  Terracycle and Colgate have set up a free dental care recycling scheme which also rewards the community.

Bamboo toothbrush with green bristles

Bamboo toothbrushes are a sustainable alternative

Offer sustainable products

As well as offering a dental care recycling scheme, your clinic could stock sustainable non-plastic or bio-plastic toothbrushes as alternatives to traditional toothbrushes.

One of the biggest obstacles to a greener workplace is getting everyone on board.  Ensure your whole team understands your sustainability goals and how they can play their own part.  You could even set up rewards for team members who are going above and beyond to promote sustainability.

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