Opinions on the nature and magnitude of human impact on the environment are wide and varied. Perhaps even those on the fence or wary of climate change assertions can agree that making changes and substitutions that impact positively on environmental outcomes are a worthwhile pursuit. Perhaps we can also agree that a considered approach that might improve the health of the planet and therefore the health of future generations, is worth some extra effort!
We consider the sustainability of dentistry to have multiple domains. We can consider sustainability from a patient care perspective. We can consider sustainability from a team motivation, physical and mental health perspective. We can consider sustainability from an environmental impact perspective. We care about all of these and we’re taking steps to achieve sustainability on all fronts, however, this article will particularly deal with environmental sustainability.
Research out of the United Kingdom revealed that the National Health Service was responsible for 3% of the nationally emissions. Dentistry was found to be approximately 3% of this total. A normal dental practice on any given day is challenged with staff commuting, high energy-use equipment, disposable items, many of which are made from plastic, and waste disposal challenges. All of these activities create emissions that far exceed the normal household and probably the average business. However, there are simple things that we have been able to do, and will continue to do at Ethical Dental, to decrease our footprint including:
- Solar power for the practice: the practice is now powered primarily from solar power (approximately 90%) and it is our dream to get to 100% before too long
- Use of paper-based or recyclable items rather than single use plastics
- Car pooling and reduction of travel between locations
- Reduction of shipping and transportation through digital scanning of impressions and monthly bulk supply orders
- We have reduced our general waste and increased our recycling by approximately 50% in the past year
There is a reason why we called this article ‘How Ethical Dental is Improving the Sustainability of Dentistry in 2020.’ It is because the initiatives we are taking now in 2020 will be constantly evolving to accommodate new learnings, technologies and strategies for reducing environmental impact. We already do a lot, but this doesn’t mean the job is finished. We look forward to working with our patients towards an ever-improving sustainable dental home that they can be proud to be associated with.
To book a consultation with Dr. Kate Amos or Dr. Sam Rosehill call 6652 3185 or book online.