A lot of times, we think of "going green" in terms of our personal waste management and use, but it is possible, and even practical, to take the green concept to your dental practice. Here are some ways your office can go green and stay environmentally friendly in your practice:
Yes, it is possible to reduce waste even in a dental practice. Some common things that can be recycled include paper, cardboard, aluminum, plastic and glass. The fixer, developer solutions, and lead foil of traditional X-rays can also be recycled.
Even better, eliminate the need to recycle materials in the first place by getting rid of paper products. Use text messaging and/or email for patient reminders and appointment scheduling. Switch to electronic record keeping and bill management. Have patients fill paperwork out on a tablet such as an iPad or create documents they can fill in online through their computers and simply email back to you. Transitioning from paper records to all digital records not only cuts down on unnecessary waste but also keeps things organized and increases your office's overall efficiency.
Energy conservation goes a long way toward a green dental practice and can also dramatically impact your bottom line. Replace traditional lighting with energy efficient lighting that will last longer. Install programmable thermostats that will automatically switch on and off throughout the day to reduce unnecessary heating and cooling. If you are renovating or remodeling, consider adding skylights and/or extra windows to increase the amount of natural light you use compared with artificial light. All of these measures will help you naturally conserve energy while increasing the quality of your workspace.
You might not be able to save the world, but the habits and working environment of your employees can make an impact. Encourage employees to walk, bike, or carpool to work to cut down on their carbon footprint. You can make some changes within your office as well. Switch from regular cleaning solution to green cleaning products, and replace aerosols with pump dispensers. Switch to steam sterilization for your equipment.
All of these efforts add up to an environmentally friendly dental practice, which will benefit your employees as well as your patients. The best part is that you do not need to implement all of these ideas at once but rather can slowly bring them into your practice as they make sense. Start now and work until your whole office has gone green.