5 Easy Ways for Dental Practices to Go Green Now!
By Caroline Jacobson on March 8, 2016 in Clinic and Provider Tips
When it comes to eco-friendly dentistry, it's not easy being green. After all, it might not exactly be at the top of your to-do to install solar panels at the office.
But, maybe it should be. Consumers want to be green, but they expect companies to lead the way, according to a Stanford global survey. You don't have to go to extremes to help lead the way, there are many easy baby steps you can take toward a greener practice.
Here are 5 (easy) things you can do NOW:
Traditional incandescent lights are typically used for overhead lighting. Unfortunately, they only use 10% of their energy to produce light. The other 90% is released as heat, making ircandescent lights a powerful power waster.
Buy new bulbs. Compact Florescent Lightbulbs (CFL) last 8-12 times longer than traditional lights. They're slightly more expensive than incandescent lights, but their energy-saving impact is enormous. Over the span just 6 months, a CFL blub costs half the price of an incandescent.
The average office employee tosses more than 175 lbs. of paper a year. Between patient forms and disposable cups, tree wasting is anything but paper-thin at dental practices.
Pick paper wisely. You don't have to completely eliminate paper from the office. Start small— set printers to automatically print double-sided. Purchase reusable cups and plates for the break room. Explore paperwork alternatives, too! Thanks to several mobile apps, it's easy for patients to fill out forms on tablets.
Beyond the hassle of constantly having to replace used batteries, they also have hazardous properties that you might be throwing in the trash. Specialty batteries contain mercury and other metals – something no one would miss around the office.
Reduce with recharged. Consider switching from single-use batteries to rechargeable ones. You can recharge them upwards of 100 times! Regardless of which batteries you purchase, remember to recycle them correctly.
U.S. offices waste billions of dollars per year by failing to properly shut down their computers each day. And think about all of the computers used in your office—front desk computers, waiting room PCs, monitors for digital x-rays, etc.
Shut it down! Choose sleep over a screensaver—screensavers use just as much energy as an active screen. During the workday, set all computers to go to sleep automatically if they're idle for 3-5 minutes. This cuts energy use 70%! Finally, shut down all computers completely at the end of every day.
Surprisingly, sinks and constant syringing aren't the biggest water wasters. Almost 20% of your annual water consumption flushes down the drain, making the toilet the biggest H2O abuser in your dental office.
Find the right flusher. You can make a huge impact on conserving water just by changing your toilet. Depending on your budget, there are options that conserve up to 13,000 gallons of water per year, or some that allow for slight adjustments to water level.
Remember: Consumers appreciate eco-conscious companies. Whether your practice is light green, dark green or somewhere in between…let your patients know. Once you've accomplished the sustainable starter steps, check out ecodentistry.org to take your go-green game to the next level.