At Ringley Park we recognise the importance of being as pro-active as possible in reducing our environmental footprint. That’s why we’ve got together and formed the Ringley Park ‘Green Team’ which comprises four team members; Gail, our reception representative; Jenny, our nursing representative; Sorina, our dental hygienist representative, and Dr Caroline Bromley from our clinical team.
In dentistry, as in medicine, ‘going green’ can prove challenging. Unfortunately, much of the plastic we use needs to be single-use due to infection control measures, that we must adhere to for patient and staff safety. We have some way to go until plastic is phased out, however we are working hard to find as many ethically sourced and planet-friendly alternatives as possible.
Each month our Green Team meet and discuss possible changes that can be made in our daily practice. For example, we now recycle paper, foil, recyclable plastics and we have sought a reputable recycling facility, Grundon™, to dispose of our waste appropriately and then produce energy from it where possible.
Some of the changes we are making are:
- Limiting paper to ‘minimal use only’
- Replacing plastic cups in the surgeries and waiting room area with recyclable paper cups
- Encouraging patients to return used TePe™ interdental brushes so we can send them back to TePe for recycling
- Encouraging family visits, using just one car journey
- Swapping car journeys with cycling or walking
- Encouraging our colleagues to bring packed lunches in reusable Tupperware™, cups and bottles
- Reducing electricity usage with LED alternative light bulbs
- Phasing out amalgam use entirely
- Using dental composite materials with reduced BPA content
- Changing our logo plastic bags to environmentally friendly paper bags
- Creating a garden that is wildlife- and bee-friendly, as well as pleasing to the eye
- Working towards sourcing the most energy-efficient equipment once any current kit is unable to be repaired
What you can do at home to make dentistry friendlier to the environment:
- Turn off the water taps when you’re brushing your teeth for two minutes
- Attend regular dental examinations and routine hygiene appointments to reduce the need for further dental treatment. Prevention and minimally invasive dentistry are the most sustainable way to have healthy teeth
- Swap your interdental brushes to TePe brushes made from recycled plastic that you can then recycle at the practice
- If appropriate for your teeth or implants, swap plastic dental floss to a dental floss made of organic, biodegradable materials; e.g. Geoorganics
- If you’re using manual toothbrushes for your children, use ones that have been made from recycled plastic or are mainly produced from biodegradable materials; e.g. Preserve Toothbrushes. They also have a recycling scheme for their used toothbrushes
Being planet-friendly in dentistry is an ongoing education and we are continuously striving to source, change and adapt our practice where possible.
Like the Green Team, we’re sure you’ve considered many ways to reduce your environmental footprint and become more sustainable where possible. We welcome any suggestions about ideas or products that you have come across that you feel can make all our daily oral hygiene routines more environmentally friendly.