When it comes to eco-friendly dentistry, it’s not easy being green. After all, installing solar panels at the office is not a one-and-done project.
Consumers want to be green, but they expect companies to lead the way, according to a Stanford global survey. Take baby steps towards 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 incandescent lights a powerful power waster.
Buy a different type of light bulb. While LED bulbs may be more expensive in the short-term, they last almost 42 times as long as incandescent bulbs (50,000 hour life-span vs. 1,200 hour life-span). Plus, they can save you quite a bit on your electric bill, as they use about 10 times less energy. Learn more about the benefits of using LED bulbs over incandescent or CFL bulbs.
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 apps, it’s easy for patients to fill out forms on tablets.
Batteries have hazardous properties. And specialty batteries contain mercury and other metals.
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.
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. WaterSense toilets are an inexpensive option that can conserve up to 13,000 gallons of water per year, according to the EPA.
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.