Going green is much more than the ethically, morally, or politically correct thing to do; it is also beneficial to the bottom line of the practice. It is our responsibility as health-care professionals and citizens of this planet to do our part in preserving our natural resources and minimizing the waste we produce. At the major dental shows there are now exhibits and seminars promoting "going green" in the dental office. If we take time to reflect, we realize the average dental office produces a tremendous amount of waste each year.
Many of the going green suggestions are good, but the implementation may seem daunting and complicated, or the payback marginal at best. The biggest benefit to the environment and getting the biggest bang for the buck comes from implementing just a few time-tested and logical technologies in the office. In addition to doing our part in saving the planet, implementing these technologies has the added benefits of saving time and money, improving diagnostic ability, and increasing the safety of patient records.
The supply of fresh water on earth is not endless. It is a natural resource to be respected and used wisely. Water is not free; there is a cost for the water we use, both in buying the water and in processing the wastewater in a sewage treatment plant. The amount of waste produced has increased over the years because the use of disposables has been amplified to comply with OSHA mandates, and they are convenient.
By Bradley Dykstra, DDS, MBA