Let's talk about sustainability! The medical industry is a huge contributor to waste in the environment and we are here to change that. Over the last 10 years we have been working our way towards being New Zealand's most sustainable dental practice, bringing a new look and ethos to the industry. After completing an array of sustainability projects we have reduced our waste to landfill by 83% and we are pushing back against the norm of a clinical environment which is heavily dominated by single use plastic items. We are challenging our suppliers, the dental sector and our clients to reduce their impact on the world.
In 2020 Albert Eden Business Awards awarded us with the Green Business HQ Award for Environmental Excellence.
Here are some of the ways our practice have made changes for the better:
- We have introduced TerraCycle Oral Care Recycling (bring us your old tooth brushes and tooth paste!), internal compost collection (got a bamboo tooth brush? We'll compost it for you!) as well as soft plastics recycling.
- By teaming up with Auckland council we have installed 3 bike racks out the front of our practice and encourage our patients to use these or public transport. We also offer secure parking for scooters! (Please ask our friendly team if you'd like to know more)
- We no longer allow rinsing in the surgery. This has prevented approximately 10,800 cups from going to landfill per year in just our practice alone. While we no longer allow rinsing in the surgery due to Covid we do have compostable cups in our waiting room so that you can have a drink of water.
- We are proud stockists of Solid Oral Care tooth paste and floss - Bring your jars back to us and we will sterilize them and send them back to Solid Oral Care a wonderful NZ company providing zero waste flouride tooth paste options.
- As of June 2021 we have teamed up with Reusable-Thing and are now stocking their sustainable tooth brush. To find out more about their lifetime handle and their commercially compostable heads click here. Don't have access to commercial compost? Bring your head back to us and we'll handle the rest!
- Investing in and using reusable equipment and instruments that can be sterilized after every use and then reused.
- Putting our lights on sensors so that when people leave the room the lights turn off saving power this includes our overhead lights in the surgery. Every night when we close the practice we shut down all of our power and water so that nothing is being wasted.
- As our older ceiling lights have come to the end of their life we have replaced them with daylight LED's which consume less power and are better on our eyes!
- Ensuring our machines are serviced regularly to make sure that our sterilizers and washers do not have any leaks. We also track our water consumption closely and use grey water to water our plants!
- We encourage our patients to bring back their tooth brushes/tooth paste and any cardboard packaging so that we can compost or recycle it for them if they are unable to do this at home.
- All of our surgeries have bins so that we can sort our trash in to landfill/compost/soft plastics so that nothing slips in to the wrong stream.
- All of our staff are encouraged to bring in anything they can't compost at home so that our personal waste is also getting diverted from landfill.
- We are a paperless practice and encourage our patients to receive statements by email. What small amount of paper we do use is recycled and has the NZ FSC tick of approval.
- Our bathrooms are stocked with New Zealand made, recycled toilet paper that comes in compostable packaging.
- We welcome back the packaging of any stock that is sold or gifted from this practice and will deal to it so you don't have to.
- We are part of RefillNZ and encourage not only our patients but thirsty passers by to refill their waterbottles at our plumbed in watercooler. This reduces the number of single use water bottles on the street but also means our cooler isn't filled by a plastic water bottle!
- We trap and recycle our amalgam, semi precious and precious metal waste to make sure it doesn't go down the drain.
- We do not use plastic backed patient bibs and instead use NZ made, recycled paper towels that can go straight in to our compost!
- We do not have magazines in our waiting room. While this reduces waste it has the added bonus of less germs being moved around. It is extremely hard to clean a waiting room magazine that has had many different hands touching it so we encourage the use of tablets and smart phones.
Our Practice Manager has been so passionate about this project over the last 8 years that she has started her own business on the side to help other medical practices work on being more sustainable. You can find out more about this here.
We are always open to feedback and appreciate suggestions on how we can do better so please feel free to talk to our friendly team if you want to know more or have a handy hint!