Our Environmental Commitment
The Waterways Dental green and eco-friendly dental pledge
At Waterways Dental, the name says it all. As avid ocean enthusiasts, the Waterways part of our name personifies our business, our coastal location, and our commitment to the environment.
As proud Gold Coasters and ocean lovers, we strive for our dental clinic to have as little impact on our beloved local waterways as possible. This is demonstrated through our philosophy of endeavouring to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in our waterways.
We believe if we all do our bit we can enjoy the ocean today, and still leave it intact for our future generations.
How can dentistry affect the environment?
When you think of dental clinics, it's hard to imagine a place that leaves our smile so fresh and squeaky clean could be harbouring a dirty secret. However traditional dentistry practices are increasingly detrimental to our fragile environment.
It's a large contributor to the worldwide single-use plastic problem – between packaging and single-use equipment, it's estimated an average of 20 grams of plastic is used per dental patient per visit – times that by dozens of patients per dentist per day, multiplied by the hundreds of thousands of dentists worldwide.
Even more alarming is the highly toxic burden from materials commonly used in dentistry that are often rinsed away down drains, making their way into our oceans and rivers – mercury from dental amalgam, lead, silver, biomedical waste, and abrasive cleaning fluids to name but few.
And let's not forget the mountains of general office waste involved in printing referrals and documents, processing X-rays, and more. When you add it all up, it's no wonder the healthcare industry accounts for 4.4% of greenhouse gas emissions globally, which is the equivalent emissions output of 514 coal-fired power plants.
However, at Waterways Dental, we don't believe it needs to be this way.
The management and staff at our Mermaid Waters dentist clinic are committed to taking steps to minimise our green footprint and protect our coastal environment through dedicated programs and eco-initiatives.
Waterways Dental Environmental Policy
In the spirit of transparency, our efforts to date have been outlined in the policy below.
Measures undertaken to date:
- Led lighting throughout the practice
- Energy and water-efficient appliances
- Waste and Recycling procedures
- Terracyle Oral Waste recycling
- Integrating biodegradable and environmentally friendly products where possible
- No longer using amalgam to perform fillings in our practice under any circumstances. Furthermore, ensuring any waste from the removal of existing old amalgam fillings is carefully and safely recycled to minimise any future environmental mercury burden to our waterways
The following are to be performed by all staff:
- Turn off all appliances and lights when they are not in use
- Only run autoclave and ultrasonic with full loads
- Use of aircon and heat only to be used when necessary - set to a suitable temperature
- Minimise water consumption. Ensure taps are fully off when not in use.
- Enure only necessary materials are dispensed
- Single-use items to be replaced where possible. When not possible, staff should be mindful to use only what is needed.
- Anything that can be recycled must be. Staff are to ensure they are recycling all suitable items. Each surgery has a bin for recyclables.
- Suitable items used in the staff kitchen area to be set aside and taken out back to the recycling bin every afternoon (throughout the day if needed)
- Promote Terracyle Oral Waste bin online through Facebook, Instagram and email send out to all patients - Promote in practice as well by speaking to all patients/visitors.
- Printer cartridges to be taken to a collection point (Officeworks) for recycling
- Paper - using Planet Ark mindful paper
- Avoid printing where possible, print double-sided
- Where possible, use electronic copies for referrals, reports, x-rays, and other documents
- Avoid using printed documents in-house - use Google drive or an internal server
Sponsorship and outside of work activities:
- Sponsorship of the Australian Marine Conservation Society and World Ocean Day
- Encourage and support staff to be involved with community clean up days
Steps earmarked for the future:
- Solar panels
Contact our staff or keep an eye on our social pages to learn more about how our team is progressing with dedicated green and eco-friendly dental programs in our clinic to do our small part in protecting our environment and our waterways.