While there has been much progress in the medical and dental industries, a closer look at waste management reveals that there is much to do. The Stockholm, Basel, and Rotterdam Conventions have missed a real opportunity to address dental waste, especially nuclear waste that can remain radioactive for thousands of years. It was discovered that if each UN member had its own facility to store the waste, there would be 193 facilities across the world. Currently, the waste is transported to specific locations around the world to deal with waste management. While this is in an effort to protect the environment, it also has an effect on the environment. Currently, the dental industry is under the lens to reduce its carbon footprint and while nuclear waste still seems far off the agenda, there are other ways fo dental practitioners and patients to make a dent.
Ditching Single-Use Plastics
There are a number of areas where bamboo is starting to replace plastic, and dental hygiene seems to take one step closer to a greener environment. Charcoal floss, stored in glass vials and consisting of threaded bamboo, offers users a cleaner gab along with zero guilt. There’s also the bamboo toothbrush, green mouthwash and toothpaste ranges, and zero-plastic toothpicks. In the dentist’s office, this might be slightly more difficult as there are strict hygiene protocols and single-use items are still required, however, the drop in consumer usage will already make a large dent.
Improve The Longevity If It Has To Be Plastic
Hygiene is a major reason why items such as braces and mouthguards are difficult to recycle, however, a way to curb mouthguards from ending up in a landfill is to improve its shelflife. Thanks to thermoplastics, mouthguards that get bent out of shape or simply just lose their shape can be remolded with heat and used for a far longer period than before, as a close fit is important for efficacy as it reduces injury to the face, teeth, and jawline. While it may seem uncommon for a mouthguard to lose shape, it’s common in contact sports and the replacement of mouthguards can happen a few times during the sport’s season.
Ship It To Japan
Dentures are particularly hard to recycle as there are so many elements in them, and there’s also a good chance that the plastic used is a blend. For major recycling centers, it’s simply too much work to separate the different materials and dentures often get rejected for recycling. There are a few recycling spots around the country that specialize in dentures, however, if this fails, consumers are encouraged to send it via post to the Japan Dentures Recycling Association. There are a few protocols to follow before shipping it. Not only does this organization provide a vital service in terms of recycling, but it also donates the proceeds to UNICEF.
As technology evolves to eliminate single-use plastics and create products that have a smaller impact on the environment, consumers can make significant changes at home to recycle and reduce where dental care is concerned.