Good riddance 2020. Did anyone else look back on their resolutions from last year and laugh? We know that many of the challenges from 2020 will continue into 2021, however, in honor of the new year we decided on a reasonable and achievable goal as an office: reducing waste!
The pandemic has caused an increase in waste all around us – reusable grocery bags were restricted in stores, paper bags were used up and were replaced with plastic bags, masks and gloves strewn across sidewalks, not to mention the increase in barriers and PPE in medical/dental offices. So we figured it’s a good time to revisit our current sustainability standards, make some adjustments, and do better.
Here’s our plan to reduce waste in the new year and beyond (some of these have been our standard since Five Pines opened in 2016 and others will be implemented throughout the year):
- We are a paperless office! Patients fill out health history forms on their own mobile device or on one of our tablets. All patient charts are electronic, eliminating cross-contamination while transferring paper charts from treatment rooms to and from the front office area.
- Our staff changes treatment gowns between each patient; however, we do not use disposable gowns. Our gowns were lovingly handmade by Dr. Zeller’s mom and we launder them throughout the day with our lab coats. Thanks, Pam!
- Five Pines uses digital x-rays, reducing the waste that comes along with developing and mounting traditional photos. X-rays are immediately uploaded into the computer as we take them and can also be transferred electronically.
- Our staff breakroom does not use disposable cutlery or plates. Additionally, in the post-pandemic waiting room, we will no longer use disposable cups and mugs. Ceramic mugs and glassware will be available for patient use.
- We are currently phasing out patient bibs, AKA “trash necklaces”. We will be laundering small hand towels to use during your appointment. Plus, towels are more absorbent and keep your shirt nice and dry during treatment!
- Our treatment rooms are phasing out plastic trash bags and switching to biodegradable trash bags.
- Dr. Zeller does not place silver amalgam (mercury) fillings, however, when any existing amalgam is removed during procedures we dispose of it safely and appropriately. Biohazard waste is also disposed of correctly through strict OSHA and CDC protocols.
- Don’t want a goodie bag? Only want some of the goodies? Please feel free to decline your post-appointment treats – We are happy to save them for the next patient.
Speaking of reducing waste, many of you have inquired about Bite toothpaste bits. Bite toothpaste bits come in plastic-free refillable glass jars and while they do not have fluoride, bite bits contain cavity-preventing ingredients. We reached out to Bite and received a promo code for new subscribers – use SUBSCRIBE1 for $5 off!
We also tried Unpaste tablets, found at Well Earth Goods (based in Oregon). Unpaste uses tablets that are chewed before brushing as normal. They feel refreshing and come with about a two-month supply of tablets! Unpaste tablets can be found here.
With a collective effort from the Five Pines team, we know these small but impactful changes will benefit our planet. Cheers to the new year!