From December 100% of the electricity that we use at the Natural Smile will be from renewable sources, and it feels really good to know that every service that we offer , every email that we send is now being powered by the wind,water and the sun.
My next challenge is to try to decrease our reliance on natural gas, and I’m pleased to see that green gas is becoming a more realistic alternative. It works by getting microbes to break down the organic material from leftover food processes, using waste potato peelings from a chip factory for example. The by product of this is a gas that can be used in place of the natural gas we are using at the moment, what remains of the food waste is a great fertiliser.
I should add of course that there are lots of things that we are already doing to try to minimise our impact on the environment.
We only use LED lighting in the practice which cuts the energy consumption, we use only recycled paper and where possible use vegetable based inks.
We have cut our car journeys to and from the practice, almost by 50% recently, and have enjoyed taking the train to the recent dental shows. Our computer upgrade last year switched out large power hungry pcs for small solid state minimal power alternatives, our hardware team believe that all of them take about as much power as just one of the old ones!
All of the paints that we used and still use are low VOC’s (volatile organic compounds), all of the wood we use is FSC certified.
A few years ago we undertook an exercise to see how many of the chemicals that we use in the practice we can replace with natural products, first out the door were the industrial dental industry standard cleaners and disinfectants that we used, replaced with excellent non harmful alternatives, by the time we finished the exercise the most harmful item that we had in the surgery was the Ecover dishwasher tablets!
Each one of these areas (and the many other initiatives that we are undertaking, not mentioned here) are worthy of their own piece and when I get the time I might just give them the time they deserve!
The Big challenge once I have gotten to grips with the Eco-gas, is minimising the carbon footprint of the dental equipment that we use. This one is tricky because there isn’t much appetite in the dental industry for this type of thinking most of it tends to be determined by cost, but I aim to change that, even if only in a small way!