Introducing sustainability in dentistry

Introducing sustainability in dentistry

Guy Hiscott introduces the sustainability in dentistry campaign – exploring what we can all do to make dentistry a more sustainable profession.

Dentistry is spending the coming months shining a spotlight on the issue of sustainability in dentistry.

Coming on the back of Dentistry magazine’s change to A4 paper size, and the environmental benefits that has brought, it feels like the right time for us to delve into the issue in more detail.

But I will be honest – the big driver isn’t actually about us at all. We’re doing this now because two things became strikingly clear when we were carrying out our research about our own plans.  

Firstly, that practices know sustainability is a big issue, and one they want to be more on top of. And secondly, that seemingly everyone in dentistry wants to better understand what it actually means for them.

I get where everyone is coming from. Step outside of dentistry for a moment and I think those feelings are familiar to many people: we’re all aware that sustainability is important, and I think most of us want to do the right thing for the planet and the future generations we hope will be around to inhabit it.

What does sustainability really mean?

But get into the details and it quickly becomes a little trickier. What does sustainability really mean in everyday life?  

To give you an example: away from the business my big current focus is on energy consumption, and figuring out how I can take steps to reduce the energy I use at home, while also making sure more of that energy comes from more sustainable sources.

In an effort to do that in a cost-effective way (another crucial consideration!) I made the mistake of talking to an extremely knowledgeable person about solar panels recently. Moments into their enthusiastic discussions of milliamps and 12- or 24-watt circuits, I was utterly lost.

And I think that sums up where so many of us are at: we want to get things right, but the issues are important, and there is a lot of detail. It’s easy to get lost in a maze of our own good intentions.

This is where our sustainability feature comes in – for the next month, we’re trying to demystify this detail and help you all take your first steps in making choices that work for your business as well as the planet.

Neither myself nor Dentistry are the de facto authorities on all this: we’re learning as we go, just as much as everyone else. But hopefully with this work and by talking about it, we can learn together.  

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