by Kim Miller, RDH, BSDH
According to the Eco-Dentistry Association, an average office uses up to 55 plastic sterilization bags per day. Over the course of a year, the energy saved could power a 60-watt light bulb for more than six years.1
Reusable cassette and instrument pouches offer an inexpensive and very green solution. Replacing your disposable sterilization pouches with reusable ones is a simple, economical, and immediate way to go green.
Plastic reusable sterilization pouches are available from Discus Transcendentist in four sizes – 3x8, 5x10, 7x10, and 11x14. This patented, high-tech microfiber fabric is FDA approved for 75 sterilization cycles. The envelope pouch is easy to use and has a grid to keep track of each sterilization cycle. Transcendentist recommends you donate used pouches to a local animal shelter or SPCA. They will gladly put the fabric to new use. Visit www.discusdental.com (click on "Green Dentistry") to learn more.
Another alternative, the STERecycle reusable sterilization pouch, is available in five sizes – 2x8 handpiece pouch, 4x8 and 3x8 instrument pouches, 6.5x10, and 13x10 cassette pouches. The pouch is constructed with an impervious barrier between two layers of fabric and a flap-lock closure. The pouches are FDA registered, tested, and proven to achieve and maintain instrument sterility for up to 200 reuses. Visit www.practicon.com to learn more about STERecycle bags.
Although the number of approved uses per pouch is significantly different, both the Transcendentist and STERecycle pouches offer similar savings: less than 10 cents per use with reusable cassette size pouches vs. about 20 cents per use for disposables. Both are environmentally friendly, and I love the idea of being able to donate the used cloth pouch.
Although you can label the cloth pouch, if a clear view of the contents is important to you, Dux Dental's PeelVue+ Sterilization Pouches may work for you. This pouch has 30 uses, fast drying time and a 90-day storage. Visit www.duxdental.com for more information.
Another simple and economical way to go green is to replace your existing keyboard and mouse with an Econo-Keys washable mouse and disinfectable keyboard. You can wait until your used equipment needs to be replaced, or you can donate it to a local school or youth program.
Imagine being able to quickly sanitize your computer keyboard and mouse in the same manner you wipe down the other hard surfaces in the room – no special care required. No more plastic wraps or slipping covers to deal with and much less waste. These keyboards have an integrated blue LED backlighting. The sealed silicone design has no seams or crevices and therefore protects against:
- Splashing, hose-directed and submerged water
- Bleach, alcohol, and hospital-grade disinfectants
- Corrosive, abrasive, acidic, and alkaline substances
- Dirt, dust, sand, and other airborne debris
The mouse has a fully sealed scrolling feature, left and right click buttons, and, believe it or not, it's completely submersible. Even better, these devices are plug and play! They're compatible with all Windows and Apple operating systems and require no software installation or special drivers. Both the mouse and keyboard come wireless. I found these products to be surprisingly affordable. Visit www.econo-keys.com and check them out!
Replacing your disposables and decreasing the amount of waste is a great way to go green. Drop me an e-mail with your tips for going green!
1 Dentistry Association addresses dental disposables, Jul 30, 2010 Dentistry IQ.com
Kim Miller, RDH, BSDH, graduated from Loma Linda University in 1981. Kim is a co-founder of PerioFrogz.com and a partner with the JP Institute as well as a national speaker, author, and hands-on trainer.
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