A new ASTM standard aims to help dentists and dental organizations adopt sustainable practices that reflect corporate social responsibility. The standard (E3014, Practice for Managing Sustainability in Dentistry) describes a management system that aligns social, environmental and economic decisions.
According to ASTM member Beverly Oviedo, the dental industry creates a large environmental footprint that can be controlled in ways that reduce costs for dental providers, suppliers and patients.
“One estimate is that U.S. dental offices dump 1.7 billion paper and plastic sterilization items and 680 million plastic barriers into landfills each year,” says Oviedo, of Sustainable Solutions by Design. “A typical plastic item used during a dental procedure takes a lifetime to decompose in a landfill.”
The standard provides a frame of reference and common vocabulary that can be used to communicate, plan and implement more sustainable dental practices without compromising safety or health.
To build on this, Oviedo notes that the subcommittee (E60.80 on General Sustainability Standards) is developing a second standard that will introduce specific practices in this area. Dental practices, schools, laboratories, manufacturers, dental students and other interested parties are invited to join in the development of the new standard.