Wargrave Dental Clinic – Sustainability Policy

The UK Climate Change Act 2008 impacts on the whole of the UK, despite the environment being a devolved responsibility for the four countries in the UK. It set out a challenge to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.

Dentistry is facing many challenges to help tackle the problem, particularly around decontamination, waste disposal and the use of single-use plastics.

Equipment and Supplies


WDC prints double sided when needed and use digital media such as email or text messages to communicate with both patients and staff.

We use paper that is FSC ( Forest Stewardship Council) approved, which is fully recyclable.

Reducing plastic waste

  • We put out plastic cups for patients to rinse only when needed (rather than as standard)
  • We avoid single use devices where appropriate: at WDC we use stainless steel impression trays.
  • We have begun to carry out an audit to see how much plastic our practice is using and whether all recyclable plastic is being recycled.
  • We endeavour to share information and communicate our plastic reduction efforts to our patients.
  • We are in the process of investigating alternative, non-plastic oral hygiene products e.g. bamboo toothbrushes.
  • Liaise with dental product manufacturers about the sustainability and recycling potential of their products.

Reducing chemical waste

  • WDC are aware of the legislation surrounding use of hazardous substances in the dental practice.
  • We try to use less toxic and more sustainable/eco- friendly cleaning products where possible.
  • We use amalgam alternatives for dental restorations when possible and clinically appropriate.
  • If using amalgam, which is quite rare, we use encapsulated amalgam and an amalgam separator.
  • We use digital radiography equipment in every surgery to avoid the use of toxic processing chemicals.

Working with sustainable suppliers

  • Engaging with suppliers and developing a questionnaire for assessing their sustainability practices when procuring goods is a good way to establish whether the products and their delivery are as environmentally sustainable as they can be and can also encourage suppliers to develop more sustainable practices.
  • Create a Sustainability questionnaire and use this when engaging with suppliers to assess their commitment to sustainable practice
  • We have asked all our suppliers if they have a sustainability statement and have asked if they could email a copy to us.

Optimise stock inventory

  • We audit our stock monthly to identify any that is close to its expiry date.
  • We have reduced the frequency of orders as much as possible now that we have an idea of stock requirements.


Wargrave Dental Clinic use a renewable energy supplier. The building was renovated in 2013 and all current building regulations with regards to thermal efficiency were installed. The practice rooms are monitored to ensure that they do not overheat and ensure the building stay energy efficient.

Our windows require to conforming as per conservation area requirements.

LED lighting is used throughout the practice. All appliances have been purchased with the most energy efficient option chosen.

The practice has been designed to maximise utilisation of space to ensure effective usage of dental surgery, reception, waiting room. Considering the ventilation requirements, the dental chair is in use throughout the day to ensure the practice remains maximally efficient, effectively run and sustainable so that the energy required to heat the building would be optimal.

Minimise the environmental impact from disposal of Dental Amalgam

The Minamata Treaty aims to reduce the release of mercury into the environment and for dentistry, this involves the phasing out of amalgam use. Mercury can be neurotoxic and teratogenic, it can accumulate as it rises through the food chain and it can also impact the microbiological activity in soil.

  • Wargrave Dental Clinic informs patients of policy changes via posters, emails and practice websites
  • Dental amalgam is only to be used in predosed encapsulated form (use of bulk mercury is prohibited)
  • Amalgam separators are mandatory
  • Mandatory retention of at least 95% of amalgam particles for separators installed from Jan 2018, and for all separators by 1 January 2021
  • Amalgam waste is collected by an authorised waste management company
  • We do not use amalgam in the treatment of deciduous teeth, children under 15 years and pregnant or breastfeeding women, except when strictly deemed necessary by the practitioner on the ground of specific medical needs of the patient


A ‘Reduce-Reuse-Recycle’ policy in the dental surgery, reception, waiting room and staff areas will help to minimise waste and divert from landfill and incineration, saving money and reducing emissions.

Improve clinical waste segregation

  • Wargrave Dental Clinic regularly undertake waste audits
  • We have created a simple waste segregation guide for staff and discuss this regularly
  • Bins are labelled clearly
  • In surgery, sterile wrappers are separated into plastic and paper for recycling
  • Any waste that is not contaminated with blood/saliva is put into the domestic or recycling bins whenever possible


  • Wargrave Dental Clinic has a recycling policy and it is shared with staff
  • Recycling bins in all areas are labelled clearly
  • We audit waste regularly
  • We hope to promote Terracycles toothpaste tube/electric toothbrush heads recycling schemes mostly at local pre schools https://www.terracycle.com/en-GB/brigades/colgate-uk

Reduce paper waste

  • Wargrave Dental Clinic print double sided and use digital communications with patients

Repair and reuse

  • All durable goods were purchased with a maintenance policy to ensure that the product could continue working energy efficiently throughout its life
  • We inspect all equipment regularly and organise repairs as needed

Food waste

  • Our staff room and kitchen have food waste bins
  • The bins are clearly label bins to show which foods they can take
  • We have a compost bin at our allotment, where we also grow vegetables to share with staff

Disposal of medication

  • We do not stock medication at Wargrave Dental practice.
  • We have contacted local pharmacies regarding their disposal of medications and advised patients of their facility to do this
  • When prescribing medications, we advise patients on the disposal of any excess

Reduce water waste

  • Wargrave Dental Clinic displays effective hand washing techniques
  • We encourage taps to be turned off during lathering during hand washing
  • The sterilizing equipment we have is water efficient
  • Staff only fill kettles with the amount of water needed
  • We encourage patients and staff to turn off taps when tooth brushing both in the practice and when at home


A recent study commissioned by Public Health England measured the carbon emissions and calculated the carbon footprint of dental services. It found that unlike the NHS wider health service footprint (where the carbon emissions contribution of travel is smaller), the highest proportion of emissions in dentistry is from travel (64.5%). https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file /724777/Carbon_modelling_within_dentistry.pdf

  • Wargrave Dental Clinic is located on Wargrave High Street on a main bus route through the village
  • We encourage patients to walk to their appointment if possible
  • Patient journeys can be reduced by booking family appointments together and completing multiple interventions in a single visit, where possible
  • For staff we encourage walking or cycle to work where feasible.
  • We encourage our suppliers and dental laboratories to reduce the number of deliveries if feasible


Wargrave Dental Clinic has a small courtyard garden which has been planted with insect friendly plants and water is provided for birds.

Measuring and Embedding Sustainability

Wargrave Dental Clinics vision for sustainability is communicated to staff via their induction packs and on the staff notice wall. Patients are informed by its presence on our website.

Embedding sustainability into a healthcare setting is a quality improvement process. An integral part of quality improvement is the use of measurement. We aim to evaluate our sustainability plan and goals every 6 months and identify where we can make improvements. Ultimately we aim to calculate our savings both in money and carbon and illustrate this information.

Charity Support

Wargrave Dental Clinic is a main sponsor of The Green Team at Wargrave Festival. Wargrave Festival supports many local community initiatives.