There’s new legislation concerning the waste management process of dental amalgam just around the corner. As a result, dental practices are at risk of substantial fines should they fail to meet the new standards.
From 1st January 2019 dental practices will be required by law to only use dental amalgam in the pre-dosed, encapsulated form under Article 10  of the European Union Regulation 2017/852. Under Article 10  facilities must also be equipped with an amalgam separator and all separators will have to retain at least 95 per cent of amalgam particles by 1st January 2021.
Dental surgeries will have to ensure their amalgam waste, including amalgam residues, particles and fillings, and teeth contaminated with amalgam, is handled and collected securely by an authorised waste management provider.
Adhering with new and existing waste management law should always be a top priority and enforced consistently in any surgery since failure to comply can contribute to significant unseen costs.
For example, using orange-lidded containers is sometimes considered the correct way to dispose all sharps. In actuality, orange containers should only be used where sharps don’t contain traces of medicine. Sharps that are contaminated with non-cytotoxic and non-cytostatic medicines should be segregated into yellow-lidded sharps units and sharps contaminated with cytotoxic and cytostatic drugs must be put in a purple-lidded container. Filling yellow containers with needles used just for taking blood, for instance, is both non-compliant and leads to increased costs since these bins are designated for incineration – a process that comes at higher cost than the alternative methods used for orange-bin waste.
Another key issue in many dental practices is the disposal of gypsum in dental moulds as if sent for landfill the product can cause toxic hydrogen sulphide gas in reaction to biodegradable waste. Government regulations require operators to transport gypsum waste securely to a specialist landfill site or send for recycling. Failure to adhere to strict requirements by the Environment Agency can, again, lead to fines.
Industry professionals will be well aware that choosing the right waste management partner can sometimes be a time-consuming and expensive process. Fortunately, members of the Dental Buying Group (DBG) are entitled to a bespoke discount to products and services by Cannon Hygiene, one of the country’s leading waste management and hygiene providers.
The firm can offer support on all hygiene and waste management regulations and proactively analyses procedures to find unseen costs – leading to savings dental practices can invest in urgent matters such as amalgam separators.
Bernadette Wilkinson, manager of DCO Dental Group sites in Sale, Brooklands and Timperley, has recently spoken about the service she has received from Cannon Hygiene. Wilkinson said that, contrary to her perception, the switching process was simple and cost-effective. Cannon Hygiene proved competitive compared to others in the market and helped guide her through their on-boarding process without disruption to her business.
For further information or to discover how DBG can help with all your waste management needs please call the team on 0800 028 1697 (option 1).