Sustainable Dentistry How-to Guide: Travel

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%). 

As well as producing carbon dioxide, petrol and diesel vehicles also cause local air pollution with significant health effects particularly on young children and people with respiratory and cardiovascular disease. Air pollution kills 40,000 people in the UK every year.

Reducing the need for travel and facilitating more sustainable alternatives such as public transport use, walking, cycling and car sharing will help to improve air quality and reduce travel associated emissions and sometimes also costs.

In a dental practice we need to consider staff and patient travel as well as transportation of goods and laboratory items to and from the practice.  Patient journeys can be reduced by booking family appointments together and completing multiple interventions in a single visit, where possible. You may also be able to liaise with your suppliers and dental laboratories to reduce the number of deliveries.

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