Dentist and wildlife photographer Joe Bunni has advocated for greater awareness of recycling in dentistry.
Speaking at the Osteology Monaco International Symposium last week, Dr Bunni spoke of the impact plastic waste is having on the ocean, explaining that ‘if we don’t stop putting things in the ocean and taking things out, it will be too late’.
He continued: ‘Dentists can help save our oceans by thinking more about packaging and what sort of materials they use in daily practise.
‘Be aware of how much plastic you are using during surgery; if you can’t avoid this, try and re-use plastic materials, or give them to your patients to re-use for painting or gardening.’
Dr Bunni suggests replacing plastic cups with paper cups, reducing the amount of ‘dangerous’ waste that ends up in the sea.
‘Our future is in the ocean,’ he adds. ‘One third of our population depends directly or indirectly on our oceans. If we keep adding waste, we will have no seas or ocean wildlife left for our great grandchildren.
‘Imagine our oceans without fish. These small actions of recycling can become big if we add them together.’
Graham Masters, director of finance and corporate services at the General Dental Council (GDC), said: ‘The GDC aims to recycle as much of its waste as possible as part of a wider commitment to sustainability.
‘While there is not a specific dental standard relating to recycling, dental practices must treat patients in a safe and hygienic environment and have a legal obligation to dispose of their clinical and other hazardous waste appropriately.’
Dr Bunni is a specialist in underwater photography and was named Wildlife Photographer of the Year in 2011 by the Natural History Museum.