How to use the Toolkit

As mentioned above, the culmination of our literature review and UMSOD case study was the production of recommendations to assist dental professionals in implementing sustainable practices in their clinics.  These recommendations fall into four categories: organizational development, waste prevention, environmentally preferred purchasing (EPP) and the built environment.  The final product that incorporates these recommendations is the Greening the Dental Clinic Toolkit and its companion document Unpacking the Toolkit.  Although a similar resource has been developed for improving the environmental impact in operating rooms (ORs), no such resource exists for dentistry.

The Greening the Operating Room (OR) Toolkit provided by Practice GreenHealth serves as a tool and endorsement program to identify hospitals adopting and continuously pursuing sustainable practices within their ORs.  This tool provides clear guidance and ideas on what steps can be implemented to improve the environmental performance and allows knowledge sharing and continuous improvement among healthcare providers. It also provides case study data from multiple facilities that have implemented the toolkit’s ideas, helping support the economic, environmental and social benefits of a strong sustainability program. The Greening the OR Toolkit is still in the early stages of adoption within the healthcare industry, but with business and consumer interest gravitating towards sustainability, widespread implementation is likely a matter of time.

The Greening the OR Toolkit provided a foundation for our proposed Greening the Dental Clinic Toolkit (GDCT), as many of the considerations within operating rooms translate to all medical facilities.  Dental clinic designs are less regulated and require different specialty equipment, but sanitation, waste management, user comfort, workplace culture and environmentally friendly purchasing considerations are consistent across both types of facilities. As a result, the Greening the OR Toolkit served as inspiration and a baseline for the GDCT. Individually, the GDCT is adaptable within large open-air dental clinics, private practices and dental schools. Ultimately, the availability of both these toolkits, and perhaps more toolkits in the future, as online resources will support a wide range of medical facilities with the ideas, tools, and certification steps necessary to improve sustainability across the medical field.

Unpacking the Toolkit

Some of the suggestions in the “Greening the Dental Clinic” toolkit are broad and difficult to translate into concrete, specific actions. Where appropriate, we have provided specific suggestions on how to tackle various aspects of the sustainability toolkit. None of the resources provided are specifically endorsed or verified by the “Greening the Dental Clinic” team, but are intended as initial resources and as a basis for comparison. We recognize that each dental clinic is unique in its scope of practice, patient cohort and goals so each of these suggestions is intended as a jumping-off point that can be tailored to each user. Please feel free to contact us ( with any suggestions or implementation strategies that have worked for your institution that are not represented here.


On a scale of 1-4, 1 being fully established, 2 being implementation in progress, 3 being not implemented and 4 being unaware of the program/process please rank what best describes your organization. If a question does not apply to you please select NA (not applicable).