A group of dentists are making customised and eco-friendly PPE – including face masks and gowns – in a bid to cut plastic waste and raise money for charity.
Heading it up, Dr Adam Nulty – of the International Digital Dental Academy – kicked off a non-profit reusable and eco-friendly PPE initiative this week.
He said the idea was born over lockdown when he realised the sheer amount of waste being produced following increased PPE requirements.
Change needed now
‘I don’t think anybody was thinking about the long-term effects in terms of the environment,’ he said.
‘With the use of disposable masks, aprons and gowns, we came to the conclusion that there’s a massive amount of waste. The way that the world is means that this isn’t going to be changing any time soon. Unless we do something now.
‘More and more we were noticing that we were seeing masks on the street. We noticed the huge amount of waste produced by using single-use plastics, both in and outside of the dental surgery. It was quite horrific really.
‘While we need it and while we’re told to use it, if we can use something that’s reusable then surely it’s going to be better for us in the long term.’
Additionally, every penny made beyond the cost of manufacturing goes to charity Loving by Giving. It helps to give care, homes and education to abandoned children in Africa.
The masks and gowns can also be customised to suit the taste and requirements of the dental practices.
Dr Nulty worked alongside school friend Greg Tattersall. He co-owns a sportswear business in Rochdale and helped to produce the reusable garments.
This follows calls for there to be a more sustainable solution to PPE in dentistry.
In a recent report published in the British Dental Journal, it states the short-term goals of the pandemic must align with the ‘long-term vision for environmentally-conscious action’.
It also stated that dentistry faces the twin challenge of responding effectively but also sustainably.
The WHO estimates almost 90 million masks and 76 million gloves were needed globally to fight COVID-19 each month.
‘If we are to continue without reform, our actions could trigger a public crisis in the future. Putting the health of our environment at risk,’ said author Arefeh Ahmadifard.
‘As adversity paves the way for innovation, we are presented with an opportunity to impart substantial change and reform in our PPE provisions.’
The reusable gowns and masks can be ordered here.
The charity fundraising page can also be found here.
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