Paper, Bottles, Cans… and Amalgam, too

January 17, 2018  

 

Thirty years ago, recycling was seen by many as an afterthought, an extra hassle in the waste-disposal process. However, because recycling products like bottles, cans and paper has had so many environmental benefits, the process is now entrenched in our collective psyche—and in most places, it’s also the law. Recycling containers can be found everywhere from supermarkets to office cubicles.

So it should be no surprise that dental amalgam recycling is now required by federal law, something that went into effect in July. However, amalgam separation systems have been recommended by the American Dental Association since 2007. Amalgam can contaminate the water supply, and has been linked to serious chronic medical conditions.

But amalgam, of course, isn’t something you can just toss in a blue bin like a glass bottle. The new law requires practices to use both amalgam separators, which remove “wet” amalgam from waste water, and amalgam containers to dispose of “dry” amalgam waste.

If you have a red biohazard bag at your practice, you might think you can use that for dry amalgam disposal instead—but to do so is a mistake. That red bag gets incinerated, and when mercury is incinerated, it gets released into the air as a toxic vapor.

The Solmetex NXT Hg5 amalgam separator now comes with a regulation amalgam container for disposing of dry amalgam waste, such as contact and non-contact amalgam, amalgam capsules, teeth with amalgam, chair-side traps and central vacuum traps and filters. You can choose one of four sizes, based on the size of your practice.

Once the amalgam separator’s collection container or the amalgam bucket is almost full, contact Solmetex and they’ll send you a recycle kit for either product, along with a new collection container or bucket. Simply pack up the spent container or bucket, then go online to solmetex.com, print out a shipping label, and ship it back to Solmetex’s recycling facility. Solmetex will periodically send you reminders to check your amalgam separator collection container, and there’s even an autoship option to make the process even easier.  Every time you recycle a collection container or an amalgam bucket with Solmetex, that recycle history is stored in Solmetex’s database and you can print out your ‘certificates of compliance’ online anytime, 24/7.

— Author:  Marie, Dental Product Shopper Blogger   

Click here for more information on the Environmental Protection Agency’s final ruling regarding the disposal of dental amalgam waste.