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Within the dental practice, there are lots of different products we need to dispose of in different ways, so what we are going to do now is look at individual items and the best way and correct way to dispose of them. One of the obvious mainstays of practice is a silver amalgam, and there are a few different sections to that. When you are using an amalgam capsule, they come like this. It is mixed and then you put what you need into the patient’s mouth. You are then usually left with some residue, which you would put into a waste amalgam storage bin. And then you have the capsule, which is usually disposed of into the capsule storage bin, which is an in-surgery size, and then when that fills up you then empty that into the larger tub. Depending on the size of the practice, that tub could be the size of a wheely bin. Other things you may come across would be old gold and precious metals that the crowns and inlays are made from, so there would be a special bin for those as well.

And then the other area is x-rays, really. When a practice has traditional chemical film processing, you have a lead foil sheet within the x-ray film, so when the film is being developed there is a lead foil and that would need to go into the lead foil container. The film is processed in a machine generally these days and the machine has developer and fixer. And when those materials are spent, they have to go to special bins. And then these bins themselves need storing in a vat larger than themselves in case they leak because they can explode if the two are mixed together. If you need to find out more information on waste disposal, where are the best places to find that information out?

Probably initially the waste disposal companies themselves. The Environment Agency website has very useful links to tell you exactly what your responsibilities are and how things need disposing of. But the waste companies really look after most of that for you anyway. And the British Dental Association have got handouts and leaflets on this sort of thing and their website has links to various relevant parts, really.