Dental & Medical
How does Ecocycle collect, transport, store and recycle dental amalgam?
April 26, 2018
Dental amalgam does a great job in combating tooth decay, but they don’t last forever and often need replacing.
If old amalgam fillings are discarded into the sewers, they end up in waterways and the ocean.
There, bacteria convert metallic mercury into the highly dangerous methylmercury. That’s the form that contaminates fish, and can end up back on our dinner plates.
Ecocycle’s dental amalgam recycling program provides a closed-loop recycling solution that keeps mercury out of the environment and ensures this valuable material can be reused to make new dental fillings.
Here’s how it works.
Some dental chairs come equipped with amalgam separators that trap fragments of amalgam and stop it entering the sewer.
These separators need to be regularly collected, emptied, cleaned and replaced.
Ecocycle services all brands of amalgam separators and we can also fit our own AS04 branded separators.
When an amalgam separator is ready for service, one of our technicians will replace the full separator with an empty one.
This is done at a time convenient to the dental practice, minimising disruption to both dentists and patients.
We also collect spent amalgam capsules to prevent them going to landfill.
Full amalgam separators are transported to our premises by our trained technicians in company-owned vehicles. This ensures that we professionally oversee the entire process.
Amalgam separators are processed in batches and may need to be stored for short periods of time. This occurs in our purpose-built facilities.
Emptying and cleaning the amalgam separators is a manual process, undertaken by staff equipped with full protective equipment.
As with other mercury-containing wastes, the mercury in dental amalgam is recovered through distillation.
The waste is heated and mercury, the most volatile of metals, turns into a vapour.
The vapour then condenses onto a cool surface to yield the high-purity mercury metal that is then used to manufacture new dental amalgam.
Cleaning up the dental industry
Unfortunately, there are still a large number of dental chairs in Australia that don’t have amalgam separators.
In addition, many of the separators that are in place are not regularly serviced. This will not only damage equipment but also increase the risk of harmful discharge to sewers.
With just one amalgam filling containing enough mercury to contaminate 30,000 litres of water, there’s a clear reason why all dental amalgam should be recycled.
Ecocycle makes it easy to recycle dental amalgam, wherever you are in Australia.
To get your dental practice on board give us a call on 1300 32 62 92, or fill out the form below and we’ll have you responsibly recycling amalgam waste in no time.