Cutting carbon: being responsible with your carbon footprint


  Posted by: Dental Design      12th June 2023

Thinking about our carbon footprint and the impact our businesses have on the environment is now more vital than ever. We’re already living in a climate crisis, and around the world, the stark consequences of global warming and our greenhouse gas emissions are becoming apparent.

So, how can you help to reduce your carbon footprint and operate more sustainably?

Climate change and the UK

Global warming is, as the name suggests, a global problem. There have already been devastating climate-related disasters in recent years, with 2022 alone seeing issues such as widespread floods in Pakistan, South Africa and China, droughts in other parts of China, Brazil and across Europe, and storms that caused untold property damage and significant loss of life.[1]

Though the UK has yet to see any serious disasters, there is still evidence that climate change is making a difference to our weather. The Met Office has already reported that locations across the UK are seeing more warm and cold spells, both of which have been directly linked to global warming. Furthermore, though unsubstantiated as of yet, there is potential that the shifting climate is also responsible for increasing dry spells, rain storms and wind storms.[2]

What is a carbon footprint?

We’ve all heard the term before, but what does carbon footprint actually mean? Effectively, a carbon footprint is the amount of carbon that’s released into the atmosphere generated by

your daily activities. This includes greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride.[3]

As a business, your carbon footprint includes greenhouse gases made by any business operations, including those that you perhaps wouldn’t expect. For instance, carbon emissions created by your staff commuting to and from your practice would count, as well as those generated by processes such as the manufacture of the products you use and their transportation. This means that many individuals underestimate the true carbon footprint of their business – but it also opens opportunities for you to reduce your emissions in a greater variety of ways!

Not sure where to begin? Here are some tips to help:


Did you know that transport is responsible for 24% of the UK’s carbon footprint?[4] The emissions generated by all forms of transport are included in this, but personal vehicles are undoubtedly the biggest culprits, with car journeys adding more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere per person when compared to vehicles with much higher capacities such as coaches and buses.[5]

So, what about investigating ways that you can help to cut down vehicle use for those coming to your practice? For example, how about installing a bike shed on your premises so that people can cycle in if that is a viable option for them? You could also encourage your staff to go green by offering walk to work/using public transport incentives. Of course, the

viability of these measures will depend on your location (a very rural practice may struggle!) but it’s definitely food for thought.

Energy efficiency

Another way you could quickly improve your carbon footprint is by re-evaluating how you use your energy. 22% of the UK’s carbon emissions comes from sources such as oil and gas, so taking control of how energy is used in your practice can make a significant positive impact.[6]

For instance, instead of using a traditional gas boiler or oil heating system, could you swap to an electric-powered ground source heat pump? These are much more carbon efficient than gas or oil alternatives. If that switch isn’t viable it still could be very worthwhile swapping to a new boiler model, as many of these have been designed to improve energy efficiency. If not, how about just being more conscientious with your heating – does it need to be on all day? Even turning the thermostat on your central heating system down a few degrees will help.

Related to this, you can also explore insulating your practice better and investing in solutions such as double glazing to ensure that any heat used is kept in the building and not wasted as well as options like energy-saving lighting – the steps you take don’t need to be huge, as long as they are making a positive difference.

Reduce, reuse, recycle 

Any waste created by your practice will inevitably add to your total business emissions, as waste needs to transported and treated. In fact, waste emissions make up around 15% of a company’s total carbon footprint.[7] As such, reducing the amount of waste your setting generates is an excellent way to help make a difference.

Plus, as all colleagues can get involved in waste reduction, you could look to get everyone on board! Try swapping out single-use products, and encourage no waste lunches to prevent waste at the source. You could also think about how you dispose of the waste produced on your premises and the products you use during your waste disposal process.

For instance, Sustainable Clinical Waste Bags from Initial Medical are a smart way to help reduce your carbon footprint. Made from 30% recycled plastic, they are manufactured in the UK using renewable energy and every effort is made to ensure CO2 emissions are reduced during transportation to help ensure that they are a solid eco-option.

The time is now

Global warming is happening, but we can all play a part in helping to stall its progress. By being energy-efficient, conscious of transport and smart with waste, you can help to reduce your carbon footprint with ease.

To find out more, get in touch at 0870 850 4045 or visit the website today


Rebecca Waters, Category Manager, Initial Medical

Rebecca has worked in the Healthcare sector for the past 17years and was a Research Chemist with Bayer Cropscience prior to joining Rentokil Initial in 2003.  She keeps up to date on all developments within the clinical waste management industry and is an active member of the CIWM, SMDSA and BDIA.  

About Initial Medical Waste 

Initial Medical set the standard in healthcare and infectious waste management in the UK, providing a reliable, effective and fully compliant service built around customer needs and delivered by our highly trained local teams.  We are ISO 9001:2015 accredited, with technology fully integrated into our operations, providing full traceability of service delivery, electronic waste documentation and the best customer experience possible. We also offer innovative healthcare waste management services and infection control products, to help break the chain of transmission and prevent cross contamination.  

Initial Medical are a company with a ‘World Class’ Health and Safety record, and ISO 45001:2018 accreditation. We are also accredited to ISO 14001:2015 environmental standards, and pride ourselves on our sustainable approach with a focus on delivering eco-friendly products and operational solutions.

For further information please visit or Tel: 0870 850 4045

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[1] Sky News. 10 most costly climate change-related disasters in 2022 revealed. Link:’s%20deadly%20flooding%2C%20which%20submerged,disasters%20that%20struck%20in%202022.&text=Droughts%2C%20floods%2C%20storms%20and%20hurricanes,according%20to%20a%20new%20report. [Last accessed February 23].

[2] Met Office. Effects of Climate Change. Link: [Last accessed February 23].

[3] SMALL BUSINESS USER GUIDE: Guidance on how to measure and report your greenhouse gas emissions. Link: [Last accessed February 23].

[4] Transport and environment statistics 2022. Link:,road%20vehicles%20(89%20MtCO2e%20). [Last accessed February 23].

[5] Transport and environment statistics 2022. Link:,road%20vehicles%20(89%20MtCO2e%20). [Last accessed February 23].

[6] Energy Saving Trust. Top tips to reduce your carbon emissions. Link: [Last accessed February 23].

[7] Sustain Life. Calculating Carbon Emissions From Waste. Link:’s%20carbon%20footprint.&text=If%20you’re%20looking%20to,direct%20impact%20on%20reducing%20it. [Last accessed February 23].

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