A busy dental practice can produce piles of waste, including plastics, cotton, latex, medical sharps, and metals from amalgams and other dental appliances. Many of these materials can be hazardous, and dentists must follow laws for disposing of them. Metals used in dentistry, however, are recyclable, and you can get paid for it.
Disposing of Dental Waste Properly
Both federal and state laws have enacted regulations for the disposal of dental waste. Some materials, such as the mercury in amalgam fillings, are environmentally harmful when flushed into wastewater or put in landfills. As a result, amalgams must be separated out.
Other metals, such as those found in crowns, bridges, and other treatments, are not considered hazardous. However, neither should they be simply thrown out with the trash. These metals can be recycled and you can get paid for it.
Waste Containing Gold
Dental products containing gold will bring you the most money. Dental gold consists of about 16 to 18 karat gold. The gold is alloyed with other metals such as silver, copper, and zinc. Gold has traditionally been used for crowns and onlays and is still used by many dentists today.
Recycling companies can separate the gold from any other metals it is alloyed with. They can also remove the metal liner from porcelain crowns. Some metals fused to porcelain contain gold or platinum. The crowns don’t need to be in one piece to be recycled.
Many companies specialize in collecting and recycling metal waste from individuals and dental practices. Each one will vary in what they accept and their processes. You can contact them to discuss their specific policies.
The company will sort the metals according to type and evaluate the value of the metal. The prices they pay are based on the weight and purity of the metal, especially gold. You can get paid by cash, check, or a 1031 “like kind” exchange, which is tax-free. The buyer can advise you which choice is best for you.
Recycling metal from your dental practice can generate a reliable source of income for your trash. The process is easy and takes very little effort on your part. In addition, your recycling efforts are helping to conserve limited resources of metals such as gold.
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