Dedicated to Environmental Excellence in Dentistry (DEED) Program

Announced on May 31, 2010, by the Ohio Dental Association (ODA), the Good DEED program is a voluntary program to recognize the efforts of dental offices who operate in an environmentally responsible manner. The Good DEED program uses a tiered approach for recognizing dental offices that use simple and innovative solutions to minimize the environmental impact of their practices on Ohio’s environment. Participants receive certificates from the ODA designating the tier for which they qualify. Everything you need for participation is online or can be mailed to you at your request.

The Dedicated to Environmental Excellence in Dentistry (DEED) program includes:

  • Comprehensive online checklists to identify American Dental Association best management practices (BMPs), environmental regulations that apply to dental offices and BMPs to help your business be more sustainable and preserve and protect natural resources
  • A 'Gold' tier (Gold tier pdf) for those following the American Dental Association’s BMPs and meeting environmental regulations
  • A 'Gold and Green' tier (Gold and Green tier pdf), a second tier of recognition, for dental offices pursuing more environmentally sustainable activities. In addition to the certificate from ODA and Ohio EPA, 'Gold and Green' tier participants are listed on the Good DEED achievements webpage.

Please help promote environmental stewardship in the dental profession and be recognized as an environmentally responsible dentist.

Contact the ODA or Ohio EPA to participate in the program. Dental offices that are pursuing sustainable practices can be recognized for their outstanding efforts by completing the online registration.

Ohio Dental Association

Good DEED Program  (email Good DEED Program)
1370 Dublin Road, Columbus, OH 43215
(614) 486-2700

Ohio EPA

Bill Narotski (email
Office of Compliance Assistance and Pollution Prevention
P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, OH 43216-1049

Dental offices that meet Ohio environmental regulations and follow the American Dental Association’s (ADA) list of best management practices (BMPs) relating to amalgam may receive recognition from the ODA and Ohio EPA for being environmentally responsible dentists. In October 2007, the ADA included the use of amalgam separators as a BMP for dentists. In some cases, BMPs are also required by law. Gold tier participants receive a certificate from the ODA to share with their employees and customers. 

All businesses in Ohio are also legally responsible for meeting Ohio laws. Legal requirements applicable for dentists are included in the list below and marked with a diamond (♦) in the regulation column of the table.  

To receive recognition for being a DEED office, you need to mark yes or not applicable to each management practice in the following two sets of criteria:

  • ADA BMP for amalgam management
  • Environmental regulations

The list of ADA BMPs and the most common environmental regulations applicable to dental offices are listed below.

American Dental Association Best Management Practices

Managing waste dental amalgam properly is important for dental offices. Dental amalgam is a mixture of elemental mercury (43 to 54 percent) and an alloy powder (57 to 46 percent) composed of silver, tin, copper and sometimes smaller amounts of zinc, palladium or indium. If amalgam waste is not recycled it may qualify as a hazardous waste, due to its mercury and silver content, and must be managed as a hazardous waste.

Amalgam separators remove dental amalgam from wastewater before it is discharged to the local publicly owned treatment works (POTW). Separators are rated at different efficiencies, typically between 95 percent to more than 99 percent. The higher the efficiency, the greater amount of mercury is removed from the dental offices waste water stream. 

There are many designs and manufacturers of dental separators. Dental offices should investigate which separators best suit the needs, numbers of chairs and vacuum systems of the dental office. Ohio EPA encourages dentists to choose separators at the highest efficiency rating the dental practice deems appropriate to keep the most mercury out of the environment.

BMP Description Reg
Dental Amalgam Use  
You have discontinued the use of bulk elemental mercury. 
You have sent any bulk elemental mercury in the office to a recycling facility. 

Note: Check with your recycler to determine whether they will accept bulk mercury. 
You use the proper size pre-encapsulated amalgam and stock a variety of capsule sizes to minimize waste.   
You use chair-side traps and vacuum pump filters to collect amalgam.   
You properly manage mercury amalgam from chair-side traps, vacuum screen and amalgam separators, either through recycling or disposal as a hazardous waste. 
You do not put any mercury-containing wastes in your regular trash, in infectious waste containers (red bags), in sharps containers or down the drain or toilet. Examples include: amalgam capsules, amalgam waste and extracted teeth containing amalgam. 
You do not rinse reusable traps or other devices containing dental amalgam over drains or sinks.   
You store amalgam waste in a covered plastic container labeled "Non-contact Amalgam Waste for Recycling" and "Contact Amalgam Waste for Recycling," or as directed by your recycler. 

Note: You should include the date when you first placed amalgam into the container on the container's label. Your recycler may have some requirements, so ask about containers and what may be placed in them. 
Send mercury-containing materials to a recycler, including: 

Non-contact amalgam
Disposable amalgam capsules 
Non-contact amalgam (scrap amalgam)

Contact amalgam
Salvage (contact) amalgam pieces from restorations 
Teeth containing amalgam 
Contents of reusable chair-side amalgam traps 
Disposable chair-side traps
Vacuum pump filters 
Sludge from plumbing clean-outs

Note: Ask your recycler whether contact amalgam contents or extracted teeth with amalgam restorations require additional preparation or separate storage prior to recycling. 
Amalgam Separator  
You use an amalgam separator that complies with ISO 11143 and is at least 95 percent efficient. Check with your dental supplier to determine if yours qualifies.   
You follow the manufacturer's recommendations for operation, filter replacement and cleaning and maintenance of your separator(s).   
You use non-bleach, non-chlorine-containing line cleaners to minimize amalgam dissolution to flush wastewater lines.   
Amalgam in Plumbing  
You properly manage any sludge generated when you clean your pipes or replace plumbing. Handle the sludge as you would handle contact amalgam. 


Environmental Regulations

Dental offices, like all businesses in Ohio, are responsible for complying to Ohio’s environmental regulations. This section has a series of checklists for different waste types that apply to dentists. Dental offices must comply with these waste management regulations:

Infectious Waste Management (see Table 1 below)

Dental offices are responsible for properly managing any infectious wastes generated. The definition of infectious waste and categories of generators are available here. The most common wastes that a dental office may need to manage as infectious waste are blood and blood products, teeth that have blood on them and sharps. 

The amount of infectious waste generated in a month determines the requirements that must be followed.  Most dentists generate less than 50 pounds of infectious waste per month and are Small Infectious Waste generators.  The checklist below is appropriate for Small Infectious Waste Generators.  Dentists that generate more than 50 pounds of infectious waste in any calendar month at one location have more stringent requirements, described at /portals/34/document/guidance/gd_078.pdf

It is also a good idea to contact the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) and your trash hauler to determine whether it has specific requirements regarding the content of the wastes that they will haul.

Hazardous Waste Management (see Table 2 below)

Most dental offices generate less than 220 pounds of hazardous waste per month and are defined as conditionally exempt small quantity generators (CESQG) of hazardous waste. CESQGs must follow two main requirements. 

  • CESQGs are required to evaluate any waste they generate to determine whether it is a hazardous waste.
  • CESQGs ensure delivery to an Ohio EPA permitted off-site hazardous waste storage, treatment or disposal facility.

If a dental office generates more than 220 pounds of hazardous waste in any calendar month, there are more stringent requirements. See Ohio EPA’s Hazardous Waste Generators Handbook for more information.

Wastewater (see Table 3 below)

It is important to know where the sinks and drains at your dental office discharge. If you are discharging to your local wastewater treatment plant, called a publicly owned treatment works (POTW), it is recommendable to contact them to ensure they can accept your wastewater and to see what local requirements they may have for your discharge. POTWs are designed to handle sanitary (restroom) wastes. POTWs are not designed to manage wastewaters containing chemicals, metals or other contaminants. POTWs have limits on the level of contaminants that can be discharged by businesses and many have specific limits on mercury discharges in wastewaters. Mercury discharged down the drain can pose a problem to POTWs. Also many POTWs do not want chemicals put down the drain because they can kill helpful bacteria at the wastewater plant or cause other hazards, such as an explosion or fire hazard. 

If your dental office is not connected to a sewer system and has its own on-site sewage system, there are different considerations. An on-site sewage system usually consists of a buried septic tank or aeration tank and a drain field (also called a leach field or leach bed). On-site treatment systems are designed to handle sewage and wastewater from restrooms and sinks. Discharging chemicals, cleaning solvents or mercury into an on-site system can kill the important bacteria that help the system break down wastes and function properly. These chemicals can travel through the septic tank into the drain field, making their way directly into underground sources of drinking water. Because of this, Ohio EPA has strict regulations against the use of on-site treatment systems for the disposal of process-related wastes from a business.

Infectious Waste Generator Regulations


Yes (√)

Or N/A

Small Infectious Waste Generator - Generates less than 50 pounds of infectious waste in any calendar month at one location.


You keep a written log which shows the amount (weight) of infectious waste generated each month.


Note: You are not required to send this information to Ohio EPA but must keep it on file at the business.


You put discarded needles, syringes, scalpel blades and other sharps in a commercially manufactured sharps container. 


Your sharps container(s) are in good condition, labeled, puncture and leak resistant with a tight-fitting cover. It also needs to be rigid and strong enough to withstand handling during transport (for example, it will not collapse or break open).


Your sharps containers are labeled with the word “sharps” and the international bio-hazard symbol. 


Check with the PUCO on the requirements for proper transportation of your regulated medical waste/infectious waste.




Hazardous Waste Generator Regulations


Yes (√)

Or N/A

Hazardous Waste - CESQG



You have evaluated all the wastes you generate to determine whether they are hazardous wastes. Examples of potential hazardous wastes include:

  • Dental amalgam 
  • Used fixer and cleaners for x-ray developer
  • Lead foils, shields, aprons 
  • Used chemical sterilants
  • Fluorescent bulbs and batteries
  • Old electronic equipment, including computers
  • Mercury-containing thermostats
  • Pesticides


You do not put hazardous waste in with infectious waste or in the regular trash. 


You do not put liquids in your solid waste dumpster, even if non-hazardous, as landfills are not permitted to accept liquid wastes.


You send your hazardous waste to a permitted hazardous waste treatment, storage or disposal (TSD) facility,


Send the hazardous waste to an appropriate recycle, if the material is recyclable. 



Wastewater Discharger Regulations


Yes (√)

Or N/A

Wastewater Discharged to a POTW



If you are discharging to a local wastewater treatment plant (POTW), you should contact the local POTW to check on any local ordinances or permission requirements. 



You do not dispose of any chemicals down the drain, such as photo and x-ray chemicals, sterilants or disinfectants, unless you have been given permission to do this from the POTW, or the activity is covered under your discharge permit with them.  

Note: If a dental office is not authorized to dispose of chemicals, including photo and x-ray chemicals, sterilants or disinfectants down the drain, the dental facility must evaluate and properly dispose of the chemicals. If the chemicals are hazardous wastes, the dental facility must send the chemicals to a recycler or permitted hazardous waste disposal facility. See Hazardous Waste Section of this checklist.


You do not rinse amalgam from cleaning chair-side traps, vacuum screens or an amalgam separator down the drain. 


Wastewater Discharges to an On-site Septic System


If you have an on-site sewage treatment or disposal system such as a septic tank/leach field, filtration system or mound system, you have a Permit-to-Install (PTI) from Ohio EPA’s Division of Surface Water.


You ensure that only sanitary water (from restrooms and hand wash only sinks) is discharged to your onsite system. 


You do not discharge chemicals such as photo and x-ray chemicals, sterilants or disinfectants into your on-site system.

Note: If wastewater containing amalgam or chemicals is going into a facility’s on-site system, the dental facility must discontinue this practice and find another way to manage its wastewater, such as installing a holding tank. A holding tank requires a Permit-to-Install (PTI) from Ohio EPA's Division of Surface Water. If you have chemicals or amalgam in your wastewater, your tank may also be regulated as a hazardous waste tank by Ohio EPA's Division of Hazardous Waste Management.


You do not discharge wastewater containing amalgam from cleaning chair-side traps, vacuum screens or an amalgam separator down the drain to an on-site system.


If you have installed a holding tank for collecting wastewater, you evaluate the wastewater and have it shipped by a waste hauler to a commercial wastewater treatment facility or, if hazardous waste, a hazardous waste disposal facility.




Marking yes or not applicable to all the ADA BMPs and environmental regulations above enables you to be recognized at the Gold tier of the DEED program.

Dental offices that have completed the Gold tier and are pursuing more environmentally friendly and sustainable practices may receive recognition in the Gold and Green tier.

Gold Recognition

To apply for the Good DEED program Gold tier:

1.  Complete the checklist (one form for each office location that qualifies), and mail it to the Good DEED Program Administrator; or

2.  Send an email to the Good DEED Program Administrator with your contact information, Environmental Policy Statement, the model and brand of amalgam separator that you have used, the maintenance schedule for the separator and a statement that you have meet all environmental regulations.

Contact information provided for the program should include:

Name of dental office
Names of dentists at the office
Street address
Mailing address
City and ZIP code
Phone number
Web address
Email address
Number of chairs at the dental practice

Send or email the application to the Ohio Dental Association:

Attn: Good DEED Program
Ohio Dental Association 
1370 Dublin Road 

Columbus, OH 43215

The Gold and Green tier of recognition is for dental practices that are pursuing more environmentally sustainable activities in addition to meeting environmental regulations and traditional best management practices (BMPs). These sustainable practices are worth implementing even if the dentist is not seeking recognition for their efforts.

This tier may be pursued at any time by dentists that have completed the Good DEED Gold tier. The Gold and Green tier recognizes dentists who are going beyond compliance by recycling wastes from their offices and pursuing at least 10 other pollution prevention practices. 

New types of environmentally friendly projects are encouraged and new ideas will be shared with other dentists to help them identify the great range of possibilities to make your dental practice more environmentally friendly. 

Participants at the sustainable level receive a certificate from the ODA and are recognized on the Environmentally Responsible Dentist webpage. The certificate for the Gold and Green tier can include an Environmental Policy Statement created specifically for the dental office, allowing dentists to individualize their certificate and share their philosophy with staff and customers.

The recognition certificate is reissued every two years. The dental facility reaffirms its dedication to operating an environmentally responsible office and provides an update on projects it is pursuing to be more sustainable. 

Recognition of Environmentally Responsible and Sustainable Dentistry

  • Complete the Gold Tier - ADA BMPs and Ohio Regulations
  • Have an established recycling program in place for your dental practice wastes
  • Complete 10 additional environmental sustainability BMPs
  • You may choose to create an environmental policy statement to individualize your practice’s philosophy toward achieving sustainability (optional)

Recycling Programs

Dental offices should evaluate opportunities to reduce waste, recycle materials and buy recycled-content products. If materials used cannot be reduced, the best option is to recycle the material. Many materials used by dental offices can be recycled. In some cases recycling materials like mercury, lead and fluorescent lamps can reduce your regulatory requirements, as well.

The value of some recyclables, like office paper and aluminum, can help pay for the recycling of other types of materials. To receive recognition at the Sustainable Tier of the program, dental practices should have the following recycling programs in place.

BMP Description Yes (√)

Or N/A

Recycling Programs


You have a recycling program in place for office paper.


You have a recycling program in place for lead (foils and shielding).


You have a recycling program in place for amalgam.


If using film based radiography, you have a recycling program in place for fixer and developer solution.




Environmental Sustainability

There are many opportunities for dental offices to operate in more environmentally responsible ways. Below is a list of more environmentally sustainable practices an office can pursue, including additional recycling opportunities. 

The sections below are divided into practices that are specific to dental offices that any business could pursue to be more environmentally sustainable. All the following practices are optional but recommended best management practices (BMPs).

At the end of the checklist there is a space dedicated for you to provide BMPs that your office uses that are not already on the list. Information from this section will be used to expand the appropriate sections of the Good DEED program and provide other dental offices with ideas.

Acknowledge your recycling activities and indicate which 10 BMPs you are following or add to the list of BMPs and be recognized for your contribution to environmentally responsible and sustainable dentistry.

BMP Description

Yes (√)

Or N/A

Environmentally Aware Dental Practices


You clean and, as needed, replace mercury-laden pipes and plumbing fixtures. It is worthwhile to clean and update plumbing after installation of new amalgam separators or other mercury control equipment.


Note: Through years of dental practice, mercury settles at low points, such as sink traps and sumps, and is slowly released into the wastewater for years after disposal practices have been corrected. Whenever plumbing parts are moved or cleaned, be sure to avoid spilling the contents in case amalgam or mercury is present.


You use a dry vacuum system at your practice. A dry vacuum system could save more than 24,000 gallons of water annually. It is critical to have an amalgam separator with dry vacuum systems.


You use digital radiography/panoramic X-ray units and photography to minimize the use of film processing chemicals (silver-containing radiographic fixer solution) and lead foil.


You use reusable barrier gowns.


You use lead free aprons, e.g. Demron.


You use cotton towels and bibs instead of disposable plastic or paper patient bibs and launder after use.


You use stainless steel endodontic suction tips.


You use glass irrigation syringe as a substitute for disposable plastic.


You have a paperless dental practice.


You use steam sterilization for your instruments, saving energy and not using hazardous chemicals.


You are working with the municipal POTW on a community mercury reduction committee.


You have an agreement with your pharmaceutical companies for them to take back old or unnecessary medicines, especially more hazardous pharmaceuticals such as cresols, lindane and mercury-based preservatives.


You recycle other materials such as shredded patient information, cardboard, mixed papers, plastics, aluminum and glass from your practice. 


Environmental Sustainability


You monitor and record:

  • Water use
  • Energy consumption
  • Solid and hazardous waste generation

With these records you’ve developed a plan to reduce your consumption and waste generation.


You use Energy Star appliances, programmable thermostats and have implemented other energy efficiency improvements.


You unplug appliances when not in use and turn off lights when not in the room.


You have installed solar shades.


You have installed automatic hand dryers in restrooms.


You use low-flow plumbing/faucet fixtures that are sensor operated.


You have had your local energy utility or an energy service contractor conduct a commercial energy assessment.


You use double-sided printing.


You use biodegradable disposable cups.


Your housekeeping staff use green cleaning products.


Your landscape is designed and maintained in an environmentally friendly manner. When landscaping use native plants and other plants and land cover that need less water, place vegetation so that it can protect your business from seasonal weather conditions (such as shade trees) and follow other eco-friendly landscaping practices.


You use alternative practices to pesticides for caring for office lawn and/or landscaping.


Environmentally Preferable Purchasing


You purchase materials with a high post-consumer recycled content or used materials/products for your business.


You use chlorine free paper that has a high post-consumer recycled content for your office paper and business cards.


You use E-PEAT rated computers (


You purchase materials and products that are designed to be recycled at the end of their useful lives.


You choose furniture made in an environmentally friendly manner.


You use energy efficient low-mercury lighting, such as LED lamps, green-marked T5, T8 and/or compact fluorescent lamps.


When purchasing button cell batteries, you choose mercury-free batteries.


You have replaced mercury-containing equipment with aneroid digital equipment, e.g. thermometers and sphygmomanometers.


You use environmentally-friendly flooring such as some of the eco-friendly linoleums, cork or bamboo.


You use ultra-low VOC paint when painting rooms.


You purchase green/renewable energy from geothermal, solar or wind sources (through your electric utility).




Other Practices Pursued

Please provide best management practices (BMPs) that your office uses that are not listed, add additional pages if necessary. Information from this section will be used to expand the appropriate sections of the Good DEED program and provide other dental offices with ideas and opportunities to operate a more sustainable dental practice.

BMP Description (add description)


Yes (√)

Or N/A

























Total Number of Optional Best Management Practices Implemented



Environmental Policy Statement (optional)

The Environmental Policy Statement memorializes the dental office’s commitment to environmentally stewardship and communicates the goals of the office with respect to the environmental aspects of the organization's products, services and/or activities.

Generally, a policy statement would:
 1. Be appropriate to the dental office’s environmental impacts; and
 2. Demonstrate a commitment to continual improvement, pollution prevention and compliance with environmental regulations.

Environmental Policy Statement (optional)











If completed, the Environmental Policy Statement will be incorporated into the certificate recognizing the dental office as participating at the best management practices (BMPs) plus Sustainable Dentistry tier. Information on developing an environmental policy statement is available at

Gold and Green Recognition

To apply for Good DEED program's Gold and Green Tier:

  1. Complete one form for each office location that qualifies and mail it to the Good DEED Program Administrator; or
  2. A. Send an email to the Good DEED Program Administrator with your contact information, Environmental Policy Statement, the model and brand of amalgam separator that you have used, the maintenance schedule for the separator and a statement that you have meet all environmental regulations. B. Provide a list of the recycling best management practices (BMPs) and the 10 other environmentally sustainable best management practices that your facility has implemented.


Contact information provided for the program should include:

  • Name of dental office
  • Names of dentists at the office
  • Street address
  • Mailing address
  • City and ZIP code
  • Phone number
  • Web address
  • Email address
  • Number of chairs at the dental practice

Send or email the application to the Ohio Dental Association, at the Good DEED program email.


Attn: Good DEED Program
Ohio Dental Association
1370 Dublin Road
Columbus, OH 43215

The ODA announced the Good DEED program on May 31, 2010. There are more than 6,000 dentists providing services in Ohio. The ODA and Ohio EPA encourage all dentists in Ohio to participate in the Good DEED recognition program.


The ODA's goal parallels the American Dental Association goal of an increase in use of amalgam separators by 20 percent the first year and a 25 percent increase in the use of separators per year afterwards. The program's goal is to have 20 percent of Ohio dentists using amalgam separators by July 1, 2011; 40 percent by 2012; 60 percent by July 2013, 80 percent by 2014 and complete adoption by July 1, 2015.

To date, participation in the Good DEED program includes:

  • 197 dentists from 106 dental practices at 120 locations, as well as the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine, are registered as participating at the Gold tier, meeting best management practices (BMPs) and Ohio's environmental regulations.
  • 31 dental offices are registered as participating at the Gold and Green tier, pursuing additional sustainability projects beyond the Gold tier (these dentists are also counted in the Gold tier of the program).

Dental Offices Participating at the Gold and Green Tier*:

*Inclusion on this list should not be seen as an endorsement, certification or approval by the Ohio EPA.

Good DEED Program PDFs

Relevant Links

Amalgam Separators Designated to Meet the 99 Percent Efficiency Level

This list was compiled by other state programs to identify amalgam separators that achieved 99 percent efficiency in dental office settings.* 

  • Guardian Amalgam Collector (Air Techniques)
  • The Amalgam Collector CH9 or CH12 (R&D Services)
  • The Amalgam Collector CE18 or CE24 (R&D Services)
  • Asdex AS-9 (American Dental Accessories)
  • AD-1000 (American Dental Accessories)
  • BullfroHg 10 (Dental Recycling North America)
  • MRU (Dental Recycling North America)
  • Hg 10 (SolmeteX)
  • MSS 2000 (Maximum Separation Systems)
  • MSS 1000 (Maximum Separation Systems)
  • Rasch 890 – 1000 (AB Dental Trends)
  • Rasch 890-6000 (AB Dental Trends)
  • Rasch 890-1000/4000 (AB Dental Trends)
  • Rasch 890-6000/4500 (AB Dental Trends)
  • Catch 1000 - formerly called RME 2000-CatchHg (Rebec LLC)
  • Catch 400 (Rebec LLC)
  • Catch 9000 (Rebec LLC)

*Inclusion on this list should not be seen as an endorsement, certification or approval by the Ohio EPA.