Dental tools and other equipment that are used on a daily basis must always be completely disinfected and sterilized between uses. Dental amalgam, which is used as a dental filling, is composed of a combination of metals such as silver, copper, tin, and mercury. Knowing how to properly discard old dental equipment is an essential part of running a dental office. The Hazardous Equipment Resource Center (HERC) provides several resources to help dental offices with disposal.
This includes an occupational safety and health resource locator, which has an interactive map to find regulations, contacts, and resources for dental offices in your state. There is also a tool to locate regulated medical waste resources on a state-by-state basis with an interactive map that helps you find the regulations, contacts, and resources of dental offices, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Amalgam waste should not be disposed of in the regular trash. Instead, it should be discarded by a dental supply distributor that offers PureWay amalgam recycling systems.
Below is an overview of best management practices and links to more detailed information on common dental office waste.