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The NHS has set two ‘net zero’ targets: the NHS Carbon Footprint (greenhouse gas emissions that can be controlled directly) by 2040 with an 80% emissions reduction by 2028 to 2032 and the NHS Carbon Footprint Plus (emissions that can be influenced) by 2045 with an 80% remissions reduction by 2036 to 2039. Achieving this target requires efforts from multiple stakeholders to work together and drive the change that is needed.

Sustainable infographic

Ways to make the supervised toothbrushing programmes more environmentally friendly:

Sustainable procurement

  • For example, when procuring toothbrushes, Childsmile has pledged to include sustainability as part of the product specification. 

Sign up to a specialist recycling service. 

  • Some toothbrush manufacturers have started offering recycling schemes to help reduce the environmental impact of their materials. For example, Terracycle offers free recycling schemes sponsored by Colgate and Philips. Terracycle state that the plastic products are made into plastic pellets which can be used to make new recycled products. As part of the Childsmile programme each local NHS health board is signed up to the recycling service provided by Terracycle.


Toothbrushing method

  • Consider toothbrushing method used; dry brushing has been recommended as the eco-friendlier choice due to less water usage.

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