Handling amalgam waste is a critical responsibility for dental practitioners as it poses a risk to human health and the environment. Unfortunately, there are common mistakes made during the disposal of amalgam waste that can lead to harmful consequences.

Understanding the proper procedures for handling amalgam waste is crucial for the safety of patients, healthcare workers, and the environment. Understand these mistakes and see how to improve the management of amalgam waste.

Common Mistakes When Handling Amalgam Waste

The use of amalgam is a highly debatable topic in the field of dentistry. In fact, some dentists do not personally prefer to use it. But, they may come across patients who have amalgam restorations. So, dental practitioners must understand the common mistakes made while handling amalgam waste and the proper ways of disposing of them.

1. Rinsing Amalgam-Containing Filters, Traps, and Containers in the Sink

The first thing one must ensure doesn’t happen is, Do not to rinse amalgam-containing traps, filters, or containers in the sink. It is advised to avoid using bleach to clean discharge systems as it can mobilise legacy mercury and amalgam.

2. Recycling Amalgam Waste

Recycle or dispose of amalgam, elemental mercury, broken or useless amalgam capsules, and amalgam-containing waste from traps and filters as hazardous waste. Except as needed by local legislation, empty dental amalgam capsules having no visible contents may be disposed of as non-hazardous waste.

3. Poor Record Keeping

If the amalgam containers are not properly labelled, there are chances that they might mix up with other types of waste-containing containers. This is one of the ill practices that can be hazardous if the amalgam reaches the environment untreated.

How to Improve the Management of Amalgam Waste?

It is necessary for a dentist/healthcare worker in this industry to understand the hazards of dental waste containing Mercury amalgam. As mentioned above, one must know about the recycling procedures to be followed in their specific area.

Follow Mercury Hygiene

Oral health professionals should be taught the right and safe handling of mercury and dental amalgam, and specific procedures should be followed.

  • Direct skin contact with mercury and freshly mixed dental amalgam should be avoided.
  • When polishing or removing amalgam, use high-volume evacuation systems and water cooling.
  • After using single-use capsules, recap them.
  • It is essential to dispose of old capsules and amalgam scrap in a well-sealed container, as well as to use proper mercury reclamation methods.
  • Prior to heat sterilisation or heat disinfection, remove any amalgam impurities from the instruments.
  • To flush wastewater pipes, do not use bleach or other chlorine-containing cleansers.


Proper management of amalgam waste is essential for the safety of patients, dental practitioners, and the environment. Dental professionals must understand the common mistakes made during the handling and disposal of amalgam waste and follow specific procedures to improve its management.

Looking for assistance with proper amalgam waste disposal? At TCW, Our team of certified professionals can guide you through the process and provide best-in-class services. Take the first step towards safer amalgam waste disposal by scheduling a free visit to your facility and receiving a no-obligation quote from us. Contact us today to learn more.

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