Jerry Ragle, CDT, owner of Ragle Dental Laboratory, Champaign, Illinois, has the unique distinction of being the first laboratory in the U.S. to become a regional production center for milling Cadent models based on data from the Cadent iTero digital impression-taking system. Open last April, the center is milling about 5,000 polyurethane models--and recycling 2,500 to 2,800 pounds of polyurethane waste--each month.
Some of that waste comes from the milling process but the laboratory has also implemented a Cadent iTero model pick-up program for its clients. Ragle supplies his doctors with small recycling containers; once the doctor seats the case, he simply throws the model into the container, which Ragle picks up once a month and sends to a local recycling company, Twin City Recycling. The polyurethane is ground and reformulated into pellets for a variety of uses, including composite wood, buckets, car parts and furniture.
"Conventional impressions can stay in a landfill for up to 50 years! Over time, we might make a different in recycling these models," says Ragle.