By Kevin Henry, Editor
Medentex GmbH of Bielefeld Germany is the largest collector and recycler of dental amalgam waste in Europe. With more than 25 years of experience, medentex is a complete recycling company. None of the amalgam waste it collects ever goes into a land fill which could ultimately seep back into rivers and streams or to an incinerator where vapors may enter the atmosphere. Each component of the dental amalgam is separated by medentex and sold back into various industries. For example, the extracted mercury is consumed by the electronics industry.
In addition to the recycling services, medentex also provides dental utility room equipment. The medentex Amalsed Max dry vacuum system evolved from their years of experience with dental waste streams. Medentex LLC will offer both dental recycling services and utility room solutions.
In 2011, medentex GmbH prepared to enter the USA market. It opened an administrative office, showroom and warehouse in Parsippany, N.J., in January of this year. Dental industry veteran Carl Bretko was appointed president of medentex LLC while Christian Vogel relocated from the firm's headquarters in Bielefeld, Germany to Parsippany as operations manager. I had the opportunity to speak with Carl Bretko regarding this new venture. Our discussion is summarized below.
Kevin Henry: Tell our readers about Medentex LLC.
Carl Bretko: We're a company dedicated to protecting the environment by keeping mercury away from our natural habitat. The parent company, medentex GmbH, is very well-established in Europe, but medentex is new to the United States. Medentex GmbH started in 1984 when it developed a process for collecting waste from dental operatories and dental vacuum streams, separating the components of amalgam so those metals could be recycled back to industry. We don't incinerate the waste or send it to a land fill. We're trying to spread the message that we are a "closed loop recycler" and a "one-stop shop" for everything dealing with amalgam collection. Medentex takes full responsibility for the complete cycle which is a relief for our dental customers.
Henry: You talk about "saving the environment," so that ties in with the growing green movement in dentistry, correct?
Bretko: There are currently 11 states that mandate dental amalgam collection and it is voluntary in 36 others. The laws are more universal, tougher and strictly enforced throughout Europe. It is expected that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will mandate dental amalgam collection nationwide in the near future. Whether legislated or not, medentex believes most dentists feel an obligation to care for the environment. This conscience awareness will guide them toward amalgam collection in most cases. We are appealing to those senses. "Being green" is not just a buzz phrase or fad in dentistry. Dental professionals inherently want to do the right thing.
Henry: Amalgam collection isn't the only thing your company is known for, correct?
Bretko: Medentex LLC has also invented a dry vacuum system that incorporates amalgam collection. Suction and amalgam go hand-in-hand, so medentex integrated the two functions in a single solution. The Amalsed Max dry vacuum system represents another commitment to the environment since it is energy efficient and does not consume water. As long as they are running well, vacuum systems, and the dental utility room in general, are typically out of sight and out of mind in many dental practices. Dental practices interact with operatory equipment like the chair and its delivery system, digital X-ray on a daily basis and naturally become more intimate with such equipment. The utility room is off in a closet or down in the basement. Dental teams usually only get involved with vacuum pumps or compressors when they fail.
Henry: What are your future plans and goals for Medentex LLC?
Bretko: Our goal is to continue the tradition of medentex GmbH and become the leading amalgam collection and recycling company in the United States while simultaneously improving the performance and reliability of the dental utility room. The new Parsippany office will be our base from which we will distribute product and collect the spent collectors. Medentex is currently hiring a select team of experienced independent representatives to work closely with our distributors to carry the medentex message to the dental market. Initially, we are focusing on the Northeast states where amalgam collection is required. Then, we will gradually expand throughout North America. Our recycling services, containers and vacuum systems are available from Benco Dental nationally and Tri-State Dental which is heavily concentrated in the Northeast. I am pleased to be associated with medentex GmbH and its parent, Rentokil Initial Corporation of West Sussex, England. Together, we are anticipating much success in North America.