With each passing year, more dental professionals are evaluating the environmental impact of their daily workflows—and taking action about it. They are also learning that quality, affordability, and outstanding customer service don't have to be sacrificed when selecting eco-friendly business partners.
A case in point is EcoBee, a company ready to impress you with both its positive eco-impact and outstanding products for everyday dentistry. In this corporate profile, I interviewed EcoBee's Erin Fong to learn more about this trendsetting company and its BeeSure line of dental products.
EcoBee designs dental products "with both the environment and bottom line in mind." Could you tell us more about this?
“Eco” stands for eco-friendly and economically driven. Most people perceive eco-friendly alternatives as more costly. We want to challenge that notion because we firmly believe being green should not have to come at a higher cost. With both the environment and the bottom line in mind, we develop innovative quality products that maximize the conservation of resources. We are dedicated to providing a diverse, yet eco-friendly product line for dental professionals to enjoy.
Why did you feel there was a need for a company like EcoBee in the dental industry?
We live in a world full of industries that heavily impact our environment, and the dental industry is no exception. There are limited ways we can be greener as individuals in our everyday lives and, we want to provide the dental industry with just that—a way to be greener with eco-conscious alternatives. We want our brand to be a reminder for our customers to protect and preserve, which we hope they apply towards other aspects of their professional and personal lives.
We try to be eco-friendly in different ways, depending on the type of product. We use up to 50% preconsumer plastic in our plastic disposables, and our new Rainbow Saliva Ejectors are made of 100% preconsumer recycled plastic. Our Naturals Masks are the only masks made of 60% biodegradable cellulose material, and we like to use compact packaging for our gloves to reduce waste and lower costs. All of our packaging is made out of 100% recycled material, which greatly reduces our carbon footprint. In regards to our actual manufacturing processes, we do not use chlorine when producing our latex gloves. They are made with fewer chemicals, and therefore generate less chemical waste.
Share a story about something in your company's growth that surprised you . . . in a good way!
When we launched EcoBee, our customers looked at us as just another disposable company. We received a lot of comments such as, “No one cares about being green in dental.” However, at the most recent show we attended there was a group of dental students that approached our booth. When we asked how they heard about us, they said they just attended a green dentistry class and BeeSure was mentioned by the instructor. This just proves that some dental professionals do care about being green, and it’s developing into a legitimate concept—not just a trend. It took us years of persistence, creativity, and innovation to get our name out there, and we’re finally seeing the reward.
Tell us a little more about your history—especially the people who are behind EcoBee. When was the company founded, and were who key people involved?
BeeSure began in 2008 with a mission to create a diverse and affordable eco-friendly product line that minimizes environmental impact, yet exceeds the expectations of dental professionals. In 2010, we decided that we wanted to not only lower our impact, but also give back to the environment. We created our 25 cent for Nature program, where we pledged to contribute 25 cents of every case purchased towards American Forest for tree restoration. To date, we have planted a total of 60,000 trees within the United States! As of today, we also contribute towards other environmental organizations such as the Nature Conservancy and Planet Bee.
Every day, more people are making environmentally conscious choices, but it's hard to know where to start sometimes—especially in the workplace. Could you give us examples about what your customers are telling you about your products? Are you getting different kinds of responses from different members of the dental office—dentists, hygienists, assistants—and from different parts of the world?
Over the years, we have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the dental community. We recently had a customer share with us that her office is now environmentally responsible and that they currently use our BeeSure products. They love the green aspect of BeeSure and the fact that there is little action required on their part in order to have a positive impact on our planet. In general, there are few manufacturers in the dental industry that give back to the environment. Now that BeeSure is becoming more well known, we are seeing the positive effects our brand has on dental offices and the individuals that are a part of those practices. We have created a brand that makes both the environment and our customers happier.
You've done some unique marketing and branding to help get EcoBee off the ground. Tell us about your efforts.
Our design concepts are always very bright and colorful, just like our physical products. We like to use unique names that reflect environmental themes, such as our Floral and Naturals face masks, so that they’re easy to remember. Though some may find our design “gimmicky,” they are undeniably memorable and evoke a sense of cheerfulness many do not often feel when using an everyday product.
We have created the concept of our BeeGreener Assurance and BeeGreener Campaign as a way to easily reflect who we are and what we do as a company in a way that’s easy to comprehend. Overall, when it comes to our marketing and branding, we like to embrace simplicity and informality. Though what we do is not at all simple, we try to make it as easy to explain possible. No one likes to be bogged down my information and technical jargon, so we try to stay away from that.
Where do I go to find out more about EcoBee, and who can I contact if I want to become a business partner?
To learn more about our products and the BeeGreener Campaign, you can visit ecobeeworld.com. To find out how to become a partner, you can visit ecobeeworld.com/partner/. If you have any additional questions, feel free to email us at [email protected].
Zachary Kulsrud is senior editor of PennWell's dental group. He serves as chief editor of Apex360 and managing editor of Dental Economics, and oversees the editorial team of DentistryIQ and Perio-Implant Advisory. His background includes work in advertising and broadcast production.
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Editor's note: This article first appeared in the Apex360 e-newsletter. Apex360 is a DentistryIQ partner publication for dental practitioners and members of the dental industry. Its goal is to provide timely dental information and present it in meaningful context, empowering those in the dental space to make better business decisions. Subscribe to the Apex360 e-newsletter here.