Tips for Making Your Lab More Sustainable


1. Watch Chemical Usage

If your lab is using chemicals on a regular basis, take inventory frequently, to avoid ordering unnecessary quantities. It is best to research for environmental-friendly alternatives to hazardous and toxic chemicals. If these safer options are not available, order the minimal amount needed. Check with others first, before buying duplicates of chemicals and set up a shared chemical repository if your workplace does not have one already.  If any chemicals are leftover and cannot be reused, dispose of properly!

  1. Manage Your Equipment

Maintaining and using the correct equipment, no matter the size, will maximize your lab’s efforts. Avoid using disposable products and buy autoclave glassware. If you must use plastic, use sparingly and keep the items stored in a designated area for reuse. Larger products such as grossing stations or coolers, require upkeep, therefore make it a habit to clean and service them regularly. Consider investing in a preventive maintenance program, like Scimedico’s, to maximize your equipment’s efficiency. Freezers can use massive amounts of energy, so avoid a messy freezer to limit door opening time. Also, be sure to avoid placing freezers in warmer locations throughout your lab, to prevent them from working harder to maintain temperature.

  1. Start The Discussion

Having everyone working in the lab to collectively develop greener practices is key.  If your lab or workplace does not have pro-environmental policies, suggest implementing simple recycling procedures or hosting an annual lab cleanout.  Consider keeping a daily task sheet of lab protocol, such as lowering the thermostat or defrosting the freezer, to establish green habits.

  1. Eliminate Waste

Reducing lab waste and conserving resources, is the biggest step in making your lab more sustainable. Share materials as often as applicable by setting up a designated reuse area for supplies and equipment. Even if items are not useful in your lab space, always check to see if they can be donated. Avoid buying disposable, if a reusable option is available.

  1. Build with Sustainability In Mind

If your lab or workspace, was not built with sustainability in mind, make a conscious choice to upgrade its green efforts. Set up proper disposal areas and label them accordingly. Reduce energy usage by labeling equipment with ‘Turn Off’ stickers and installing motion sensor lights. You can continue conservation efforts, by installing automatic shut-off valves to eliminate water waste.   These are a few tiny adjustments you can utilize quickly, to promote sustainability in your lab. Moving forward, make sure to purchase energy efficient equipment, helping to make your lab’s transition into a greener future.

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