For every research venture, you may be aiming for breakthroughs that are meant to improve the world. However, you should not forget about the planet along the way. Implementing sustainable practices in your workplace ensures that every experiment does not harm the environment. Make your laboratory a more eco-friendly place by taking these measures.
In most labs, there are some equipment that is rarely used, but continues to suck power from the wall socket. End their vampiric tendencies by unplugging these kinds of equipment each time you finish using them, and save energy in your laboratory.
If you find it bothersome to reach for the outlets behind bulky machines, plug it instead into a surge protector where you can just push a quick ON/OFF button. It will also protect any expensive equipment from being toasted by power surges.
Use consumables wisely
To find innovative ways to reuse products, consider the research application each time you use a particular consumable. Take a plastic cell scraper, for example, you may not have to throw it away each time if you are using it on something that does not require that much sterility. Perhaps you can simply wash it, rinse it thoroughly, and dry it before reusing, without affecting the results of your experiment at all.
When buying consumables, you can also go for eco-friendly options. For one, you can get refill racks and autoclave them to reduce the consumption of pipette tip boxes in your lab. These are also great for applications where a filter tip is not needed. If you do not need filtered pipette tips, you can get barrier tips that are highly recyclable and use less plastic than the usual pipette tip boxes. This keeps massive amounts of pipetting from making such a huge impact on the environment.
Manage water waste
Water is a vital resource in laboratories, but is often taken for granted. However, water wastage does not need to be an inevitable constant in your experiments.
Most water condensers consume up to roughly 40 gallons of water in an hour, which can greatly impact locations that are experiencing extreme hot weather, water shortage or drought. Replace your lab’s water condenser with an air condenser, which requires no running water and replaces traditional condensers in a lot of experiments.
Use chillers to recirculate running water in some applications, instead of flushing the water straight down the drain. You can also replace your water stills with newer water purification systems.
Have environment-friendly partners
From the supplier of your lab equipment and consumables to the waste management services, choose partners who also care about the environment. Purchase products that are highly recyclable and use less plastic materials. Observe your supplier’s shipping practices, as well, and check if they are reducing plastic in their shipping materials. Do not hesitate to bring up sustainable practices the next time you meet with your rep.
The entire world is affected by climate change. As you research ways to improve our way of life, you should help reduce our total carbon footprint, as well. Be responsible for your ecological impact even while conducting a cutting edge study. Sustainability should not only be an experiment — it should also be a constant in each of your methodology.