Research shows that laboratories require significantly more energy to operate than the average office building1 causing many scientists to express concern regarding the environmental sustainability and waste challenges in the lab. This is why we’ve compiled this list of green best practices for researchers. From planning to discovery, learn how even the smallest choices you make as an innovator and laboratory professional can contribute to a reduced environmental footprint.
Sustainability starts at the drawing board. Seek products that are designed to minimize the use of—and exposure to—hazardous materials, and buy from manufacturers who consider the entire life cycle of lab supplies in their design process. Look for suppliers that are providing data about their environmental claims through the ACT Environmental Impact Factor Label or other green product markings.
Consumables you can reuse
Plastic consumables are often the best choice for your lab, especially those you can use repeatedly. For example, reusable Thermo Scientific Nalgene products are designed to last a long time, sometimes many years, under typical life science lab conditions. In addition, many of our products are made from polypropylene and polyethylene, which are recyclable products at end-of-life in many communities.
Sustainably manufactured products
Is your manufacturer taking steps to reduce the environmental impact of product manufacturing? This process may include efforts to reduce material consumption, minimizing the use of hazardous chemicals, and reducing energy usage. By selecting a sustainability-minded supplier, you’re choosing to reduce your lab’s environmental impact on the world.
Low-impact packaging and shipping
Is your supplier reducing its carbon footprint through packaging material reductions and sustainable shipping procedures, such as opting for greener shipping containers, like our recyclable paper cooler, or products that require minimal packaging, like reusable plastic labware? In the lab, think about your role in consolidating shipping options and opt to place orders with labmates to reduce the number of boxes being shipped.
Check your equipment’s energy consumption, emissions levels, and heat output over the past year. Are you running equipment 24/7, even when it’s not actively being used? Harvard University found its hood closing initiative saved the lab more than 300 metric tons of CO2 and $200,000 per year2. Explore alternatives that can minimize your lab’s footprint while maintaining peak performance. For example, monitor cold storage equipment with a predictive maintenance device, put equipment on timers to shut off at night, use sleep modes, buy energy efficient equipment, and close your chemical fume hood.
Style Sheet for Global Design System