A commitment to developing greener laboratories
Worldwide, it is estimated that laboratories produce a staggering 5.5 billion kg of plastic waste per year, and use about four times more water and 10 times more electricity than office spaces of the same size.
Although vital discoveries are pioneered in these laboratories, which has certainly been highlighted during the pandemic, this output is unsustainable. INTEGRA Biosciences, a leading provider of high-quality laboratory tools, has created a list of key steps that can be taken to help address this issue and reduce your overall resource consumption.
INTEGRA’s advice is largely summed up by the motto ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’, which addresses the sheer amount of waste generated each day in the laboratory. The company offers simple steps to help reduce waste – like keeping an inventory to know when to order items in bulk – or collaborating with other laboratories to share equipment and reagents, helping to avoid over-ordering of chemicals that may expire.
INTEGRA also provides important guidance on electricity and water consumption. Simple steps like switching off devices and lights when they are not in use, using socket timers and closing the sash of the fume hood can all add up to a large overall reduction in electricity usage. But it is the high energy drainers in the laboratory that are the bigger problem. Ultralow-temperature freezers consume an enormous amount of energy – about the same per year as an entire household – so they should be used as efficiently as possible, for example by raising the temperature slightly if samples are stable, or sharing one with another laboratory to maximise usage.
And for water savings, equip taps with low-flow aerators, and only run dishwashers and autoclaves when full. These comprehensive guidelines, combined with choosing sustainable suppliers, will help not only reduce a laboratory’s environmental footprint, but also significantly increase efficiency and lower running costs.