Five Ways to Help Make Your Lab More Sustainable

Laboratories are essential for scientific testing and research. But they require more energy consumption and generate more waste than other types of buildings. While many scientists fear that implementing environmentally sustainable processes may compromise the integrity of their work, the environmental impact of unsustainable lab practices can have a significant impact on the planet.

Manage Hazardous Materials

Effectively managing hazardous materials makes a difference and includes proper handling, storage, and disposal. Taking the following steps can help reduce air pollution, preserve water quality, and conserve natural resources:

  • Establish proper storage practices in designated areas
  • Implement strategies to minimize the generation of hazardous waste
  • Prioritize greener chemistry principles and select environmentally friendly alternatives
  • Stay informed about regulations to ensure compliance

Reduce Waste Generation

When it comes to reducing waste and conserving resources in the lab, every small change helps solve a bigger problem. Worldwide, it’s estimated that biological, medical, and agricultural research institutions produce about 5.5 million tons of lab plastic waste per year—around 2 percent of global plastic waste. Here are ways you can make conscious choices to reduce, reuse, and recycle:

  • Conduct a waste audit to focus your efforts
  • Implement a waste management plan
  • Reuse and repurpose materials instead of disposing of them

Reduce Energy Consumption

Laboratories consume large amounts of energy to keep cold storage equipment, computers, and other technology running. This not only costs a lot of money but also leaves a heavy carbon footprint. That said, there are still practical ways to operate more efficiently, reducing your energy usage without compromise:

  • Upgrade equipment to help you replace outdated and energy-inefficient processes
  • Implement power management strategies through equipment settings
  • Track and analyze energy usage patterns

Make Responsible Purchasing Decisions

As you make purchasing decisions, it’s important to consider a product’s life cycle—from warranty and maintenance to end-of-life disposal. This also includes finding products that are more sustainably made, helping you reduce hazardous waste and carbon emissions over time. You can do so in the following ways:

  • Look for equipment that supports waste reduction and recycling initiatives
  • Consider products with longer warranties and easy equipment maintenance options
  • Find equipment that meets or exceeds environmental standards and certifications

Choose a Transparent Partner

In addition to the Thermo Fisher Scientific greener products self-label program, we participate in the ACT label program. Created by the nonprofit organization My Green Lab to help consumers make smart, sustainable product choices, the ACT label provides environmental accountability, consistency, and transparency (ACT) for each labeled product. This helps:

  • Provide you with the information needed to make more sustainable purchasing decisions
  • Motivate product development professionals to introduce more sustainable products and packaging
  • Encourage manufacturers to make process improvements and operate more sustainably
  • Support customers in their efforts to reuse and recycle products whenever possible
  • Demonstrate a commitment to investing in sustainable business practices

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