Sustainable Lab Practices

  • Substitute High-Hazard Chemicals with Low-Hazard Chemicals: Replacing high-hazard chemicals with safer alternatives is a fundamental step in laboratory sustainability. This reduces risks to researchers and the environment.
  • Solvents Replacement: Exploring and adopting less toxic or environmentally friendly solvents can minimize the ecological impact of research activities.
  • Microsale Chemistry: Microscale chemistry techniques reduce the amount of chemicals and waste generated during experiments, making it a sustainable option.
  • Water Conservation: Closed-Loop Coolant Recirculation for Distillation Setups – Direct water lines from the spigot to the distillation apparatus should be avoided, and closed-loop systems should be implemented to conserve water.
PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)
  • Reusable Gloves: Opt for reusable gloves over disposable ones whenever possible, reducing the amount of waste generated.
  • Disposable Glove Recycling Program: Implement a program to recycle disposable gloves, ensuring they don’t end up in landfills.
    • More information coming soon
Chemical Inventory Management
  • Chemical Inventory Reduction: Regularly review and reduce chemical inventory to prevent wastage and minimize disposal requirements.
  • Small Quantity Purchases: Purchase chemicals in smaller quantities to minimize waste and ensure they are used before expiration.
  • Recycled/Re-distilled Tech Solvent Purchases: Consider purchasing recycled or re-distilled technical-grade solvents to reduce the environmental impact.
  • Exchange and Reuse Program with other research groups: Collaborate with other research groups to exchange and reuse chemicals, reducing the need for new purchases. Both RSS and ESHA have features that allow you to share chemicals. Please contact EH&S for questions.
    • View More – RSS >> | EHSA >>
Waste Management
  • Pollution Prevention: EH&S helps implement programs that systematically prevent pollution to minimize the generation of hazardous waste.
  • Eliminate, Recycle, or Reuse
    • Batteries: Recycle used batteries through appropriate recycling programs.
    • Silver: Photochemical wastes from X-ray and photo processes can be treated by a silver recovery system or picked up by EH&S as hazardous waste.
    • Mercury: Aim to eliminate mercury usage; if unavoidable, handle and dispose of it responsibly.
    • Contaminated flammable and halogenated organic solvents: Recycle or dispose of these solvents safely.
    • Used Pump Oil: Properly dispose of used pump oil appropriately.
    • Refrigerant: Handle and dispose of refrigerants responsibly to prevent environmental harm.
  • Universal Waste page >>

Laboratory Equipment

Fume Hood

Keeping fume hoods clutter-free ensures optimal airflow and allows the fume hood to operate more efficiently. Here are some tips to keep fume hoods clutter-free:

  • Remove any unauthorized shelving in fume hoods to maintain proper ventilation
  • Always close sashes on variable air volume (VAV) fume hoods when not in use in order to conserve energy.
Biosafety Cabinet (BSC)

When not in use, turn off BSC to conserve energy. Important: Ensure BSC is free from biohazards and decontaminated before turning them off to prevent cross-contamination.

Lab Appliances (e.g., Fridge, Freezer, Incubator)
  • Decommission Rusted/Old Units (High Energy Usage: Replace old, inefficient appliances with newer, energy-efficient models to reduce energy consumption.
  • Decontaminated Appliance Removal by Metal Salvager (FPM): Dispose of old appliances responsibly by having them decontaminated and recycled by metal salvagers.
  • Purchase Energy Star appliances for the lab, if available: Consider Energy Star-certified appliances when making new purchases for the laboratory.

Lab Facilities

Centralized Waste Bins for Non-Contaminated Materials
  • Implement a centralized waste collection system for non-contaminated materials, including:
    • Paper/Cardboard
    • Aluminum
    • HDPE or HDP

Sustainable Hub Waste Diversion Initiative >>