Labs consume a lot of energy and produce significant waste. Unfortunately, this is the last place that one would consider to make eco-friendly. However, when you walk around your research lab, you will notice a good deal of plastic waste, unrecycled bottles, and waste that can easily be discarded. The energy waste is easy to miss with equipment like the Laboratory Freezers staying on over the night.
The scientific processes need a lot of resources. Look closely. You will surely spot many opportunities to make your lab eco-friendly. This does not just let you do your bit for the environment but saves money too.
Ways to make your lab more eco-friendly:
Sustainability is crucial even in your lab.
Here is how to achieve it:
- Maintain your lab equipment and use them wisely
You can get the maximum use of your lab equipment for which you need to ensure that all your lab equipment works optimally. Regular maintenance and turning off equipment that is not essential is the first step, to begin with. The freezer should be clean and organized and kept away from any heat source. The freezer door should be kept closed. It is also advised to use natural lighting where possible.
- Using less paper
There are ways in which you can limit the use of paper in your lab. Writing in small font sizes and adjusting the margin are simple ways to reduce the consumption of paper. Set your printer to print double side and recycle the paper when you have finished with it. The best would be to go paperless. This is if you can work out ways to ensure data safety and security.
- Order your supply from a sustainable vendor
If you can order your lab supplies from a green vendor then half your job is done. When you order your equipment from a business owner who is committed to reducing their carbon footprint, then this lets you do your bit in creating an eco-friendly laboratory. The biggest trade-off here would be on the price front. However, this should not put you off if you consider the benefits that it offers.
- Using glassware and avoiding plastic
Plastics are used a lot in the laboratory. If you wish to go eco-friendly, you may want to replace plastic with traditional glass equipment. Plastics are affordable and durable. But considering the harm they do to the environment, many labs today are switching back to glass equipment.
- Share the ULT freezer.
If you need to use an ultra-low temperature freezer for your daily operation, then this is a big investment for your lab. Instead of buying one, you can also share the ULT freezer. It can reduce energy wastage. There will be a need for only one power source and it will use less energy.
- Buy a mop
Lab research means loads of spills. This is unavoidable. If you use paper towels to clean off the spills, then it is time to switch to mops and reusable rags. These play a vital role in reducing the carbon footprint significantly.
- Save on energy
Simple ways of saving energy in your lab could be by switching off your computer when not in use. The same holds true for the other equipment in your laboratory too. If you are not going to use the equipment, then it is best to shut it off so that you save on energy. Also, switch to an LED lighting in the lab. Turn off the light in the lab when not in use.
- Save water
Saving water is crucial if you wish to make an eco-friendly lab. Recycling water should be taken seriously. Use an aerator that reduces the water rate. Check to see that there are no dripping or leaking faucets. You may want to install a timer on those systems that need large quantities of water. You may also consider a vacuum pump instead of using the vacuum aspirator.
- Get in touch with a compost company.
Composting is a smart way to keep your lab eco-friendly. The compost company picks up the waste from your lab. The compost company will use the compost to enrich the soil which can, in turn, be used by your lab too.
Making your lab eco-friendly can be a real challenge. The nature of the work is such that it needs highly energy-intensive equipment. It may not be possible to turn off the equipment often. It may also not be possible to recycle the plastic that is put for single-use because it may contain some hazardous chemicals. Most of the power output of the appliances used in the lab cannot be switched off. It, in turn, creates significant wastage.
Even though there are challenges, there are still ways to make your lab eco-friendly and a sustainable place to work. Listed above are some simple changes that can be implemented. It is worth glancing through the steps above and incorporating them if you are keen on developing an eco-friendly lab.