When making efforts to reduce your research’s overall footprint, monitoring what is coming into the lab can be just as important as to what leaves the lab and how.
The whole life cycle of the equipment or consumables should be considered. Consider the materials used in production, the sustainable efforts in the factories where items are made, transport of the items, impact of item while in use but also very importantly, the end life of the item.
• Purchase from companies who make a clear effort to address sustainability in their products
• Look and ask for for take-back and recycling schemes from companies to reduce packaging and waste
• Use core facilities where possible to avoid buying equipment for a small amount of groups
• Use in house supply facilities to reduce transport emissions
• Collaborate with other groups/departments for bulk purchasing to reduce transport emissions
• Ensure equipment has good maintenance and service contracts to avoid breakdowns and waste
• Work with equipment repair companies/workshops
• Offer still functional equipment being thrown out to another lab or institute for a second life
Practical guides and documents
• Green Lab Consumables Guide 2021 – UCL
• Top 10 purchasing tips for a greener lab – Harvard Uni
• Resources and databases – LEAN UK