Good lab practices to reduce environmental impact

Together with researchers, we look for ways to reduce disposable plastics, reduce volumes, consume less reagents and energy during lab work. On the website My Green Lab you find a lot of good practices about waste, water, energy and green chemistry.

Generic practices with reduced environmental impact

  • PCR analyse
  • Use of ultrafreezers
  • Warm up differently: choose the most sustainable heat source. Bunsen burners use gas on an open flame. It is modular and works faster, but is unsafe and you work with a fossil fuel. An oil bath is no longer preferable either. It allows better temperature control, but can cause spills. So choose safer and more sustainable electrical heat sources, such as electric Bunsen burners, heating blocks, ovens or dryers. Ghent University provides green energy.
  • Scale reduction: carry out the test on a smaller scale. For example, less lab products and energy are needed and you produce less waste. With snap cap vials, filter cartridges, ... this is now possible.

Reduction of packaging waste

  • Packing chips in deliveries by ChemLab: Ghent University has a contract with ChemLab for the purchase of chemicals. It was agreed that isomo chips, necessary to secure dangerous substances during transport, can be collected in a large bag. When this bag is full, this can be reported to the internal sales department of ChemLab, who will issue a return slip and inform you when the bag will be picked up.
  • Cooling elements: Block-shaped cooling elements can be offered in limited quantity to the thrift store (mail to milieu@ugent.be). Bags with coolant can be used for medical applications. If reuse is not possible, the harmless coolant can be poured into the sink and the empty bags can be collected with the 'plastics'.

Student practice lessons with reduced environmental impact

  • Teamwork is often necessary as a cost-saving measure for large groups (less space and personnel required). You can work with the 'captain system': 1 test is done by 4 students, each time a different student is responsible.

Interesting links