From Green Labs to Green Industry
Worried about the increasing amount of plastic waste being generated? Join my group and lets focus on how we as scientists can create concrete plans to show how to reduce single use plastics.
In the wake of different global crisis, there is a tremendous pressure on scientific labs to perform bio-logical research and topics such as green labs are often put on the backburner. This indirectly creates a new burden on the world, which is the increase of plastic usage. In particular, laboratories perform-ing in vitro work and chemical labs are major contributors to single-use plastic. For instance, a scien-tist produces 1000 kg/ year of single-use plastic, compared to an average person (150 kg/year, source Rachael Relph, My Green Lab). This need not be the case, and there are several ways in which labs can be greener without sacrificing quality. The recent shortage of cell culture consumables (especially plastics) forced everyone to rethink their experiments and use material cautiously, highlighting that this is indeed possible.
This project at the Lindau Sciathon proposes different methods to make scien-tists think greener and scores to grade the “greenness“ of a lab. This can be weighted against the production output from a lab. One method to do this will be by using impact chain models, and other ideas from participants are strongly encouraged. The goal of this group will be to generate a set of criteria for this evaluation, which can later be converted into an “green lab calculator“ or an app. I think as scientists we need to show that we practice what we preach and also contribute to leaving behind a world for future scientists that is better than the one we had ourselves.
Image courtesy of Yashoda Chandorkar
Yashoda Chandorkar, Lindau Alumna 2021
Empa Swiss Federal Institute for Material Science and Technology, Switzerland