Reducing Lab Waste at the LMS

2023 '#LabWasteDay'

 11 October 2023   uncategorised

By Julia Needham & Nicola Rodricks

This year LMS took part in the annual global social media campaign ‘#LabWasteDay’; a day set up to recognise just how much plastic waste and packaging we as scientists and researchers consume and discard of on a daily basis. It’s estimated that 2% of the total plastic waste generated each year comes from scientific research, so reducing, reusing and recycling is just as important in the lab as at home! 

We were lucky enough to have some guest speakers visit us at the LMS to highlight the different sustainable changes that can be made in the lab. In particular, they focused on green packaging initiatives for all our deliveries, the importance of separating our waste properly and where possible and how we can reduce packaging and soft plastics in the labs. 

Our NEB rep Anne-Marie kindly spent the day at LMS holding an exhibition on the range of environmentally friendly packaging and enzymes they stock. Did you know we have a freezer onsite storing commonly used enzymes so that these can be bulk ordered for the institute and saving individual shipping? We also make use of the NEB polystyrene boxes and ice pack recycling schemes which can be sent back to be reused in other deliveries rather than going to landfill. It was great to see so many of you pop by learn and update the catalogue. 

The current contents can be found via the link below: 

The other big topic of the day was how to make sure as much of our waste gets recycled as possible. Grundon manage the waste disposable for the Hammersmith Hospital Campus, so we were delighted that Becky Lillywhite, a clinical waste specialist from Grundon could visit. She discussed the importance of separating our waste properly both in and outside the lab. 

To note a few of the amazing insights learnt; all our mixed recycling bags are hand opened and checked for contamination before being recycled, so if it’s not all clean the whole bag will be ruled as contaminated and sent to landfill. That’s why we are implementing new signs around our building to make it easier than ever to get the recycling right. We also learned that almost all of the waste we send to Grundon is converted to energy. The Grundon Waste facility processes over 480,000 tons of waste every year creating enough electricity for around 50,000 homes. 

Thank you to our speakers and all who came to learn and participate in the day’s events! 

As always, if you have any questions or suggestions contact Nicola, our Sustainability Officer (Rodricks, Nicola ) or come along to our monthly Greening meetings to get involved.