Tackling the unlimited piles of plastic waste is not the only way in which scientists can green-up their laboratories; shut down lab equipment at night to save energy, buy materials in bulk to reduce packaging and transportation, choose low energy-consuming algorithms for computational work, bring your own coffee mug, travel to conferences by train…and so on. But where to start?
We suggest finding a group of enthusiastic colleagues and form a green team to brainstorm, create awareness and act. So did Hannah Johnson and Florijn Dekkers from the DREAM3D lab at the Princess Máxima Center for pediatric oncology. Hannah explains: ‘It felt wrong to separate waste in your personal life, but at the same time generate loads of plastic waste in the lab that is not being recycled. The recently established green team of the Princess Máxima Center now forms a strong base to change this and start making impact.’ Green actions evolve around the R’s of sustainability; Refuse, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Can I refuse using plastic bottles by glass alternatives? Can I reduce plastic use by changing my experimental setup? Can I wash and reuse my empty medium bottles for preparing a different solution? Can I recycle plastic lab waste and use it for a different purpose?