Room 3 – Single Use Plastics

Single Use Plastics

Plastic lab items such as pipette tips are used everyday by scientists across the world.

Pipette tips are used to accurately add the correct amount of a solution or material to the experiments, which is often important even down to such a small amount as a microlitre! (1 ml = 1000 microliters).

In general, pipette tips are single use and go straight into biohazard waste after 1 use.

The tips are also housed in plastic boxes and many labs will have hundreds of tip boxes being used and disposed of every day.

What we can do

Most tip boxes do not come into contact with cells or chemicals so we can make sure that these do not go into biohazard bins, but into recycling.

Labs can buy the individual tips and refill the plastic tip boxes. By using heat sterilisation you can make sure the boxes and tips are safe for further lab use when sterile items are needed. This greatly reduces the amount of plastic being produced, thrown out or put into recycling.

Some companies have even built machines or adapters to wash the tips! Labs could use such a piece of equipment to reuse the same tips by washing and sterilising them. Reducing the amount of plastic that needs to be produced and purchased.