Printing Our Own Lab Equipment
A recent big success of the DREAM3D lab was the start of a lab waste recycle project supported by the Princess Máxima Center. Maj Buchholz (project creator) explains: “We use 3D printers to customize lab materials that are often expensive or commercially unavailable. We are now able to make plastic print filaments from plastic lab waste. The colorful tip inlets used throughout our exhibition ‘The Paradox of Science’ are the perfect type of plastic for this purpose. By using fish wire instead of glue, we made sure that most of the plastic waste from the exhibition can be recycled into useful lab equipment.”
The freezer challenge
Did you know that the ultra-low temperature freezers, present in high numbers in research institutes, can consume as much energy as an entire average household? Just imagine the amount of energy it costs to store the RNA used in COVID-19 vaccines all over the world. Therefore, an increasing trend in green-minded laboratories is to organize a freezer challenge; the team that creates defrosting and dust cleaning schedules, a sample inventory and clean up strategy, smart storage strategy and frees up the most freezer space to make room for new samples, wins. Room for new samples means that ultimately less ultra-low temperature freezers are required, and regular cleaning and defrosting lets the freezers run optimally, thus a big win in energy use. In addition, by turning up the temperature from -80 to -70 degrees energy consumption can be saved by up to 30%, while the quality of the lab samples stored will not be affected. Together, a big reduction in energy use can be achieved by these efforts and that’s why organizing a freezer challenge is a key goal of the Máxima Center green team.