The world is changing, and so are our habits. As we progress toward a more sustainable future, every industry should adopt new practices. In particular, laboratories can introduce better habits because the industry is known for power consumption, disposal of hazardous chemicals, and unsustainable processes. Fortunately, there are ways laboratories can be more eco-friendly without compromising workflow.
One of the simplest ways for labs to reduce their carbon footprints is to digitize as much of their work as possible. With cloud computing and digital tools, labs can eliminate the need for excessive printing, reduce paper waste, and save energy spent on running multiple machines. Going digital also helps in tracking and sharing data more efficiently, cutting down on travel and the associated carbon emissions.
Implement Energy-Saving Practices
Another way laboratories can be more eco-friendly is by adopting energy-saving practices that decrease their carbon footprints and energy bills. Simple methods include using energy-efficient lighting systems, optimizing heating and cooling systems, and ensuring proper equipment maintenance. Labs can also consider renewable energy sources, like solar power, to fuel their equipment.
Adopt Green -Certified Lab Equipment
Laboratory equipment manufacturers produce green-certified devices in response to the growing demand for sustainable products. These devices are energy-efficient, minimize waste, and comply with eco-friendly standards. Green-certified refrigerators, freezers, and fume hoods can assist laboratories in reducing energy consumption and emissions.
Invest in Water Reuse Strategies
Water consumption in laboratories is a significant concern due to its environmental impact. To mitigate this, implementing strategies to reduce water usage and promote reuse is crucial. Here are some suggestions:
- Install rainwater collection systems: Setting up underground water tanks to collect and treat rainwater can provide a sustainable alternative for nonpotable water needs. This helps minimize the reliance on freshwater sources and reduces water consumption.
- Implement wastewater recycling systems: By implementing wastewater recycling systems, laboratories can treat and reuse water. This reduces water consumption and minimizes the volume of wastewater.
- Optimize equipment and processes: Upgrading water-efficient devices, adjusting flow rates, and implementing timers can help reduce water usage without compromising research requirements.
Reduce Chemical Waste
Laboratories generate a lot of chemical waste that’s toxic to the environment and human health. However, labs can embrace solvent recycling or other green alternatives. Solvent recycling can improve a lab’s processes by reducing waste generation. Instead of throwing out reusable chemicals, labs can clean and reclaim them.
Other green alternatives include biodegradable chemicals that reduce environmental impact and are safer to handle. The chemicals also promote a healthier work environment.