Reducing plastic waste in the lab: saving the planet–and money

Most plastic waste produced in laboratories is not recycled, but is discarded on landfills or incinerated. Such waste not only harms the planet, but also lab efficiency and costs. In a recent article published in FEBS Letters, Patrick Penndorf provides practical tips on how to reduce plastic use.
Reducing plastic waste in the lab: saving the planet–and money
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As scientists, we should always be motivated to optimise our experiments, and such optimisation should include determining the minimum amount of time and resources required to reach the expected outcome. Eliminating unnecessary steps and resources also has the additional benefit of saving costs, as well as reducing the amount of waste. 

In an article published in the June issue of FEBS Letters, Patrick Penndorf of the sustainability initiative ReAdvance provides guidance on how to reduce plastic waste in the lab, and provides a concrete example of how plastic can be reduced by 65% by optimising a protocol for the transfection of neurons. 

The basic principles of waste reduction are (i) reduction–eliminating plasticware that is not absolutely necessary, (ii) re-use–identifying instances in which the same item can be re-used without contamination, and (iii) miniaturization–using an item of the smallest size possible. 

For full details on how to reduce plastic waste and ensure that global research efforts remain sustainable, read the full article here.

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