Clinical and research laboratories consume massive amounts of energy and generate a lot of waste. Lab directors can reduce the inefficient use of resources with changes in the lab’s operations and supplies. Follow these simple tips for a more sustainable laboratory.

1. Cut Unnecessary Energy Use

Just like in residential and other commercial settings, cutting unnecessary energy usage is an effective way to increase your lab’s sustainability. In fact, much of the important equipment in your lab can be powered down for the night when not in use.

Decrease your freezers’ energy use by checking rubber seals and replacing them as needed. And defrosting your lab freezers helps your facility save energy, extends freezer lifespan, and limits unsafe temperature fluctuations.

2. Maintain and Dispose of Equipment Responsibly

The next simple tip for a more sustainable laboratory is to maintain your equipment and then dispose of it responsibly. When you regularly clean and maintain your equipment, you create a safe work environment and make the most of your investment. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for each device, and keep all items clean and free from dirt and debris.

Calibrate equipment and have your on-site team or a third party perform repairs as needed. Once your equipment has reached the end of its lifespan, see if you can sell it to a company that can refurbish it or recycle it for you. If you’re replacing equipment that still functions, consider donating it. This will allow the equipment to be used to its full potential, and labs in need will appreciate having it.

3. Improve Waste Management

In most labs, the number one type of waste is plastic; you can limit plastic waste by switching from plastic to glass when possible. Also, request that suppliers ship products to you with more eco-friendly packaging.

Encourage your staff to recycle by placing clearly labeled recycling bins in convenient locations. And as with any process you want to implement in your lab, be sure to explain your sustainability objectives to staff and train them on best practices.