I’m making a little video about lab waste. The whole thing will be thrown online under a Creative Commons license when it’s done, and right now I’m also using about 75% CC material (photos or sound) from various places online (Flickr, ccMixter) and making sure that either the Creative Commons license fits with what I want to release it under, or that the owner of the material gives me explicit permission.
So it’s definitely not all my material – it’s a collective effort by all these people, and I’m just throwing it together.
The first part is a series of photos, and for the last part I want to offer some suggestions on how to reduce lab waste. This is where you come in!
If you have any tips on reducing lab waste that you want to share with others, leave me a comment here and I’ll add it to the list! You will be credited in a collective list at the end of the video (so not at your suggestion itself) by what it says on your Nature Network profile, unless you tell me otherwise.
My own suggestions so far are (badly written for now and) below the fold.
-Use tubes of the appropriate volume. I love the big 50 ml tubes, and I often prepare 10 ml medium with supplements in them, even though that fits just as easily in a 15 ml tube. Smaller tubes take up slightly less space and contain slightly less material in the end.
-Don’t use single wrapped pipettes. The pipettes that are packaged per 20 (?) are also sterile and stay sterile as long as you reclose the bag or leave it in the sterile hood.
-Don’t use the plastic eyelets to streak bacteria. The metal ones can be used over and over for years.
-Wash and reuse pipettes that don’t need to be sterile. Some pipette washers use a lot of water, but others are stationery.
-Recycle paper packaging, like glove boxes. Don’t put them in the bags with biological waste, because they’re not.
-It’s tempting to use 50 ml tubes to prepare any small amount of buffers, but these often don’t need to be sterile and can be made in small glass beakers.
-Use weighing papers instead of plastic weighing boats for smaller amounts.
-re-use cardboard boxes and other packing material (the boxes that 9″ glass pipettes come in make *great* boxes for mailing packages or dividing drawer space.)
-check if your facility reuses styrofoam packing materials or boxes.