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Lab Waste (film)

Lab Waste is a video I made in 2008. It was featured on WorldChanging and the Creative Commons site, and screened in New York City at the Imagine Science Film Festival 2009.

Lab Waste from Eva Amsen on Vimeo.

Lab Waste

We’ve all been told to reduce, reuse, and recycle when it comes to our households. But in the lab, unless there is an underlying monetary issue, this rarely comes into play. In cell biology or molecular biology labs the emphasis is on working sterile, quickly and reproducibly. And there are tools for this: sterile plastic tubes of all shapes and sizes, single wrap multi-well tissue culture plates, sterile plastic dishes, sterile pipettes. All these products make it a lot easier to do the required work. I can’t even imagine how you could work in a cell culture lab without them, but they do create a lot of waste.

I made this video as a creative outlet and to try and raise some awareness of all the disposables in the lab, and give a few minor suggestions on how to reduce the pile of trash by a tiny amount. Every bit helps, right?


Inspired by a decade of throwing out single-use plastics in labs, by a lifetime of being told to “reduce, reuse, recycle”, by Chris Jordan’s consumerism-themed photography, and by the documentaries Garbage Island, Garbage! The Revolution Starts at Home, andManufactured Landscapes – all of which I watched right before starting this video project.


The following sound and music files were used according to their respective creative commons licenses.

Intro and outro garbage truck – Corsica S.
Middle garbage truck – snowdome
String track from “Trust” – audiotechnica
“Time to Take Out the Trash” vocal track and full version – Brad Sucks

Photos from the following Flickr users were used according to their respective licenses. (For photos under an “Attribution – Share Alike” license the photographers gave permission for their image(s) to be included in this video under the slightly stricter “Attribution – Noncommercial – Share Alike” license.)

alist (2)
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Creative Commons license

You are free to redistribute or remix this video as long as you credit me, don’t make money from it, and keep it under this same license:

Creative Commons License
Lab Waste by Eva Amsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.