Every sector has a part to play in reducing carbon footprint and impact on the environment. But how can laboratories take this approach when the industry produces higher emissions than the automotive industry. Plus, with the healthcare sector contributing around 4.4% of global gas emissions – it can present challenges.

The key here is taking the first steps and making changes. So, how can labs be more sustainable? Find out more below:

Reduce energy consumption
Traditionally labs use a lot of energy compared to other spaces. With equipment like ultra-low temperature freezers running through the night and specialised systems using high tech software, it’s not hard to see why. However, lab teams can take steps to reduce overall energy consumption. This includes:

Turning off any equipment when not in use
Use sensor-activated lighting where possible
Clearing out samples no longer required to free up space
Cleaning and maintaining equipment to ensure energy efficiency
Sharing lab space with other departments to save energy and costs
Considering new energy-efficient equipment upgrades
Improve waste management
It comes as no surprise that laboratories produce a lot of waste, the majority plastic. Alongside this, chemical waste is a close second. While there are legal regulations on materials for health and safety reasons, labs can still take steps to manage waste more effectively, such as:

Working with suppliers that offer less packaging and recyclable options
Introducing recycling and waste management schemes in and around the lab
Using glass where possible
Using environmentally friendly chemicals where possible
Recycling old equipment at the end of its useful life
Using new technology to improve productivity
A well-functioning lab environment improves overall productivity and decreases energy consumption. Upgrading technology and systems can help companies achieve this. While digitising a lab requires investment, the long-term benefits in cost savings, productivity and sustainability are worth it.

Maintaining equipment
Modern society has an element of throwaway culture, which also applies in labs. However, a simple way to improve sustainability credentials is to maintain current equipment instead of throwing it out.

Clean and fully functioning tools and equipment offer a better work environment and help save costs. Implementing a maintenance and cleaning schedule is the best way to keep on top of it. Plus, don’t forget to calibrate equipment to ensure accuracy.

Promoting a sustainable lab culture
To achieve any aspect of sustainability in the long term, everyone has to be on board. Change can bring resistance but leading by example will show teams the benefits. It will also encourage everyone to work towards company sustainability goals.