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In science, being green can be challenging and recycling not always possible, or at least not made possible. Large quantities of disposable plasticware for example may head for clinical waste incineration or decontamination and landfill rather than entering the recycling process. Polystyrene is widely used, in the form of packing and insulative boxes, for shipping reagents, equipment and samples and is notoriously challenging for recycling efforts. The production of some reagents can have a significant environmental impact. And then there is the equipment itself which can be incredibly power hungry.
One not-for-profit organization has introduced a vendor neutral environmental impact factor labeling scheme – ACT (accountability, consistency, and transparency) – similar in many ways to the food nutritional labeling scheme we are used to seeing on our supermarket shelves. The aim? To provide information about the environmental impact of manufacturing, using, and disposing of a product and its packaging, making it easier to choose safe, sustainable products in the laboratory.
We spoke to Allison Paradise, founder and until very recently CEO of My Green Lab, about the ACT initiative that they have developed and how it is helping to make the laboratory a greener place to be.