Why Aren’t Academic Sustainable Lab Programs Gaining More Traction?

Read the full story in Lab Manager.

Scientific research can have an enormous carbon footprint. Ecologists at the University of Exeter estimated in 2015 that research labs worldwide produce around 5.5 million metric tons of plastic waste per year, twice the total amount of plastic recycled in the United States in 2017, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. According to the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings initiative, laboratories can account for up to 70 percent of a campus’s energy footprint. As concerns about human impacts on the environment become increasingly urgent, many universities are starting programs to help labs become more sustainable—but achieving widespread participation is no easy feat.

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