You know that terrible feeling when you’re ordering at a fast-casual restaurant and the person behind the counter throws away his or her plastic gloves after preparing just your one single meal? Then he or she rings you up and puts on an entirely NEW pair of plastic gloves that will soon suffer the same fate? Well, unfortunately, those types of highly unsustainable processes are not limited to the restaurant industry.
Research labs that are responsible for so many scientific breakthroughs that have made our lives better are also responsible for a massive environmental footprint. The impact of research labs extends beyond waste; lab buildings consume more energy than any other market segment after data centers.
In 2014, labs around the world threw away over 12 billion pounds of plastic. This is equivalent to over 80% of all the plastic recycled that year. Additional waste streams, such as gloves and hazardous chemicals, are also significant.
But labs don’t have to look like this. And if they didn’t, less grant money would go to paying utility bills and more money would go toward actual research. My Green Lab was initially founded to solve this problem by waste diversion.
My Green Lab
Los Gatos, California
Founded in 2013
My Green Lab is working to build a culture of sustainability through science. The company helps scientists reduce the environmental impact of their work, and sets sustainability standards for scientific equipment and supplies.
Unsustainable Status Quo
Scientists simply have other priorities before sustainability, and sustainability professionals are uncomfortable speaking to scientists. As a result, very little is done to improve sustainability in labs, and even less is done to engage scientists around best practices.
My Green Lab has developed a Green Lab Certification tool that can be used by scientists and sustainability professionals to reduce the environmental impact of labs, thereby helping to bridge the gap between science and sustainability.
The company also works with the EPA and ENERGY STAR to develop standards for laboratory equipment. This includes an eco-label for all lab products that provides transparency around sustainability metrics such as energy consumption, water use, packaging, transportation, and manufacturing.
Envisioning a Clean Future
The company envisions a world in which all labs adhere to the principles of sustainability and are not only minimizing their environmental impact but also maximizing their funding. Volunteers and donations are the best way to accelerate My Green Lab’s progress.
Act on Climate
Are you using a Keurig machine for your caffeine needs at work or at home? Be sure to order the recyclable pods now available. Or if you prefer using a Nespresso because it tastes better, and that’s a fact, definitely ask for the recycling bag that the company offers so that you get caffeinated responsibly.
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