Hello! If you’re reading this, you’re here at the beginning. This is Labconscious: a community of researchers across academia and industry that want to make a better world by making better labs. It’s time to start the conversation – as researchers, we’re constantly trying to understand the world around us, but while we’re focused on the pursuit of knowledge and beneficial applications, there is a hard truth that needs to be addressed: we generate a tremendous amount of waste, and we can do better.
I find myself in a unique paradox – at home, I recycle, compost, and shop local and organic as much as possible. Contrast that to the lab, where I (and I’m sure you too) shop from the science-equivalents of Wal-mart, buying primarily single-use virgin-material tools. I’m forced to discard [nearly] everything into a waste stream. Of course, I understand that many of these actions have been developed over time to promote and adhere to safety standards and best practices – but maybe it’s time to review just what type of impact these practices are having on our world, and figure out a better way.
I do not have the answers. But I do know that I can’t sit back and watch box after box of plastics head off to the incinerator. There are countless points in our daily activities where we can capture reusables and either recycle or reuse them. There are so many little changes that we can make in our labs to have a big impact. We [Humans] inevitably contribute to global warming; we [Scientists] can collectively work to minimize research’s contribution.
My hope is that this is the start of a community that can make change happen together. It can be as simple as tagging photos for Instagram, Tweeting interesting articles, sharing stories on Facebook, or even writing content/protocols on how to create green programs at the bench or institutional level. We need all the help we can get!