Green Lab Build, Week 7

With the pilot program about a month away, I am delegating specific projects to my group members. This has proved to be somewhat challenging. The two major projects are: creating a comprehensive online document for the participating laboratories and improving recycling.

The sustainable laboratory guide will contain guidelines and resources regarding how to decrease a laboratory’s carbon footprint. Four of the GreenLabs committee members are working on the document. Two of these individuals are biosafety and chemical safety professionals. It is important that all recommendations will maintain scientific integrity and are in line with biosafety protocols. The biosafety professionals’ expertise has proven to be insightful and important for many of the topics covered in the guide. However, encouraging everyone to spend time editing the document has been a little difficult, including myself. Everyone is very busy and has not had time to sit down research and compose proper explanations. I am unsure what strategies to take. I purposely set the first deadline early so that we could run over the allotted time and have sent reminder emails. I believe the best approach will be leading by example. Now that my work deadlines have passed, I will begin editing the document and sending out emails to the group to let them know what I have done so they can work on the other sections. I am hopeful that this approach will succeed.

While I am content to work extensively on the informational packet, I was hoping to delegate the recycling projects and be minimally involved. However, the rate of progress has been a little slow. Determining which company should be contacted to improve recycling has been challenging and disheartening. While the University uses a local Waste Management facility, it is not obvious whom to contact and the summer is the most difficult time to get in contact. We are also looking into any recycling programs employed by the hospital as they have similar needs for recycling.   

Additionally, although Kimberly-Clark has a glove-recycling program, the program only accepts K-C nitrile gloves, which is limiting as most laboratories use non-K-C gloves. Of the laboratories I surveyed, very few use the same gloves. Ideally, a glove-recycling program would serve entire departments or buildings. It is unreasonable to ask all labs to switch to one glove provider, so we need to find a more flexible glove recycling solution, which has proven difficult. We hope to work with a recycling company that accepts all nitriles, but we have yet to find a valid option. 

Hopefully in the coming weeks I will be able to resolve some of these issues- I will keep you posted!