According to ESBE Scientific 4,000,000 lbs of pipette tip racks go to the landfill every year. Undoubtedly the work produced using these tips is necessary, but is this costly, polluting waste stream necessary?
Sometimes your research institution isn't set up to support laboratory plastic recycling. It's not always possible given that the availability of recycling services is location dependent. However paper recycling is almost universally available.
I came across this youtube video about a company called Sorenson BioScience Inc that has designed a pipette tip system for this situation. This nifty "OneTouch tips" system is available in paperboard racks. The racks are easy to recycle in paper streams. The paperboard racks can fold flat for storage and are lighter than plastic - resulting in lower shipping costs.
If you know of other systems using paper racks, let us know! Thanks for being labconscious!