New UChicago Green Labs Web Site and Glove Recycling

The Kimberly-Clark glove recycling program is off and running!

In my last blog post, (  I discussed how I set up the program. The pricing has been finalized and labs have begun purchasing KC gloves to recycle them! The pricing deals actually turned out to be very economical, especially for the quality of the gloves produced by KC. The deals include “buy 4 cases, get one free”, “buy 1 case get a $10 gift card” and “buy 1 case and get 2 boxes free”. My lab manager and I looked into the first promotion: the thinner gloves with this deal cost about 6 cents each, which is cheaper than what we were previously purchasing. I am optimistic that this price will be cheaper, or about the same as the other options labs are using on campus.

Right now, the collection boxes are only in a few locations in one building. Ideally, collection boxes, which are the size of medium sized trashcans, should be placed in at least every building, maybe even more frequently. The issue is that this requires somebody to bring the bins to the central collection center once full. It would be wonderful if the custodial staff could help out with this, but so far we have seen a lot of red tape. These staff members are unionized and the initial reaction to this idea is that adding a duty to their job description is not allowed. I am currently looking to speak more closely with Facilities management for the Biological Sciences to see how we can work out a system to collect these bins. I have the feeling this will be difficult, but it is necessary to expand so that a large portion of labs is recycling their gloves.

Once enough gloves are collected, the boxes are bundled together to be shipped to the recycling location, to be turned into durable products. This will cost money, but I am working with a few other offices on campus to get enough to send these gloves to the facility. 

On a separate note, I have found that a website for GreenLabs would be very helpful for 1) dispersing information 2) making communications with my certified labs easier and 3) applying for funds. I am happy to announce the UChicago GreenLabs website! Most of the projects on the website I have written about here, which made writing the articles easier, although I obviously do not discuss all of the process I've gone through on my website. I'll save that for the labconcious blog to help others who would like to start their own Green Labs program!

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