What is Upcycling?
The short answer: Intellectual fun!
Technically, upcyling is an activity that prevents waste by diverting material into the creating something new and useful. Cardboard material happens to have some excellent qualities for upcycling. You can find many examples online of it being used to create objects for organization. In a laboratory space, this can be as simple as making a useful freezer storage organizer. Outside the science lab, upcycling found objects has a long history in the fine arts. It's easy to cut, layer, decoupage, or collage cardboard with other materials. Cardboard can be used artistically in sculptures, or crafted into photo frames, jewelry, or even light fixtures! Upcycling is so brilliant because it intersects science and engineering with arts and crafts. It's inventive, intellectual fun!
What is a Monarch Nucleic Purification kit?
Basically these kits are molecular biology tools. New England Biolabs Monarch® Nucleic Acid Purification Kits are used to purify DNA into highly concentrated, small volumes. The kits are for plasmid miniprep, gel extraction and PCR cleanup. One of the goals of green lab initiatives is to reduce lab waste. Monarch® kits from NEB were created to have maximal performance AND minimal environmental impact. Their design uses minimal plastic. Not only is Monarch kit packaging made from 100% post-consumer material, but it has also been thoughtfully designed to be reusable.
What is the Monarch Upcycle Challenge? Visit www.neb.com/MonarchUpcycle to win $1000 in credit!
Before May 31, 2017:
1. Find a new use for your Monarch kit packaging
2. Take a photo or video
All submissions will be reviewed by a panel of NEB employees. One winner will be selected to receive either $1,000 in NEB product credit or a $1,000 donation to the charity of their choice. Also, for every submission**, NEB will donate $10 to the Monarch Joint Venture whose mission is to conserve the monarch butterfly population.
Personally, I think that a wing from the NEB Monarch buttlerfly could make a really fun necklace or bag charm. The whole Monarch kit box would fit well into a block tower castle...made by some of the creative children of scientists out there. Good luck and have fun!
Life sciences laboratories are another area in which plastic waste can be reduced. Approximately 5.5 million tons of plastic waste are produced every year in life sciences laboratories alone, including items like pipette tips, nitrile gloves and cell culture flasks. In the age of global waste pollution and the ubiquity of plastic in the world around us, this is definitely too much. It can’t all be changed, but improvements are possible in some areas.
To get to the stage at VERGE, Rheaply is depending on scientific community members (like YOU) to vote by August 30th. This would not only be an opportunity for Rheaply’s platform to be seen by many. It’s a big opportunity to promote awareness of the millions of tons of surplus and equipment that could be shared by scientists across the country.
Molecular biology grad student Samantha Romanick brings environmental stewardship to campuses by advancing re-fill and re-use options for all. Read her interview and watch her talk to learn more!
Scientists who incorporate lab sustainability into the culture of life science are doing the right thing for their communities. The Boston area is the proud home to an extraordinarily high number of biologists, pushing the frontiers of science. In a sense it’s quite the contrast, The city is now nearly 400 years old! But, let’s just say that historical construction planners for greater Boston did not foresee supporting so many labs.
14467028 - nightime view of cambridge, massachusetts
Northwestern University has an ace in the hole when it comes to making good use of lab surplus. Labs at the world-renowned Fineberg Shool of Medicine are now connected via a cloud-based resource-sharing technology, called Rheaply. Rheaply combines the ease of use of social media ease with the marketplace functionality of an ebay. No barcode labels necessary!
First off, people were fired up during the panel discussion. It was terrific. The audience and panelists critically examined typical lab practices and the effectiveness of ways to reduce waste. This is a great podcast to listen to over lunch. You can also read the full transcript of the green symposium podcast on the New England Biolabs web site, which includes helpful links to the resources mentioned.
Labs worldwide are faced with new challenges for recycling and waste reduction! View these expert talks, and read about their solutions for reducing laboratory waste. Over 50 Boston area life scientists attended the Go Green Symposium to get the latest information on laboratory sustainability.
Today’s blog is about (truly) bio-degradable Nodax™ PHA plastic, produced by the biotech company Danimer Scientific. Nodax™ PHA was invented some time ago, but its commercialization has just been ignited by food industry investments. Expect this bioplastic to spread like wildfire.
As the U.S. recycling industry undergoes a transformation, life scientists are looking for trustworthy, local recyclers to meet the challenge of processing lab plastic. Recycling systems work when they are convenient and space efficient. Boston area lab facilities have a new service option that does just that!
It’s no secret that scientific inquiry is dependent on funding. Advances in biomedical research contribute to human health, and are of inestimable value! At the same time, biomedical research is not an inexpensive endeavor. The competition for science funding is fiercer than ever. With green lab initiatives and BETR grants, scientists can boost the impact of their grant dollars, while maximizing their chances to receive awards.