Tips and tricks we're trying to improve lab sustainability
Compost bins for non-transgenic plant waste!
A lot of the plants we grow in the lab are transgenic and their reproductive parts (flowers, seeds, etc.) must be disposed of as biohazardous waste. However, non-transgenic plants can enter traditional waste streams. To make sure all of that fantastic organic material stays out of landfills, we've started composting our non-transgenic plants and soil. With a little help from Stanford Zero Waste, we got two small compost bins to collect non-transgenic plants and soil. If your lab generates a significant amount of non-hazardous organic materials, consider adding a compost bin to the lab. So far, we love it!
One of my favorite pieces of equipment in the lab is an Eppendorf 2510 electroporator. These workhorse machines last forever and we got ours from eBay for <$400. Though it can be scary to buy second hand equipment online, it's typically inexpensive and worth a gamble. We've already picked up bottles, tube racks, and ice buckets second hand - shout out to Stanford Lab Grab! Now, we're souring these national auction sites for more second hand equipment:
Pot wash and re-use
The development of cheap plastic pots has made it easier than ever to grow research plants in single use pots. To cut down on single use plastics in the lab, we purchased sturdy growth vessels that we can easily wash and reuse. With some help from Stanford's Facilities & Planning Director, we set up a sink with a soil trap and high pressure sprayer for washing dirty pots.