The best way to impact waste is to reduce its production from the start. Here are some tips to reduce you lab's contribution to the landfill:
- Once upon a time scientists used glassware instead of plasticware. Consider using glass whenever possible.
- Consolidate orders, and order what you need (bulk purchases are only a good deal if you need that much). If you only need a small amount, consider asking for a sample instead.
- Purchase from vendors that have sought to reduce their packaging. Many vendors have made conscious decisions to use smaller boxes and less (or no) styrofoam in their containers. For example, Thermo has recently released a cardboard box alternative to their EPS coolers.
- Purchase items that have long lifetimes, or that eliminate waste streams. For example, a waste stream of mercury bulbs can be eliminated by purchasing solid state lighting instead; the waste stream associated with photo processing (the developer, the film, etc) can be eliminated by using a digital system.