Roosevelt University’s Green Laboratory Initiative demonstrates how a laboratory renovation can make a difference in just a few years.
The goal was to reduce laboratory disposable waste, generate less chemical waste, use fewer harmful reagents, save money on chemicals, and upgrade equipment to more energy efficient models where possible. The University found ways to incorporate environmentally sustainable products for use in the lab and has accomplished the following:
- Converted to Millipore water purification systems (figure 1) rather than distillation systems for the production of deionized laboratory-grade water. Distillation systems require large amounts of strong acids to clean, are wasteful of water, and require many hours of maintenance per week. John added Millipore systems which use no harmful chemicals in cleaning and are more energy and water efficient.
- Purchased a MARS microwave system (figure 2) for chemical reactions, which allows the chemistry program to develop educational experiments that are more eco-friendly. Fewer reagents and harmful solvents are needed with such a system, which reduces chemical waste produced by Roosevelt University.
- Enrolled in an Echo program for the recycling of maintenance consumables.
- Upgraded to biodegradable gloves for use in the biology labs.
- Began a program to recycle nitrile gloves required for use in chemistry labs through RightCycle.
- Replaced old refrigerators and freezers used for chemical and reagent storage with new energy efficient models • Replaced flammable cabinets with newer models that are more tightly sealed, which reduces the amount of chemical vapors released into the air. Vapors are trapped in the cabinet and absorbed by activated carbon absorbents.
- Purchased new spill trays for the cabinets are made from 100% recycled polyethylene.
- Purchased new absorbent pads for spill kits (figure 3) which are LEED certified and made from recycled plastic bottles.
Millpore Water Purification System
MARS Microwave System
LEED certified absorbent pads