Re-use of labware reduces CO2 equivalent footprint and running costs in laboratories [article]

Martin Farley, Benoit P Nicolet
2022 bioRxiv   pre-print
Laboratory-based research is resource intensive in terms of financial costs and carbon footprint. Research laboratories require immense amounts of energy to power equipment and material, particularly of single-use item consumption. Reliance on single-use plastics within laboratories. Understanding the full carbon footprint of consumable usage is increasingly important as many research institutes commit to carbon neutrality. To date, no carbon footprint assessment has been conducted to detail
more » ... differences between single-use plastics, and reusable glass in a laboratory setting. Here, we analyse the CO2 equivalent (CO2e) footprint of utilising single-use plastics, or re-use of glass or plastic items within laboratory environments. We focused our assessment on four commonly utilised single-use items for mammalian cell and bacterial culture, and found that re-use scenarios result in substantial reduction in CO2e footprint up to 11-fold. In addition, we estimated the long-term running costs of re-use and single-use scenarios, and found that re-use had either similar or much lower running costs even when including technical staff wage. We concluded that research facilities must foster re-use in laboratory consumables, while reserving single-use items for select, defined cases. Our study highlights the need to account for indirect CO2e footprint in designing a carbon-neutral lab.
doi:10.1101/2022.01.14.476337 fatcat:iivsifgcwfdczch6cuxgct6ltu