Rheaply: A Platform for Recycling Laboratory Supplies

Garry Cooper, Rheaply, Inc.

Scientific research faces a potentially permanent new norm: producing a lot more with a lot less. The pressure to pioneer exciting new therapies, create innovative technologies, and imagine brave scientific theories comes at the height of a twofold problem: (1) growing costs to conduct high-impacting scientific research and (2) unreliable government-sponsored resources allocated to conduct such research. Further, these problems present at a time when publication requirements, experimental vigor, and competition is at an all-time high. Thus, a continued question and frequent concern that researchers have to address is how to stay novel, productive, and on the frontier of science while traversing a more costly and competitive landscape. And doing so, with less abundant and reliable government-sponsored funding and resources.

At the same time, conducting more eco-friendly and sustainable research is of utmost importance for our environment. Indeed, scientists should be at the forefront in finding sustainable ways to turn important research into groundbreaking innovation. And to date, approaches to curb the waste generated in daily experiments have fallen short of making a significant change in the problem. Rheaply and Northwestern saw these collective of problems as an opportunity to both help reduce the cost of doing research and further connect researchers all while making all research more sustainable.

Several months ago, we conducted an experiment in partnership with Northwestern University where we introduced our platform Rheaply to all university researchers. Rheaply is a novel, web-based platform wherein surplus scientific supplies and knowledge can be easily listed, viewed, and transferred from researchers who have it to researchers who need it. Adoption of Rheaply's platform at Northwestern (and beyond) will lead to experiments being done cheaper, faster, and more sustainably. Here, we report the results from our pilot at Northwestern, and urge the adoption of Rheaply (or similar system) at every major research organization aiming to reduce experimental overhead, increase collaboration, and reduce the amount of unnecessary laboratory waste.

Learning Objectives

  • Realize the potential savings inherent in recycling/reusing surplus laboratory products.
  • Reduce the amount of hazardous waste generated by surplus scientific supplies.
  • Identify ways to more easily connect with potential collaborators.
  • Understand the current issues facing scientific research funding and sustainability.


Dr. Garry Cooper is the CEO and co-founder of Rheaply, Inc. Rheaply, Inc is a Chicago-based startup focused on making scientific research cheaper and faster by connecting researchers to share resources and knowledge. Before founding Rheaply, Inc., Dr. Cooper was a senior consultant in the life sciences advisory practice at Ernst & Young. Before consulting, Dr. Cooper was completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Northwestern University, where he also completed his doctoral studies in Neuroscience.


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