Research laboratories are resource-intensive, consuming far more energy than office buildings, millions of gallons of water, and billions of pounds of plastic each year. Improving the energy and environmental performance of laboratories must involve lab users. From gloves and other safety gear to product samples and packaging, labs send a tremendous amount of waste to landfills. However, smart sourcing of products can greatly reduce the amount of resources wasted by labs. The International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories' (I2SL's) Laboratory Waste Landfill Diversion Working Group is working to break down barriers and share best practices for reducing waste by working with suppliers and manufacturers to rethink the ways they develop and ship lab products.
To enable purchasers to make informed decisions about lab product procurement, I2SL partner My Green Lab has created the ACT (accountability, consistency, transparency) label for manufacturers. "The ACT label makes it possible for scientists and procurement specialists to choose safe, sustainable products by focusing on the impact of making, using, and disposing of a product and its packaging," says My Green Lab Executive Director Allison Paradise.
The ACT label works like an eco-nutrition label, providing a rating on lab product manufacturing, energy and water use, packaging, and end-of-life. The lower the product's score out of 10, the lower the environmental impact. The ACT label is becoming important for identifying sustainable consumables, chemicals, and equipment for lab purchasers across the globe.
ACT-labeled products are independently audited by Sustainability Made Simple and verified by My Green Lab. For manufacturers, the ACT Label currently recognizes organizations as leaders in making sustainability a core value in their business. A number of companies have started labeling their products in an effort to increase transparency and assist customers in making smart choices about their purchases. Manufacturers recognized for Sustainable Procurement Leadership at the I2SL Annual Conference in 2018 include:
- Thermo Scientific
I2SL joins My Green Lab in thanking these companies for getting in on the ACT to reduce lab landfill waste and reduce resource use. Stay tuned to learn more about ACTivism on the part of purchasing institutions!