What researchers buy and use in your lab can create a lot of waste, whether it’s the products themselves or packaging for samples. The International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories’ (I2SL’s) Laboratory Waste Landfill Diversion Working Group focuses on minimizing waste by sharing best practices with purchasers. Thoughtful procurement of laboratory products can reduce their environmental impact, from cradle to grave.
I2SL partner My Green Lab created the ACT label, which emphasizes accountability, consistency, and transparency of lab products and vendors. The ACT label provides reliable, third-party verified information so that institutions can make informed purchasing decisions and advance procurement sustainability. Purchasers can reward vendors already using the ACT label and encourage vendors not yet participating to use the label and increase transparency.
Based on input from scientists, industry, sustainability directors, and procurement specialists, the ACT label addresses the environmental footprint of products in three main categories: manufacturing, user impact, and end-of-life. Purchasers can use the label to evaluate different aspects of sustainability of the product including:
- Renewable energy use
- Shipping impact
- Packaging impact
- Recycled content
- Total environmental impact from manufacturing to disposal
A number of institutions have integrated the ACT label into procurement decisions. Institutions recognized for Sustainable Procurement Leadership at the I2SL Annual Conference in 2018 include:
- University of Alabama at Birmingham
- University of British Columbia
- University of California Office of the President
- University of California, San Diego
- University of California, Santa Barbara
- Cleveland Clinic
- University of Colorado Boulder
- Emory University
- Duke University
- University of Georgia
- Harvard University
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- University of Virginia
Are you ready to be an ACTivist? Contact My Green Lab for assistance or to learn more!
Looking for more ways to make your institution’s labs greener? Sign up for the 2019 International Freezer Challenge, a friendly competition that encourages labs to implement best practices for cold storage management. Winners will be honored at the 2019 I2SL Annual Conference in Denver, Colorado, October 20-23, for their commitment to good management practices, temperature tuning, and technology retirements and upgrades.