Scientific Supplies

Lab equipment and research can be very resource intensive. When purchasing scientific supplies, choose sustainable options to reduce energy, water, solid and hazardous waste.

When purchasing consumables or upgrading your laboratory equipment, choose energy and water efficient options. To minimize human and environmental health impacts, choose less hazardous supplies through material substitution best practices. Follow the guidelines below and refer to the Green Labs Products List (pdf) for a sample of recommended products.

Choose

Equipment and Processes

  • Equipment and supply sharing with other labs whenever possible, including Reuse-it! UBC for surplus supplies
  • Energy and water efficient laboratory equipment and processes
  • Energy efficient ultra-low temperature (ULT) freezers
  • Vendors that take back and recycle equipment responsibly at the end of a product's life

Consumables and Chemicals

  • Less hazardous chemicals and processes, when other options are available
  • Chemicals and hazardous materials purchased in the smallest quantities needed
  • Products manufactured with minimal plastics and reduced plastic packaging 

Packaging, Deliveries, Recycling

  • Consolidated orders and deliveries, and combined orders with other laboratories
  • Vendors that avoid Styrofoam and use minimal and recyclable packaging; if Styrofoam is unavoidable, recycle it on campus
Avoid
  • Purchasing new equipment and supplies, when sharing with other labs is possible
  • Inefficient equipment and processes, when more efficient options are available
  • Dated and wasteful lab techniques, including using "once-through" tap water to cool equipment
  • Purchasing hazardous materials in larger quantities than needed
  • Overstocking supplies and chemicals/reagents with short expiration dates
  • Purchasing items from multiple vendors, when available from a single vendor
  • Vendors that use Styrofoam, and non-recyclable packaging

Labels to Look for 

Energy Star

Certification identifies the most energy efficient equipment for over 50 different product categories.

Epeat

Evaluates the effect of a product on the environment by assessing life cycle environmental standards, and ranks products as gold, silver or bronze based on a set of environmental performance criteria.