02 / 01 / 2024
The FRAME lab recently won the Silver Leaf Award, showcasing its commitment to creating a sustainable lab. The lab focuses on human-relevant research that can help replace animals. We’re so proud to see they’re showcasing that this can be done in an eco-aware way.
Nikki, FRAME lab technical specialist talks, us through how the lab achieved its award.
Aside from my role as a Technical Specialist at the FRAME Lab, I am also the Sustainability champion at the University of Nottingham Medical School. This includes education and action in areas such as energy saving, recycling and waste management.
At the FRAME Lab, we are proud to be one of the first laboratories in the Med School to attain a Silver award from the Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework, or LEAF project, set up by UCL to assess the environmental impact of laboratories.
Actions implemented in the FRAME Lab so far are solid plastic recycling bins, so that we can recycle our plastic tubs, tip boxes, media bottles through ENVA in Nottingham. Every two weeks, roughly, we fill a bag, so it is a substantial amount of recycling. We have also reverted to re-usable glass serological pipettes for non-sterile work which replaces the consumption of many single-use plastic ones. For pipettor tips, we use refill systems, rather than buying pre-racked, which again reduces our plastic waste.
To address our energy consumption, we have a culture of mindfulness among the users of the lab including:
- Pro-active signage to remind users to switch off kit after use, especially chilled/ heated instruments
- Education on the most energy-efficient ways of using the fume hood and freezers.
We also have a maintenance schedule for all of our freezers including defrosting, ice clearing and upkeep of inventories that keeps them running at optimum energy draw.
Going forward, I am in the process of introducing glass recycling, and looking into purchasing solvents from sustainable sources in returnable and reusable packaging. For example, in metal drums instead of plastic. We are also setting up a back-up system for our -80°C freezer and will be raising the temperature to -70°C once it is in place, saving around 30% of its energy draw. I am also in talks to provide a recycling system for polystyrene, which is the main contribution to landfill that the lab, and the Medical School as a whole, generates.
Hopefully, this will gain us our Gold award!