Illustration for QIAwave enviromental campaign
February 6, 2024 | Molecular Biology

Simple tips on becoming an eco-friendlier lab

It’s undeniable that day-to-day lab operations can consume large amounts of energy and waste, from every running lab instrument to all the plastics consumed during experiments. These can have a significant impact on the environment, but this can still be mitigated. Transforming your lab into an eco-friendlier one doesn’t have to be complicated – it can start with small changes in your daily practices.
Illustration for QIAwave enviromental campaign

Imagine slashing your energy consumption by up to 30% with a simple tweak in your ULT freezer settings! This can be done by just setting your freezers to –70 °C instead of –80 °C (1,2). A lot of savings from doing something so simple, why not join these numerous labs who already made the switch? ULT freezers, particularly the older models, can consume about  25–30 kWh of energy per day, that is equivalent to the amount of energy an American home consumes daily. But, just by cleaning the coils and replacing the filters, you can have an additional 10% of savings (3). 

Want to decrease your energy consumption and prolong the lifespan of your instruments? Turning them off when not in use and cutting back on plug load by 10% can help you achieve this. To visualize how much savings, think about taking 650,000 cars off the road (3). There are various ways to keep your lab energy-efficient – you can invest in power strips to easily switch off multiple small devices, and if you need something to be ready before the start of your day, simply consider outlet timers for automatic shutdowns at night and power ups in the morning.
Illustration for QIAwave enviromental campaign
Illustration for QIAwave environmental campaign

Finally, the waste problem. Labs annually generate plastic waste that could cover Manhattan (59.1 km²) ankle-deep 23 times over (4,5). Sure, some of this waste is hazardous, but a lot of it can still be reused or recycled. Think about all the single use plastics that you’ve thrown out during your experiments. Do you know that our QIAwave Kits have recycled Waste Tubes that you can safely reuse throughout the procedure without worrying about cross-contamination? If you’re wondering how much waste savings you could achieve,  you can use our Waste Calculator for comparison. And the other lab consumables? Some of them can still be reused if washed and sterilized properly. You can also check with your supplier if they offer any recycling programs.

It's time to champion sustainability – because it’s everyone’s responsibility. Your lab can make a difference.
Want to learn more about our more sustainable alternatives?
  1. Freezer Challenge (accessed December 20, 2023)
  2. University of Colorado Boulder (accessed December 20, 2023)
  3. My Green Lab (accessed December 20, 2023)
  4. My Green Lab (accessed December 20, 2023)
  5. Urbina M, Watts A, Reardon E. Labs should cut plastic waste too. Nature. 2015; 528: 479.