My Green Lab is fundamentally and permanently improving the sustainability of scientific research. A California non-profit, we were formed to unify and lead scientists, vendors, designers, energy providers, and others in a common drive toward a world in which all research reflects the highest standards of social and environmental responsibility. Run “for scientists, by scientists,” we leverage our credibility and track record to develop standards, oversee their implementation, and inspire the many behavioral changes that are needed throughout the scientific community. Though My Green Lab focuses solely on laboratory environments, we believe our activities will excite similar changes across other industries, and in the private lives of the millions of people who spend their time in labs.
Laboratories are one of the next major frontiers in sustainability. The opportunity for energy reduction is enormous and untapped, as laboratories consume as much as five times more energy per square foot than typical offices. This outsized consumption results from energy-intensive equipment, round-the-clock operations, and unique ventilation requirements. Similarly, research facilities also offer disproportionate opportunities for water conservation, waste reduction, and more sustainable selection of reagents and process equipment. A 2015 article in the journal Nature estimated that lab plastics accounted for 5.5 million tons of waste in 2014, equating lab plastic waste with 83% of the total plastic recycled worldwide in 2012. While recent years have seen increasing focus on “green” laboratory programs, these efforts are often isolated and institution-specific. Broadly defined to include everything from hospitals and universities to pharmaceutical corporations and regulatory agencies, the research “industry” has lacked a well-managed organization whose sole purpose is to develop and coordinate sustainability efforts and educate stakeholders as to the great potential of these programs.
Since our inception in 2013, My Green Lab has rolled out several nationwide initiatives. Indeed, our members and supporters range from small laboratories to some of the scientific community’s largest corporations and academic institutions. In addition to motivating behavioral changes in and around the lab, for which we emphasize ease and enjoyment of implementation and measurability of results, we are leading data-driven research into resource consumption. Through these latter efforts, in which we partner with equipment manufacturers, engineering firms, and utilities, we are developing the quantitative and qualitative standards against which future sustainability efforts will be measured.
More info on My Green Lab