The Department of Biological Sciences undergraduate and research labs recently underwent certification by My Green Labs. The aim of this initiative is to reduce the departments laboratories' environmental impact in four key areas – energy, water, waste, and chemical use – through a combination of organisational initiatives and behaviour change programs. This initiative involves scientists working together in efforts to minimise environmental impacts, build a culture of sustainability in the lab, advance sustainability goals and identify waste-reduction opportunities.
We recently completed the process, and a report and results were returned to us.
We are delighted to announce the Undergraduate Labs scored 84% overall, putting them in the Green Certification Level. The Research Labs scored 76% overall, putting them in the Platinum Certification Level.
The highest level attainable is Green with Platinum the second highest level so both these results are excellent and an improvement >30% from initial report.
The main ethos of this initiative is to implement behavioural changes to make the biggest environmental impact. There are a few key points highlighted during this process. People pay attention to what their peers do, especially friends, family, co-workers, and neighbours. Create norming behaviour in your lab is key to success. A representative from each lab along with the technical team came together to form the departments ‘Green Team’ where responsibility for sustainability is shared across lab members and staff. The Green Team will revisit topics regularly to help train new people and explore new innovations and is always open to new members and new ideas.
The changes we have implemented to date are a starting point and our aim is by working together, working with Buildings & Estates (UL) and with other institutions nationally we will continue to make impactful changes. These changes can be small, and your lab will be more likely to succeed in starting sustainable practices if those new actions are convenient to do.