1887

Abstract

Single-use plastics have often replaced more sustainable materials in microbiology laboratories. Keeping in mind that one of the objectives of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals is responsible consumption and production, we wanted to document how many single-use plastic items could be saved by taking reduction and reuse approaches in a microbiology laboratory. After taking 4 weeks to document the baseline levels of single-use plastic waste being generated in our laboratory and identifying ways to reduce our reliance on them, we implemented various reduction and reuse approaches and then documented our plastic use over a 7-week period. Reduction approaches included moving to sustainable materials, such as reusable wooden sticks for patch plating and metal loops for inoculation. Reuse approaches focused on reusing plastic tubes via a chemical decontamination station and autoclaving, facilitating the reduction of single-use plastics and a decrease in the amount of waste generated. By utilizing reduction and reuse strategies, which could be implemented in other microbiology laboratories, substantial single-use plastic savings were achieved. These savings had an impact on the amount of biohazard waste being autoclaved and incinerated, as well as generating substantial cost savings for the research institute. The reductions in waste documented in this study could act as a benchmark for others wanting to implement the changes described.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • Amy Claire Pickering , Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council , (Award BBS/E/D/20002173)
  • Joana Alves , Wellcome Trust , (Award 201531/Z/16/Z)
Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journal/acmi/10.1099/acmi.0.000173
2020-10-14
2020-10-30
Loading full text...

Full text loading...

/deliver/fulltext/acmi/10.1099/acmi.0.000173/acmi000173.html?itemId=/content/journal/acmi/10.1099/acmi.0.000173&mimeType=html&fmt=ahah

References

  1. Madhusoodanan J. What can you do to make your lab greener?. Nature 2020; 581:228–229 [CrossRef][PubMed]
    [Google Scholar]
  2. EUR-Lex 2019; Official Journal of the European Union, L 155, 12 June 2019. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=OJ:L:2019:155:TOC
  3. Kuntin D. How to reduce your lab’s plastic waste. The Biologist 2018; 4:
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Howes L. Can laboratories move away from single-use plastic?. ACS Cent Sci 2019; 5:1904–1906 [CrossRef][PubMed]
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Urbina MA, Watts AJR, Reardon EE. Environment: Labs should cut plastic waste too. Nature 2015; 528:479 [CrossRef][PubMed]
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Reduce BG. Reuse and recycle lab waste. Nature 2013; 502:170
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Sawyer A. The unsustainable lab. Biotechniques 2019; 66:5–7 [CrossRef][PubMed]
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Fostier M, Grady R. University of Manchester school of biological sciences launches a blueprint for drastic laboratory plastic reduction. Biochem 2020; 42:43 [CrossRef]
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Phelps E, Farley M, Bennett M, Arnott A, Cheek K et al. Sustainable Lab Consumables Guide University of Edinburgh, Sustainability; 2020
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Cheek K, Arnott A. Reducing Single-Use Laboratory Plastics University of Edinburgh, Sustainability; 2019
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Jett BD, Hatter KL, Huycke MM, Gilmore MS. Simplified agar plate method for quantifying viable bacteria. Biotechniques 1997; 23:648–650 [CrossRef][PubMed]
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Boukouvalas DT, Prates RA, Lima Leal CR, de Araújo SA. Automatic segmentation method for CFU counting in single plate-serial dilution. Chemometr Intell Lab Syst 2019; 195:103889 [CrossRef]
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Chen CY, Nace GW, Irwin PL. A 6 X 6 drop plate method for simultaneous colony counting and MPN enumeration of Campylobacter jejuni, Listeria monocytogenes, and Escherichia coli. J Microbiol Methods 2003; 55:475–479 [CrossRef][PubMed]
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Thomas P, Sekhar AC, Mujawar MM. Nonrecovery of varying proportions of viable bacteria during spread plating governed by the extent of spreader usage and proposal for an alternate spotting-spreading approach to maximize the CFU. J Appl Microbiol 2012; 113:339–350 [CrossRef][PubMed]
    [Google Scholar]
  15. UCL S 2019; LEAF - The Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework. https://www.ucl.ac.uk/sustainable/staff/labs/leaf-laboratory-efficiency-assessment-framework
  16. UCL S 2020; Sustainable Lab Consumables Guide. https://www.ucl.ac.uk/sustainable/file/5567
  17. Heidbreder LM, Bablok I, Drews S, Menzel C. Tackling the plastic problem: a review on perceptions, behaviors, and interventions. Sci Total Environ 2019; 668:1077–1093 [CrossRef][PubMed]
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Zimmer K. Life scientists cut down on plastic waste. The Scientist. 2018
    [Google Scholar]
http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/journal/acmi/10.1099/acmi.0.000173
Loading
/content/journal/acmi/10.1099/acmi.0.000173
Loading

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error