Sustainable labs working group returns

After a longer than average summer break the Sustainable Laboratories Working Group has made a comeback! Albeit with a less than impressive tan.

Image showing people reusing an item instead of simply binning it.

Sustainable Laboratories Working Group:

Chaired by Associate Professor Louise Jennings, the group brings together researchers, technicians, and services from across the University to discuss options to reduce the negative environmental, economic, and social impacts laboratories impose on both a local and national scale.

Previous successes to arise from the meetings include the Reuse@Leeds:labs network, allowing lab users to share chemicals, glassware and electrical equipment. We have also enabled the refurbishment of 64 fume cupboards in the Priestley Chemistry Lab which saved 511 tonnes of carbon emissions over a six-month period between 2013/14.

On Tuesday 23 February the group congregated for the first time this year to share updates, both positive and negative, on sustainable working practices across laboratory spaces. We discussed management systems for chemical storage, such as LabCup http:/ and how to achieve more effective equipment sharing and procurement strategies. We also looked at energy efficient practices for ultra-cold storage, water use, and fume cupboards. These will be some of the key issues as we try to create a more sustainable laboratory network.

Think about it; in an average week how much waste have you produced? Was it recyclable? How much energy did you use? Could you have used less? What equipment have you shared?  What equipment COULD you have shared?

The Working Group would like to engage as many lab users as possible in the sustainable laboratory network. Joshua West (Projects Assistant from the Sustainability Service) is on the lookout for enthusiastic technicians looking to bolster their public speaking skills and share their sustainable working practises at this spring’s Sustainability Forum (date TBC).

If this opportunity catches your eye or if you have any questions about the working group or the Sustainability Service in general then please contact Josh at

Written by Joshua West

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