Win $50 for sharing creative ideas to minimize laboratory waste

sustainable labs waste audit for scientistsPipette tips are the most conspicuous source of laboratory waste, but they are not the only plastic consumable that winds up in the waste bin (to quantify the waste, we participated in a lab waste audit at the University of IL-Chicago, left). The audit inspired us to start collecting tips and recommendations to make research labs more sustainable. If you have a cool way to reuse or re-purpose consumables, an awesome protocol hack to minimize waste during experiments, or a novel way to reduce power consumption while running a research lab, we want to hear from you!

We’re looking to crowdsource short blog posts that highlight the creative and resourceful ideas that scientists have to help make research labs more sustainable. The best submissions will be featured on the HappiLabs blog.  The HappiLabs’ Sustainability Team will select our favorite and the winner will receive $50 in cash or Amazon gift card.

To participate, please email us three pieces of content:

  1. A short post to describe your idea or recommendation ( <250 words).
  2. A picture demonstrating your idea.
  3. Credit info:  your name, where you do research, and your @twitter handle, if you have one.

Send the email to hello at To help get your creativity flowing, here are four of our favorite sustainable lab projects:

Picture1The Classic: Make a PCR rack from pipette tip inserts. Tape pipette tip rack inserts together and Never buy a $20 PCR rack again!

Packaging Purgatory: an art installation at Washington University in St. Louis that turned thousands of disposable pipette tip racks into a sculpture inspiring people to think about material reuse.

Packaging Purgatory. Photo by Ray Marklin.
Packaging Purgatory. Photo by Ray Marklin.

The Sea Leveler: My own initiative to turn old, cast-off laboratory equipment into novel outreach tools. The Sea Leveler is an old mechanical water level gauge that has been converted into a real-time twitter monitor. Now, instead of tracking the height of the tide, it tracks how many people are discussing sea level rise on twitter.

Sea Leveler. Photo by Andrew Thaler.
Sea Leveler. Photo by Andrew Thaler.

The Harvard Lab Reuse List: A list intended for the trade, reuse, and sharing of working laboratory equipment and supplies for Cambridge, Longwood, and affiliated locations. This project is spearheaded by awesome people: Alicia Murchie and Jamie Bemis.

What is your idea!?

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