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Three Reasons to Donate Used Lab Equipment

Donating equipment is an effective way to support the scientific community in developing countries

Jennifer Raymond

Jennifer Raymond is the corporate relations senior manager at Seeding Labs. She can be reached at

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Holden Galusha

Holden Galusha is the associate editor for Lab Manager. He was a freelance contributing writer for Lab Manager before being invited to join the team full-time. Previously, he was the...

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Is there a piece of equipment in your lab that is seldom used, but taking up valuable real estate? What about that extra instrument in your storage closet that you’ve been keeping “just in case”? Or the workhorse of the lab that’s soon to be replaced with the newer model?

Rather than auctioning, recycling, or junking this equipment, consider donating it to scientists worldwide who are leading their nations’ development efforts, to academic labs to support education, or to partner labs to help them save money.

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Donation can be a mutually beneficial exchange wherein the donators can work toward their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals while recipients receive high-quality equipment that enables them to innovate.

Three reasons to donate

Donating used equipment can have a huge positive impact, but the decision to donate must be backed with a business case. Here are three reasons that are rooted in practicality:


Unlike recycling, donating extends the life of your equipment. In addition to contributing to your organization’s ESG goals, donation also contributes to a self-sustaining scientific ecosystem. During its second life abroad, a single instrument can enhance the training of thousands of students. It can spark new solutions to health and environmental concerns that improve the lives of millions.

Donations help build strong scientific infrastructure and are a concrete way to invest in that leadership.

Social impact

Developing countries have challenging issues to solve, and science plays a key role. Researchers in these countries have unique knowledge of how to best address their community’s needs. Donations help build scientific infrastructure and are a concrete way to invest in that leadership.


By donating equipment, you can reclaim valuable real estate in your lab and storage closets. With this space, you can acquire an instrument that can help scale up your experiments or that better serves your needs.

But how should one donate equipment? There are numerous factors to consider, including functionality, condition, and potential regulatory hurdles.

Factors to consider

Similar to selling used lab equipment, functionality and condition should be top of mind when determining if a particular instrument is suitable for donation. But there are other factors to consider, such as regulatory compliance. Lab equipment is subject to a host of regulations, which may complicate donation. Will the equipment comply with all export/import requirements of the origin and destination countries? Is the equipment going to a clinical lab? If so, is it compliant with FDA 21 CFR Part 11?

These factors can be hard to manage, which is why there are numerous organizations to facilitate a smooth donation process.

Lab equipment donation organizations

Seeding Labs: Seeding Labs is a non-profit dedicated to connecting scientists around the world with the research lab equipment they need to innovate and educate the next generation of researchers. To date, Seeding Labs has awarded equipment to 102 institutions in 39 developing countries. Weighing over 351 tons, this equipment would cost $47 million USD to replace.

MedShare: MedShare is a non-profit that sends medical supplies and equipment to hospitals and clinical labs. MedShare helps increase the capacity of health care systems in developing countries.

BioLink Depot: BioLink Depot is a non-profit dedicated to supporting scientific training and literacy of students. They distribute donated equipment and supplies to K-12 schools to help support their STEM programs.

Donating equipment not only helps you reach your ESG goals, it also has a positive impact on the scientific community and environment at large.