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University Lab Researchers Rewarded for Going Green

The commute to the lab just got a little greener for five university lab researchers who won Kimberly-Clark Professionals Go Green, Get a Ride contest. Each of the five has been awarded a new Trek Valencia commuter bicycle in recognition for their ef

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Kimberly-Clark Professional Contest Recognizes Environmental Sustainability Efforts

The commute to the lab just got a little greener for five university lab researchers who won Kimberly-Clark Professional’sGo Green, Get a Ride” contest. Each of the five has been awarded a new Trek Valencia commuter bicycle in recognition for their efforts to improve the environmental sustainability of their labs.

“What these labs have in common is a big-picture approach to environmental stewardship,” said Randy Kates, Director, Kimberly-Clark Professional Global Scientific Business. “They may start out with simple steps like recycling, but more often end up reducing what they use in the first place. And reducing today is a great way to respect tomorrow.”

Following are the five “Go Green, Get a Ride” contest winners, with a brief description of some of their labs’ environmental sustainability initiatives:

  • Corey Brumsted, a Ph.D. student researcher at Oregon State University, focuses his lab’s sustainability initiatives on reducing or reusing chemicals wherever possible. He distills and re-uses solvents, designs experiments to use environmentally friendly chemicals, and engineers chemistry to require minimum solvent.
     
  • Eric DeJesus, graduate student at Hajduk Lab, University of Georgia, recognized that it is the small individual efforts that make a big impact. He recycles all paper, Styrofoam and foil products and re-uses non-recyclable containers as much as possible. He also powers off equipment when not in use and purchases lab supplies from environmentally sustainable companies. Eric has become an advocate for green initiatives by joining the Clean Air Campaign and biking, walking or carpooling to work, leaving his car idle for most of the week.
     
  • Marianna Orlova, Ph.D., and the Kuchin Yeast Lab at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee are P-R-E-P-A-R-E-D with an economical commitment to sustainability and efficiency:
    • Principle investigator bikes to work every day. Others bike or use public transit.
       
    • Re-loads tips in reusable tip boxes.
       
    • Elevator? Lab workers take the stairs instead.
       
    • Printer cartridges recycled.
       
    • Autoclaves solutions instead of wasting plastic filters for sterilization.
       
    • Re-uses Styrofoam racks.
       
    • Experiments are efficient; everything is planned to minimize resources.
       
    • Double-sized orders; media and reagents are purchased in larger quantities to minimize waste.
       
  • Edward Parkin, a senior research specialist & clean room manager for the Center for Cellular Transplantation at the University of Arizona “rescues” single-use disposable items from the cleanroom to use in research areas. The lab also switched to more sturdy and comfortable clean room gowns, boot covers and head covers, making them last longer. They use easy-donning gloves in environmentally friendly packages to minimize waste. They rigorously maintain equipment and only power-on equipment when in use. Parkin also encourages staff to recycle paper and plastic as well as power-off lights when not in use.
     
  • Justin Taylor, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Minnesota, personally collects the plastic bags from supply shipments and recycles them at local grocery stores with shopping bag recycling programs, returning up to a grocery bag full every week or two.

“Kimberly-Clark Professional applauds these lab professionals and others who are taking steps both large and small to help ensure environmental sustainability,” Kates adds. “Even something as easy as switching to supplies with less packaging material can make a big impact.”

As evidence, Kates points to an interactive online calculator that can help lab professionals measure the waste and CO2 emission reductions possible when switching the type of gloves they use. Visit www.kimtech.com/reducetoday for more information.