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First GRIP labs receive bronze certificate in LEAF program

09 May 2023
Peter Fodran CFB

This spring, the first GRIP lab received the bronze certificate from the Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework (LEAF) program. Peter Fodran from Chemical and Pharmaceutical Biology is very involved in having a sustainable laboratory and has worked hard to get this certificate. Chemistry and Biology laboratories are among the most energy-consuming and waste-producing components of research universities. Reducing their environmental footprint is crucial and urgent.

Peter's motivation for doing this was that Chemistry and pharmaceutical research is one of the pillars of our wellbeing, but at the same it is a very environmentally unfriendly activity. Peter feels that a part of the innovation that scientists can deliver is the more sustainable workflow and even the tiniest steps will have a compound effect. Additionally, there is also an economic motivation. The academic funding is tight and running a laboratory efficiently can provide an alleviation.

Peter had first reached to greenerlabsfse@rug.nl and followed the instructions in registering to the program. Next he went through the criteria and devised solutions, which address them while taking into account the day to day activities. For example, he developed an electronic lab notebook system for management of synthesized compounds, he redesigned the storage of chemicals in his laboratory and designated areas for recycling and for waste. In his view, it is important that the improvements in the lab are inherently motivating and not a nuisance to an already busy scientific day. When he addressed all the criteria, he reached out again to greenerlabsfse@rug.nl, went through the audit with Thomas Freese and a few weeks later, the certificate arrived.

The LEAF framework provides an easy-to-use online toolkit with CO2 footprint calculators, references and publications and hands-on recommendations for labs. It also provides a roadmap to making laboratories greener by providing accreditation to bronze, silver, and gold levels, successively. To achieve bronze level, small yet important steps are needed to minimize the environmental impact of each lab. These include proper and safe waste disposal oriented to minimizing waste, a focus on recycling wherever possible, building a habit of energy saving particularly for high energy consuming equipment, and spreading awareness of the importance of sustainability.

If you would like to join the LEAF program, please send an email to greenerlabsfse@rug.nl.

Last modified:26 May 2023 2.47 p.m.

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