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How to recycle lab waste

Learn more about recycling lab waste in this article.

Learn more about sustainable practices in the lab here

Learn how to reduce waste and save money in your lab here

  • Although nowadays most of the lab waste cannot be recycled, packaging can and should be recycled.

  • Respect the waste treatment pipeline with current standards (1)

  • Set up collaborations with specialized companies for recycling certain types of lab materials. To learn how to sort lab plastics, see the figure below. Find examples here. (2)

  • Donate damaged lab electric and electronic devices to specialized companies for component sorting and recycling.

  • Finally, keep in mind that recycling is only the last option. Prioritize replacing, reducing, and reusing.


  • Brown cardboard, glove box, crushed kit box, cardboard packaging of your favourite ready-made meal or box of cookies, old calendars, stacks of old publications: recycling bin

  • Materials in contact with biological material: biohazard box.

  • Non-contaminated lab ware, foam padding, ordinary waste (not infectious): common waste bin

  • Laboratory glass (non-recyclable Boro Silicate): sharp collection bin.

  • Glass beverage bottles should be deposited in the recycling bins.

  • Ink cartridges can be recycled in the bins provided for this purpose; otherwise contact your supplier to organize a recollect.

  • Aluminium coffee capsules can be returned for recycling.

  • Liquid or solid chemical waste must be clearly labelled before removal and discarded according to your institutional rules.


  • PAN biotech collects PET medium bottles and feeding bottles for recycling in all EU.

  • Starlab collects PP tips boxes for recycling.


Know the requisites of your local recycling pipeline.

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