In the lab
Replace single-use plastic with glass or autoclavable plastic whenever possible. ¹
Switch toxic chemicals to less toxic ones with the same properties whenever possible. ²
Be aware of alternatives that are coming on the market. Some suppliers offer greener alternatives for chemicals/solvents (renewable source, green extraction process, or degradation properties). ³
Invest in a CCD camera to replace autoradiographic films and polluting-developing solutions. [GE, Biorad, Applied biosystems]
Prepare your own culture medium/buffer from powder/tablets to reduce waste and save storage space.
Prepare your own gels to save single-use plastics. These are more versatile and this way you will considerably reduce costs!
Choose "flexible" kits, with which you can order the buffers separately and avoid waste [e.g. NEB, MN].
For reactions in the dark, replace aluminium foil with an opaque box.
In the office
Prefer an electronic lab notebook.
Consider using an erasable notepad and/or a perpetual calendar [e.g. WhyNote, infinite book, RocketBook].
Go back to the good old-fashioned Italian coffee maker or, alternatively, choose reusable coffee capsules. Using your mug is so much nicer than a plastic cup.
You can use your mug even on coffee machines - think about it!
Have a fountain connected to the drinking water network and avoid using plastic bottled water. Get your own reusable water bottle.
HAMILTON syringes are an alternative to plastic tips to load gels;
Glass graduated pipettes are an alternative to plastic pipettes for any type of solution, if a controlled decontamination/sterilization process is put in place;
Reusable glass beads are an alternative to disposable utensils for spreading bacteria on agar plates (hockey stick, plastic handle)
Autoclavable vacuum filter systems (polysulfone- or polypropylene-based) are alternatives to single-use filters.
Prefer glass counting slides (manual or compatible automatic counter [ex: Countess, life technologies]).
Hexane instead of heptane (slide preparation)
Ethanol instead of methanol (transfer buffer, fixative)
Isopropanol instead of xylene (histology)
Cyrene™ [Merck/Sigma Aldrich] instead of DMF/DMSO
ECO Tween® [Merck/Sigma Aldrich] instead of Tween®
Sybr™ Safe [Molecular Probes] instead of ethidium bromide
TopVision agarose [ThermoScientific] instead of standard agarose
Prefer glass or autoclavable plastic to single-use plastic.