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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.

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