The environmental impact of laboratories is enormous. But with the launch of ACT, the first-ever environmental impact factor label for laboratory products, nonprofit My Green Lab is working to change that.
“The ACT label makes it possible for scientists and procurement specialists to choose safe, sustainable products by focusing on the impact of making, using and disposing of a product and its packaging,” said Allison Paradise, Executive Director of My Green Lab.
An acronym for accountability, consistency and transparency, ACT is designed to provide critical information on the environmental impact of lab products and to help reduce the footprint of the laboratories that produce them. Buildings with laboratories are both energy and resource intensive, consuming five times more energy than conventional office buildings and using millions of gallons of water per year. In 2014 alone, it was estimated that labs discarded over 12 billion pounds of plastic, not including gloves, hazardous waste and packaging waste. Smarter purchasing can, however, radically reduce the toll laboratories take on the environment. By providing third-party verified information on a product’s energy consumption, water use and end-of-life, ACT allows purchasers to choose both sustainability and performance.
ACT-labeled products are independently audited by Sustainability Made Simple and verified by My Green Lab. A database of ACT-labeled products for consumables, chemicals and reagents and equipment is available through My Green Lab, as well as on product manufacturer websites.
“MilliporeSigma’s Greener Chemistry platform is built on data and transparency,” said Jeffrey Whitford, Head of Global Corporate Responsibility at MilliporeSigma. “We see tremendous benefit to providing customers with data that they can use to make informed choices on the footprint of their research work.”
The label comes in the midst of a greater shift towards transparency and disclosure within the chemical industry. In August, the Chemical Footprint Project released its second annual report, which revealed that sustainable chemicals management is increasingly moving towards the mainstream.