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Sustainable Labs Induction

What do we mean by 'sustainability'? 

When we say ‘sustainability’ we mean – embracing development and the use of resources that meet the needs of the present without compromising future generations to meet their own needs. It’s about having a positive impact on people and the environment, both at a local and global scale.

Why are labs important?  

Carbon reduction, increasing rates of recycling, reducing energy use, promoting ethical purchases, encouraging reuse and sharing - these are just some of the sustainability actions we are working towards at LSHTM, backed by our Environmental Sustainability Policy.

Labs on average consume up to 3-5x more energy per square meter compared to non-laboratory spaces. In addition they use large amounts of water, consumables, and equipment in their operations, as well as generate significantly large amounts of hazardous and non-hazardous waste.  

Laboratory spaces have huge potential in reducing these impacts and championing research that is conducted with sustainability embedded from the start. Its about recognising where opportunities exist to improve, being innovative and trialling alternatives, and empowering everyone to support positive environmental change. 

Where to start?  

Energy Efficiency  

  • Power down equipment, lighting and IT where ever possible, especially over night, at weekends, and during holiday periods.

  • Shut the sash on your fume cupboards when not in use. 

  • Optimise fridges, freezers, and ULTs to correct temperatures and do not leave doors open for long periods of time.



  • We have a dry mixed recycling waste stream at the school. This accepts;
    - Plastic bottles
    - Cardboard and paper
    - Metal tins and cans

  • Find out more in our Lab Waste Guide here.  

Reuse and sharing  

  • If you have items you no longer need that are not pieces of equipment, chemicals, reagents, or kits, you can notify Gisela Lourenco Henriques who will advertise to others on the Swap Shop

  • If you have chemicals that are no longer of use, please notify Andrew Davies who can add them to the School's Chemical Sharing Document which is advertised in the monthly Labs Bulletin.

  • The School is partnered with UniGreenScheme, who collect, store, and reuse unwanted lab equipment. For a full list of the categories they accept please click here
    Joanna Houghton who can organise a request with UGS. 

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  • Do you need to buy it in the first place?
    Check the Swap Shop or latest labs bulletin to see if your desired item already exists. You could also place an add in the staff intranet noticeboard. 


  • Think about whole life costing (initial capital cost, operational, maintenance, repair, up-grades, and eventual disposal costs) before you click buy or sign off a tender.

  • Is the item the most energy / water efficient model that your budget will allow?


Water use

  • Double check you are using the correct water purity or each experiment. Could a lower grade be used rather than deionized, reverse osmosis, or distilled?

  • Fill the sink to wash equipment instead of using running water. 

Find out more

  • At LSHTM we have a dedicated Laboratory Sustainability Group, with representation from all areas with lab facilities. See who your rep is and get in touch to find out more about how you can have a positive impact in your area. 

  • Check out our other LSHTM sustainability pages for more info, updates, and upcoming events across the School.

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