Sustainable Procurement Factsheet - Laboratory Consumables

The following factsheet has been developed to help Western staff and faculty members purchase sustainable goods and services. 

Quickly scan through an overview of where the sustainability risk lies within the specific product category, criteria to consider when deciding on your next purchase, eco-labels or certifications to look out for and the benefits of making sustainable choices. 

What are the Sustainability risks?

  • Energy and water use. In manufacturing chemical consumables. 
  • GHG emissions. Refrigerants are a significant source of GHG emissions. Common refrigerants are thousands of times stronger than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. 
  • Excessive Waste. Many lab consumables are made from virgin petroleum-based plastics that will either be incinerated or end up in landfill.  Global laboratory waste generates an estimated 5.5 million tonnes of waste per year, (1.5% of global plastic waste). 

Before you buy

  • Check chemical inventories before purchasing new products.  Can reusables replace disposables? Opt for refillable or reusable products where available i.e. circular pipettes and concial supplies.
  • Implementing green laboratory procedures and sharing/reusing some consumables i.e. lab glass rehoming, cooler reuse and consumable exchange programs. 
  • Engage vendors and researchers to prioritize and review the potential susbstitions currently available. 

What to look for:

  • Alternatives, often referred to as "green chemistries" may be available that are less hazardous, reduce waste and/or have other benefits.  
  • Look for options with minimal packaging or look for recycled or certified plant-based packaging. 
  • Look for vendors that offer a take-back or specialized recycling programs.

Western's Preferred Vendors 

Fisher Scientific
Caledon Laboratory Chemicals

Glassware and other Laboratory Supplies
Fisher Scientific

  • Look for the "Greener Choice" (green leaf) options on the Fisher Scientific punch-out catalogue.  A green leaf is displayed when a product offers one or more environmental benefits itemized in the U.S. FTC "Green Guides". 
  • Click on the "Greener Choice" filter when navigating your search results:


or look for the green leaf icon on the product page

Product Page

After the Buy

  • Occupational Health and Safety have set out guidelines on hazardous waste disposal through an RPR Environmental program. The hazardous material waste can be collected based on fixed schedule provided here.


ECO labels