Sustainable Procurement Factsheet - Laboratory Equipment

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 equipment and chemical consumables as well as ongoing use while running equipment. 
  • 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

  • Consider sharing equipment across departments and/or organizations.
  • Prior to purchasing, ensure the needs of the laboratory are known so that equipment can be "right sized".
  • Consider the life cycle cost (purchasing, operating and disposing) of equipment rather than just the upfront cost. 

What to look for:

  • For refrigerators, ice makers and freezers choose Energy Star Products and check for climate friendly refrigerants.  
  • Check the My Green Lab database for environmentally friendly lab equipment. 
  • look for water efficient autoclaves and glassware washers or waterless systems i.e. air cooled rather than water cooled and dry vacuum pumps. 
  • Compare equipment warranties - warranties can infer durability and the longer a product is operational, the less waste that is produced over its liftime.
  • For equipment, powered by batteries or with battery backup systems look for rechargeable options.
  • Keep an eye out for "chemicals of concern", use the RoHS (Reduction of Hazardous Substances) list as a first step. 

After the Buy - Equipment

  • Prolong the life of equipment with proper maintenance and repair of equipment.
  • Reuse. If the equipment is still in working condition, use Procurement Services' Asset Dispoal program. 
  • To arrange for the disposal of lab equipment on campus, please place a request into Western's Waste and Recycling portal


ECO labels