Saturday, June 14, 2008

Hey! That's recyclable!

When I started my current job, one of things that impressed me (and not in the good way) was the amount of plastic "lab consumables" we throw out for lack of a recycling program. And it wasn't really that we didn't want to do it, it was more that there wasn't a market for it, so no one would take it.

There is some stuff that we use, like pipette tips, that have to be autoclaved and thrown away because they might have biological nasties on them. But there are other things, like the plastic bottles that non-toxic reagents come in, that could be recycled. And the boxes that hold those pipette tips have a nice #5 stamped on the bottom of each and every one. If I'm setting up a run on the sequencer to do fragment analysis with my microsatellites, I can easily go through 10 boxes in a day. I use the tips, I toss the box, repeat.

Just today, I read that our county recycling program at the landfill is now accepting most plastics stamped 1-7. Wow. It will hopefully cut way down on the stuff going into the landfill, and people can feel good about recycling. I'm going to send an email on Monday to the proper people at work to see if we can set out recycling bins and keep that waste out of the landfill. I'm actually kind of excited to do it; it assuages my guilt over throwing out all that plastic up until now.

Oh, and the reason that this great service is now being offered? The rising price of oil has made the price of recycling the more difficult to recycle plastics (#3-#7) more economically viable. See? And you thought there wasn't an upside to $4.00 a gallon gas...
image from here, recycling symbol from here


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I removed the previous comment because I realized belatedly that I didn't need to specify my email address in the comment.

    Anyway, here is what I had said

    hey, awesome blogs - all of them. I started something recently called Graduate school - bring your running shoes. However I found I was filling it up with news about Dallas nightlife - not much about grad school or my work. I love the fact that you integrate work into everything you post, and you make it sound so interesting. Good job.

    My name is Pavitra and I am doing a Phd in cancer nanotechnology at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

  3. Hi Pavitra,
    Thanks for visiting, I'm glad you enjoy the posts.



Hi, sorry to make the humans do an extra step.