Over 30 researchers and lab personnel joined the UBC Okanagan’s Sustainability Office and Risk Management Services (RMS) at the fourth annual Labs: Sort It Out and Power Down event on Feb. 7.
Participants took part in a lab waste sorting game, signed up for waste reduction programs and learned ways to conserve energy in undergraduate and research labs across campus.
Waste diversion programs offered by RMS include hazardous waste removal, battery recycling and glass diversion as well as a chemical exchange program. The Sustainability Office offers the lab plastics and pipet tip box recycling programs in addition to the Power Down communication initiative, which brings awareness to researchers on which pieces of lab equipment are high, medium, low and phantom energy users.
Since 2010, lab waste reduction programs have recorded the diversion of 32,608 litres of plastic materials and packaging, 719 kg of glass and 1,890 kg of batteries from the landfill. The chemical exchange program has also grown to include a 60 chemical inventory, has ‘rehomed’ four chemicals in the past year and has helped move the surplus of lab materials from one department or faculty to another on several occasions.
The event also offered participants an opportunity to join the BC Cool Campus Challenge by pledging to reduce their energy consumption this winter. Running through February, the challenge is a fun and friendly initiative between BC universities and colleges to conserve energy this winter season.