Sustainable Laboratories Keep their Cool with Scientific Rigor

North American Laboratory Freezer Challenge at ISTC

ISTC labs participated in the North American Laboratory Freezer Challenge to improve their sample storage. Right, Susan Barta, analytical chemist, prepares old samples for proper disposal.

 

Laboratories at ISTC ‘got chill’ on March 7 as they got busy with the 2017 North American Laboratory Freezer Challenge.

 

The Challenge promotes sample accessibility, sample integrity, reduced costs, and energy efficiency by recognizing best practices that support science quality and resilience — in addition to minimizing total costs and environmental impacts of sample storage.

 

The competition was a good opportunity to clean out samples that were no longer needed and update organization and logs to improve laboratory access, according to John Scott, senior analytical chemist at the Center.

 

Lance Schideman, research scientist, and John Scott, senior analytical chemist, review chemical stocks

Lance Schideman (left), research scientist, and John Scott, senior analytical chemist, review chemical stocks as part of the Freezer Challenge.

According to Challenge organizers, the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL) and My Green Lab, the Centers for Disease Control and the University of California Davis reported that 10-30 percent of items stored in refrigeration units were no longer needed or no longer viable.

 

Scott said the Challenge offers an excellent incentive to review and update stocks of research materials. Especially when a researcher changes jobs, an effort should be made to examine which samples are no longer needed, he said.

 

Major industry sponsors of the Challenge are Stirling Ultracold, ThermoFisher Scientific, and Panasonic. Participants earn points for their activities and winners will be announced in October.

 

Laurel Dodgen and Viktoriya Yurkiv review lab stores

Postdoctoral research assistant Laurel Dodgen and assistant research chemist Viktoriya Yurkiv help with the Challenge.

About Jim Dexter

Communications Coordinator, Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
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