Styrofoam makes up a significant portion of the waste stream in many biological labs. Solutions, buffers, and other necessary research materials are shipped in foam coolers stuffed to the brim with packaging materials. A few labs in the Molecular and Cellular Biology Department recently decided that they had had enough of this exasperating volume of daily waste. In response to their feedback, a study was conducted to quantify the volume of Styrofoam waste generated on a regular basis. The results will be used to explore the feasibility of a reuse or recycling program for the material. Over the course of two weeks, the following items were collected from the nine participating labs:
- 43 foam coolers
- 2 foam bricks
- 1.13 cubic feet of packing peanuts
- 6 ice packs
Now that the study is complete, a variety of options will be explored including an on-campus reuse program involving other departments, a mail-back program to major vendors, and a recycling program. Stay tuned for more updates as this initiative progresses!