As of this week, labs at Biology will no longer have to fight to keep empty coolers and needless ice packs from clogging their shelves and benchtops. Thanks to a recent Styrofoam collection study spearheaded by nine labs in the Molecular and Cellular Biology Department, a new way to handle a number of specialty waste streams is being piloted in the building. Beginning August 12, researchers from all labs and departments can bring the following items to the Reuse Room (located in Biolabs Room 1041) for reuse or recycling:

  • Empty, clean Styrofoam coolers with return address labels and postage affixed (i.e. New England Biolabs, Sigma Aldrich, and other vendors with take-back programs)
  • New England Biolabs gel ice packs
  • Unwanted (but functioning) lab and office supplies
  • Small electronic waste

Styrofoam cooler take-back programs have existed for some time, but this will be the first time an organized strategy for handling this process has been implemented at the Biolabs. In addition, New England Biolabs has partnered with the FAS Green Program to pilot the first-ever gel pack reclamation program for both the company and the university.

Although the reuse/recycling pilot program will start small at first, the ultimate goal is to expand the scope of items accepted at the reuse room to provide a “one stop shop” for a broad range of specialty waste streams in one easy and convenient location.