Discover how to purify water with lower environmental impact, better ways to clean glassware and which water-cooling systems are most efficient (part-funding available).
- Video: Cleaning, sterilisation and water (Lab Sustainability Webinar, March 2021)
- Cleaning, sterilisation and water (Lab Sustainability Webinar, March 2021)
Water is used in many devices and practices in laboratories. Water use can have a substantial carbon footprint (due to the processing and transport/pumping). Luckily there are many ways to reduce water consumption in the laboratory.
Best practice is covered in the lab sustainability training presentation video above.
Use our posters to share recommendations for good practices in wash-up and autoclaving.
There are numerous ways to purify water, some with higher impacts than others.
Please avoid distillation if at all possible – Deionised (DI) or Reverse Osmosis (RO) water have much lower water and energy usage to produce a unit of purified water.
Use centralised production facilities for DI or RO water instead of buying bottled purified water, if available in your lab. Transporting bottles of water is very carbon intensive, and also contributes to lab plastic waste.
When rinsing glassware in a sink, don’t leave the item under a running tap. Studies have shown that it’s more effective to fill and empty it just three times than it is to leave an item under a tap for 10 minutes.
Some experimental activities use a constant flow of water to remove heat from the experiment – known as 'mains to drains'.
These should be replaced with closed loop chiller systems, which not only save water, but also reduce the risk of lab floods, and help experimental accuracy by providing far more consistent temperatures than tap water does.
Apply for the Sustainable Campus Fund
Chillers can be part funded through an application to the Sustainable Campus Fund.