May 21 2019
This project seeks to provide scientific institutions with ways to recycle, upcycle, and repurpose materials meant for waste. Although scientists have documented that the production and improper disposal of petroleum-based plastics damages ecosystems and contributes to climate change, scientists themselves have barely curbed their plastics use. In Fall 2018, a sustainability practices survey sent to laboratories nationwide found that in institutions accounting for over 550 lab sections annually 43% reported being aware of packaging material ship-back programs, while only 25% reported participating in these programs. 81% of respondents were either unsure or did not have decontamination protocols for non-toxic, recyclable glass and plastic. Only one of the institutions reported recycling gloves used in academic or research settings. This data led to the creation of bio-material based artifacts meant to increase dialogue surrounding sustainability in science and to interrogate the validity of using petrol-based plastics for the majority of scientific equipment.
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