By Karl Demmans, Workshop Coordinator for the GCI
Welcome back to the GCI’s monthly updates about our recent endeavors and findings in green research! Today I’d like to discuss the efforts put forth by various faculty and graduate students over the past eight months to collect and distribute data about the amount of waste produced in the Lash Miller Chemical Laboratories, the main building for the Department of Chemistry at UofT. Our hope is that once students are presented with this information, they will be more conscious about their chemical procedures and consider alternate green methods to help reduce waste. For an example of the types of data we have collected, take a look at the poster found below.
In Lash Miller, waste collection occurs every Friday. Each research group gathers their labelled waste containers and brings them to our waste department for sorting and temporary storage, before eventual disposal. The rather colourful chart in the poster displays the amount of solid or solvent waste, broken down for each chemistry discipline, concluding with the percent of total waste each discipline produces, as well as the type of waste that is made.
The colour gradient of the five waste categories denotes the combined environmental and economic concerns ranging from solid decontaminated waste (‘best’) to acidic waste (worst). Overall, the waste picture for Lash Miller looks pretty good, with only 9% of the total waste produced in the building coming from the two red categories (acidic and chlorinated). By specifically targeting these types of waste for reduction, we can continue to improve and make the waste profile of our department even better.
For Lash Miller graduate students, if you’d like to know specifically how much waste your group is producing, send an inquiry e-mail to green [at] chem.utoronto.ca!
Lastly, the final part of the poster describes what each type of waste is, and explains the disposal process. The topic of how chemical waste is disposed of was recently discussed during our last GCI seminar. Click here to read our Chemical Waste FAQs!
In the upcoming months there will be another poster displaying the percent reductions in waste produced per discipline, to see how graduate students react to the current information. Thanks for stopping by to learn about our Waste Awareness Campaign and how we are helping to reduce our environmental footprint.