Freecycle is back!

Energy Management & Sustainable Operations - 06 December 2021

After a short break due to COVID-19, Freecycle returned this semester on Tuesday, November 30, 2021. We worked hard to bring it back this year after hearing from labs on campus who enjoyed and benefited from it in the past.

What is Freecycle?

Labs use considerable amounts of water, energy and other resources, so even small actions can equal big benefits for the environment and society. Freecycle Your Labware is a swap-and-trade event that lets University of Alberta labs donate their excess or unused lab supplies and pick up items from other labs. It helps to reduce waste, encourage reuse and foster networking among the labs.

What did this semester’s Freecycle look like?

Freecycle donations included items such as lab supplies, small lab equipment and office supplies. This year we had donations from about 10 labs and 52 participants, including a water bath which was scooped up within the first five minutes! The items most in demand were freezer boxes, 0.5 L glass bottles, and graduated cylinders of various sizes. Some other items we had included vacutainer tubes, pipet tips, assorted glassware and lab coats.

We heard from many attendees that times are tough and budgets are tight at the moment. “We can’t spend any money on new supplies right now so events like these are really helpful,” said one participant.

Thank you for supporting your fellow labs by donating items or participating in Freecycle this year. Your interest and participation in this event helps us plan more Freecycle and lab events for the future. Items that are not claimed during the event are sorted and either (a) kept for future Freecycle events, (b) recycled or disposed of as appropriate though the standard zero waste program or (c) recycled through SMS (e.g. electronic equipment).

Thanks to our partners in Distribution Services

EMSO would like to give a special thanks to the Distribution Services team, whose partnership is a key factor in the success of Freecycle. They help to pick up and store donated items prior to the event day, deliver them on the day of the event, and help to properly dispose of leftover items afterwards. Without their assistance Freecycle would not be possible.

Other Green Lab initiatives

Would you like to participate in more lab specific sustainability initiatives on campus?

A green lab is a safe lab. Get your lab Green Spaces certified. Any research, field or teaching lab at UAlberta can be certified by Green Spaces for demonstrating best practices for environmental health and safety. Integrate sustainable practices into your lab space and earn Bronze, Silver or Gold certification.

Join the Green Labs Leaders Network (GLLN) which connects lab users who are interested in leading by example and educating the research community about safe and sustainable lab practices. The next meeting will be taking place soon!

There are many other things you can do to make green improvements to your lab:

For more information on any of these initiatives visit the Green Labs webpage.

And finally, keep an eye out for our next Freecycle Your Labware event in the winter semester!