Fall 2022: The Freecycle Experiment

Energy and Climate Action - 16 January 2023

What is Freecycle?

Labs use considerable amounts of water, energy and other resources, but that means there are lots of opportunities for them to be more sustainable. 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 for free. The event helps to reduce waste, encourage reuse and foster networking among the campus lab community. So far we have held five successful Freecycle events since 2018!

New Event Location in CCIS North Atrium

In the past, Freecycle events have always been held in the Katz Atrium, but thanks to feedback from participants, Freecycle was held in a new location, CCIS North Atrium, for the first time ever! Changing the location made the event more accessible for labs in other parts of North Campus. It was a great success!

Large Amount of Donations

We had an overwhelming response to our call for donations this Freecycle. So much, in fact, that we decided to plan and host a second, impromptu Freecycle a month later. In total, we had 533 kg of labware donated for the November Freecycle in CCIS—roughly the weight of an adult camel! 186 kg of donations from the November event remained for the December Freecycle in Katz. This is the largest amount of donations we have ever received for Freecycle. Thank you so much to the generous labs that donated!

Distribution Services Partnership

As always, we would like to give a special thanks to the Distribution Services team, whose partnership is a key factor in the success of Freecycle. The Distribution Services team helped to pick up and store donated items prior to the event day, delivered items on the day of the event and helped to properly dispose of leftover items afterwards (particularly electronic equipment). Distribution Services also generously stores any leftover donations for future Freecycle events for us. Without their assistance, Freecycle would not be possible.

Other Green Labs Initiatives

If you would like to participate in more lab-specific sustainability initiatives on campus check out these opportunities:

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

Program highlight: Green Spaces Certification

Become the first Green Spaces certified lab of 2023! Integrate sustainable practices into your work and earn Bronze, Silver or Gold certification for your lab.

A green lab is a safe lab. Any research, field or teaching lab at the U of A can be certified by Green Spaces for demonstrating best practices for environmental health and safety. Everyone working in the lab commits to reducing waste, conserving energy and water and maintaining a safe space. Some actions include turning off equipment that is not in use and finding alternatives to hazardous chemicals. These ideas and more are highlighted in the Green Spaces application. Get your application started today!

Next Freecycle Event

You can expect another Freecycle event this semester in Katz! Find the event details in the Employee Digest or on the U of A Events webpage soon.