Office of Energy & Sustainability

Eco-Friendly Alternatives

ACT Label

Vendors such as VWRThermo Fisher Scientific, and Sigma, provide sustainable options.

Look for products with the ACT label. The ACT Environmental Impact Factor Label allows for comparison between products based on manufacturing, energy and water use, packaging, and end-of-life.


Greener alternatives can reduce the lab’s environmental impact and reduce lab costs.


Eco-friendly products common to different vendors


Refillable pipette tips

Reduce the amount of plastic generated from pipette tip use.

Refillable tipsbulk tips

Biodegradable gloves

They have a better environmenatl foorprint because they break down faster and naturally, reducing the amount of waste in landfills. Some options are EcoTek (via SW Safety), T-Gen (via Genesee), Bio-nit (via Uniseal), and GreenDex (via Showa).

Biodegradable gloves

Hand towels and wipes made from recycled papers

Paper made of post-consumer material uses less raw material and is more environmentally friendly.

Paper towels

Bulk hand soap

Refill smaller soap containers with soap from bulk containers to minimize plastic waste. 

Bulk soap

Rechargeable batteries

They can be reused over time reducing the amount of batteries that ends up in landfills.

Rechargeable batteries

Waterless condenser

Waterless condensers for chemistry experiments avoid running water for the duration of the entire reaction resulting in significant water savings. Examples are Heidolph's Findenser and Asynt's CondenSyn (available through VWR and Fischer Scientific).

Waterless condensers

Copper trays for incubators

Use copper trays for your incubator's water instead of dissolving copper sulfate powder, which is toxic for the aquatic environment.

Copper tray

Take-back programs


Pipette tip boxes

Polycarbin (close-loop option), TerraCycle (via VWR), and Fisherbrand.

Pipette tip box takeback

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Kimberly Clark RightCycle and Terracycle.

PPE takeback

EPS foam boxes

Millipore Sigma and NewEngland Biolabs (both free).

EPS takeback programs

Lab packaging

Corning Recycles takes back Corning's lab packaging (free).

Corning recycle

 Vendor-Specific Options



• Garment, battery, and pipette tip recycling programs. VWR offers an array of recycling programs for common lab items.

• Look for Environmentally Preferable options when purchasing in the VWR Ariba punch-out (refine results on the left of the page, under criteria). They are also identified throughout the catalog by a green leaf. 

--> Check out thier Sustainability Report

Thermo Fisher Scientific

• Supply centers: freezers located on the 18th floor of the Belfer Research Building and in the basement of the 1300 York Avenue building. Subscribers can access these freezers to obtain temperature-sensitive products such as cell media and save on shipping material and emissions associated with delivery. Your department P-card is needed.

• Greener shipping. Thermo Fisher has developed an engineered cardboard substitute for the polystyrene boxes used for temperature-sensitive deliveries, which, unlike polystyrene, is recyclable.

• Gibco Bench-stable Cell Culture Medium can reduce the refrigerator's space and energy consumption.

• Learn about Thermo Fisher and Fischer Scientific's Green products.

Millipore Sigma

• For greener shipping, Millipore Sigma has developed a plant-based cardboard cooler to replace the polystyrene boxes used for temperature-sensitive deliveries.

• Millipore Sigma Greener Alternative Products has many solvents and antibodies listed.

• Stericup® E and Steritop® E Sterile Filters save plastic by connecting the filter to your own compatible, reusable bottle.


Polycarbin supplies pipette tips made entirely of recycled plastic and takes back pipette tip boxes to recycle in a close loop.

USA Scientific

•TipOne’s production facility and the New England distribution center are powered by 100% wind energy

•ACT® Certified Products

Rainin EarthRack™ (compostable/biodegradable rack)

Pipette tips in a biodegradable rack (bamboo and sugar cane) and packaged in recycled cardboard (75% less plastic than conventional racks)

Rainin Biodegradable tips


More suggestions can be found on the LabConscious website.

Did you know

31% of waste in the US consists of containers or packaging.

Office of Energy & Sustainability 1300 York Avenue, LC006, Box 14, New York, NY 10065