Laboratories and technical spaces

We recognise that our technical spaces, which include, labs, workshops and performance areas, can consume a lot of resources. By their nature they consume more energy and produce more specialist waste streams than a typical office does. We want to support staff and students working in these spaces to efficiently manage these resources without negatively impacting upon the core activities taking place.

The following networks are currently available to join:

  • Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health – Sustainable Labs Network. To join email

The networks are for all staff interested in sustainability in labs including those currently participating in LEAF (Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework). The networks share best practice in sustainable labs, provide advice and guidance, gather information and allow groups to learn from each other.

To register your interest in the networks please contact us

Visit our LEAF pages to find out more about starting or joining a LEAF team.

We have created guidance on how to reduce energy and water use in labs:

If you are in the Faculty of Humanities and would be interested in being part of a technical spaces group please get in touch.


Plastics are cheap and convenient but their production and waste take a massive toll on the environment. Leading the way in achieving the University’s pledge to eliminate avoidable single-use plastic usage by 2022 are Maggy Fostier and Ruth Grady, lecturers in the School of Biological Sciences who are determined to reduce single-use plastics in the lab.

Considering how many single-use plastics were being used in undergraduate labs within the school, it wasn’t going to be a simple case of things changing overnight; they needed a plan.

The approach that Ruth and Maggy chose to take was known as the 6Rs, where they would audit their labs and look at different ways in which they could make changes to improve sustainability and reduce plastic use in the following ways:

  • Refine protocol and optimise waste management.
  • Reduce single-use plastic.
  • Use recycled material.
  • Re-use plastic containers and gloves.
  • Refill plastic and glass containers for each class.
  • Replace plastics where possible with glass, paper or wood.

“The 6R approach is taken from the 3R (reduce, reuse, refine) approach which looks to reduce the number of animals in research, something else that I am concerned with,” Maggy explained.

“The 6Rs can also be adapted to day-to-day life, whatever your situation may be. It makes you very aware of when you’re using plastics and once it’s in your head it’s hard not to notice it.”

More information on the 6Rs can be found on the following websites and can also be downloaded on the right:


Did you know?

Laboratories can consume as much as five times more energy per square foot than typical offices.