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Green Labs Austria: Together for sustainable research


The Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences becomes a member of Green Labs Austria. The initiative wants to connect labs in Austria to reduce our carbon footprint.

Life science research is more sought-after than ever but it comes with a significant environmental impact, as laboratory-based research is resource-intensive. For example, it was estimated that 1.8% of the world’s plastic waste originated from bioscience lab work in 2014. And yet there are hardly any concerted initiatives to reduce the ecological footprint of Austrian laboratories.

Founded in spring 2020 by students and postdocs of the Department of Functional and Evolutionary Ecology at the University of Vienna, the non-profit organization Green Labs Austria wants to contribute to the transformation of life science research in line with the 2030 UN Agenda for Sustainable Development. To this end, the initiative is building an Austrian network of diverse research labs that share the commitment to conduct research sustainably. The network’s aim is to facilitate the exchange of ideas and strategies on how to minimize the labs’ ecological footprints.

The reduction of single-use plastic waste in the lab has been at the forefront of the initiative’s activities. A Green Labs Austria internal study based on quantifying different types of lab plastic waste has made it clear that many single-use plastic items can be replaced with items made of reusable materials. Moreover, a considerable amount can be recycled instead of being incinerated as residual waste. Taking their findings into account, members of Green Labs Austria are continuously working on developing ideas on how the lab of the 21st century must look like.

Green Labs Austria is growing steadily, and includes labs in the fields of biology, pharmacy, chemistry, medicine and psychology. They are not only located at the University of Vienna but also include the WasserCluster Lunz and a Biotech company as well as research groups from the IST Austria, the Medical University Graz and the Johannes Kepler University Linz. Together, they form an interdisciplinary and unbureaucratic network for sustainable research in Austria.


Text by Lena König from

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