Above, one of three mounds at the Seneca Meadows Landfill in Waterloo, NY, as seen from the west side of Seneca Lake approximately eight miles away (through a telephoto lens). Credit: Kevin Colton, HWS.

EPA Region Map

EPA Region Map
EPA Region Map

Monday, February 21, 2011

Lab Waste

For the past year, I’ve been doing research with Prof. Cushman looking at the restoration of a local stream using macro-invertebrates as indicators of stream quality. I use Petri dishes and small glass vials to separate the different species of macro-invertebrates. This week, I realized just how many Petri dishes and vials I have thrown away throughout this year. Yesterday, alone I’ve gone through 12 dishes that I couldn’t reuse and had to throw away.

My weekly disposal of Petri dishes and vials alludes to the larger amount of lab waste that is thrown away daily at every other lab. The problem with lab work is that in order to maintain sterility, most of what you use has to be thrown away, so almost everything is made to be disposable. But, there should be an alterative system in place for lab waste like mine that isn’t toxic, and that could potentially be recycled.

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