Technician using an X-Ray Diffraction Machine in Engineering, University Park

March 5, 2021, by Rob Ounsworth

Technicians win sustainability award for reducing the impact of our labs on the environment

University technicians have been recognised by a waste industry leader for playing a key role in improving sustainability and reducing the impact of our labs on the environment.

Enva, the University’s waste contractor, has awarded the Technical Sustainability Working Group (TSWG) a Love Recycling Award for its commitment to environmental improvements and sustainable waste management.

Enva praised the group for its innovative approach to tackling the segregation of waste and for improving communication between technicians and the company.

Lee Hibbett, a Technical Manager in the School of Pharmacy based in the Biodiscovery Institute, said he was delighted at the award. The Technical Sustainability Working Group grew out of Lee’s involvement in a project looking at how reduce the impact of plastic across the university.

He said: “My input was from the lab side of things and led to the formation the TSWG, which involved getting like-minded technicians from across our departments and campuses together to find ways of improving sustainability and sharing ideas.

Lee Hibbett with waterless condenser

Lee Hibbett with a waterless condenser

“We now run freezers at – 70oC  rather than – 80oC (saving 25% in energy or £300 per year); support LEAF green lab accreditation, which promotes best practice; and are introducing chiller units and waterless condensers, which respectively cut energy use and save around 1.2m litres of water a year. We are also working with industry partners to transform our approaches to recycling of instruments, solvents and plastics.”

Nottingham’s technicians are meanwhile meeting counterparts across the Midlands Midlands Innovation network of research-intensive universities to discuss a strategic approach to advancing sustainability across the region. The Carbon Neutral Laboratory on Jubilee Campus is set to host a sustainability conference for Midlands Innovation universities in November.

Kelly Vere, Director of Technical Skills and Strategy, said: “This been a demanding and challenging year for our technicians and I am delighted their contribution and that of the Technical Sustainability Working Group has been recognised by our partners, Enva. Technicians are at the forefront of innovation and their specialist skills and knowledge are key to the delivery of the university’s sustainability strategy.”

Andy Nolan, Director of Development and Sustainability, added: “The university is committed to reducing its environmental impact. Cutting consumption and ensuring materials are re-used and recycled is a key part of that. Our technicians are doing great things to improve the environmental performance of laboratories and I am delighted they have received recognition – it is fully deserved.”

Find out more about sustainability at the University of Nottingham





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