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Laboratory Process Modification Opportunities

There are many chemical process substitution opportunities for laboratories. Please consider incorporating as many of the following into your research as practicable. The environment will benefit and so will your laboratory.

Analytical Equipment Modifications:

  • Instrumentation and automation upgrades.
  • Use of capillary columns in gas chromatographs instead of micropore or large-diameter columns, and capillary or micropore columns in high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) instead of large-bore columns.
  • Smaller-volume, multielement standards purchased that can be used for both AA and ICP.
  • 3M Empore disks used for organic solid-phase extraction (EPA Method 525).
  • TCLP: use of 1L of water to wash filtration vessel rather than 3L; use of a 25-mL extract rather than 50 mL.


  • Adding a treatment or deactivation step to procedures (check with EH&S before proceeding).
  • Adding distillation steps to experimental procedures to recover solvents.
  • Neutralizing and distilling methanol/acetic acid/radioactive isotope solutions from gel electrophoresis studies and reusing the methanol.

Radioactive Material Use Modifications:

  • Supercompaction of solid radioactive waste;
  • Storing for decay short half-life radioactive or mixed waste.
  • Use of 2.5-mL scintillation minivials rather than 10-mL (adapters available for 10-mL racks).
  • Use of membranes to count cells, rather than scintillation fluid (P-32 counted without scintillation fluid by the Cerenkov method on the tritium setting of a liquid scintillation counter - 40% efficiency).
  • I-125 counted without scintillation fluid in a gamma counter.

Other Possibilities:

  • A change or simplification of procedure, e.g., eliminating the methanol gel fixing step in gel electrophoresis if it is not necessary (eliminates methanol, acetic acid and radioactive mixed waste).
  • Use of microscaling techniques

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