illustrations of recyclable lab items

Lab Plastic Recycling

Recycling in labs can be a complicated task. Which items can be recycled and which ones can't? To make the job easier, we've developed a handy guide for lab users.

Recyclable items

Recyclable plastics include #1, #2, #4 and #5. The following items are acceptable for recycling if clean and decontaminated:

  • Air pillows
  • Bags
  • Plastic lab bottles 
  • Pipette tip holders and boxes
  • Large conical tubes

Non-recyclable items

Non-recyclable plastics include #3, #6 and #7. The following items are not acceptable for recycling:

  • Packaging other than bags
  • Multi-well plates
  • Freezer packs
  • Small conical tubs
  • Petri dishes
  • Pipettes and pipette tips
  • White polystyrene trays

Items that are smaller than a fist or made with mixed materials are not acceptable for recycling.

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Why Green Labs? 

Research activities are resource intensive compared to the needs of traditional classrooms. At the University of Alberta, buildings with labs currently use 43 per cent more energy than others. Some of this impact can be mitigated by greening the university's labs.

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Office of Sustainability