The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) has announced the first round of projects that will receive funding under its Sustainable Laboratories programme. The initiative, which aims to make chemistry research greener, was launched in 2022 following a global survey that found that 84% of chemical scientists in industry and academia wanted to do more to enhance the environmental sustainability of their labs.

The RSC has now selected 33 projects across 11 countries for funding, which will receive grants worth a combined £305,000. ‘The projects selected represent a broad range of sustainability topics across the whole of chemistry – from greener analytical techniques to reducing plastic waste – and are expected to inspire and inform others in the chemistry community with ideas and guidance on how to improve the environmental footprint of their labs,’ the RSC stated.

Several of the projects will examine the use of solvents – including how they can be recycled, used more sustainably, or replaced with safer alternatives – as well as how to better manage water in the lab, recycle palladium waste, and address the use of plastic consumables like pipette tips. Many of the initiatives will also focus on education and training in lab sustainability. A second round of funding will open on 2 September 2024.

In October 2022, when the RSC announced the Sustainable Laboratories programme, the organisation’s head of research and innovation, Deirdre Black, laid out for Chemistry World 12 reasons for scientists to go greener in the lab. ‘Doing the right thing’ earned the number one spot, while saving money and increasing efficiency were also included on her list.