JAX conducts second annual waste audit
BAR HARBOR — The Jackson Laboratory conducted its second annual waste audit on June 15 in the Bar Harbor campus visitor parking lot. Leading this process was Levi Rogersresponsible for the lab’s sustainability program, assisted by Savannah Averitt, summer student in sustainability intern, and Loman Morneault, facilities and grounds technician.
During the audit, which lasted approximately six hours, the team sorted through a day’s worth of discarded resources, separating materials into different bins by category and weighing each bin to analyze the waste profile. from the laboratory. The data will help the lab develop better waste disposal systems to divert more useful or reusable resources from landfills or incinerators. The contents of the audit include all laboratory waste except mouse litter, food waste, recycled gloves, scrap metal, pallets, electronic waste and hazardous materials.
The waste totaled 4,226 pounds. Of this, 3,462 pounds, or 82%, was designated as landfill, and an additional 740 pounds (17%) of cardboard was collected separately for recycling.
According to the lab, there was a surprising amount of plastic film, including trash bags, plastic wrap, and plastic sheeting. This category weighed 600 pounds (14 percent), or the weight of 4,286 large 50-gallon garbage bags.
Food bags were also numerous and represented 439 pounds (10%) of the equipment audited. The remaining categories – glass, metal, board/cardboard, plastics and paper – together accounted for just 4% of the total.
Compared to the 2021 waste audit, the laboratory has increased its total waste generation by approximately 11%. To put the numbers into perspective, in just two days the amount of waste created by the lab would be equal to the weight of an average-sized elephant. Lab representatives say there is room for improvement, and the team plans to follow up this waste audit with a variety of initiatives to reduce the lab’s environmental impacts.
“As an institution with such a large footprint in Downeast Maine, it’s critical for JAX to identify opportunities to safely manage our waste and minimize waste generation,” Rogers said. “Our second annual waste audit is just one initiative as part of our broader sustainability efforts and I am proud of the work we are doing at JAX to continue to advance our sustainability initiatives and reduce our environmental impact.”
To learn more about Jackson Laboratory’s sustainability initiatives, visit www.jax.org/about-us/our-impact/environmental-impact.