Two Strathclyde projects are among 33 worldwide to receive new Sustainable Laboratories Grants from the Royal Society of Chemistry.

The £10,000 grants are aimed at enhancing the environmental footprint of chemistry research, facilitating a move towards more sustainable practices.

Dr Christine Davidson and Dr Shiao Chow from Pure & Applied Chemistry both received awards.

Plastic waste

Dr Davidson’s project ‘Improving the sustainability of trace element analysis through plastic sample vial re-use’ will investigate the chemical and physical properties of ‘disposable’ polypropylene sample tubes with the goal of developing a cleaning protocol that allows them to be recycled. This will reduce the amount of single-use plastic waste generated by analytical laboratories worldwide.

Dr Chow’s project ‘Closing the Loop in Sustainable Metal Catalysis in the Laboratory’ will develop metal trapping devices that can capture and recover platinum group metals from complex reaction mixtures. The proposed laboratory-friendly metal recovery system will ensure precious metals can be recaptured for future use.

Environmental footprint

The panel selected 33 projects for funding, across 11 countries, with a total of £305,000 awarded. They 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.

Each went through a rigorous review and decision-making process involving members of the Society’s Researcher Grants Peer Review Group, and an expert decision panel.

Professor Helen Sneddon, Chair of the Sustainable Laboratories Grants Decision Panel, said: “We hope that this announcement inspires others to apply for funding in the next round, and to start conversations about sustainable laboratories in their own organisations.”