ATU Galway science laboratories achieve international sustainability certification

ATU laboratory staff, from left: Miriam Gill, Brian Casey, Colette Coughlan, John Kennedy, Mary Veldon, Bernadette Armstrong, Maura Kelly, Aisling Crowley, Katie O'Dwyer, Siobhán Hannan, Sheila Faherty, Joan O'Keeffe, all at ATU Galway city campus.

ATU laboratory staff, from left: Miriam Gill, Brian Casey, Colette Coughlan, John Kennedy, Mary Veldon, Bernadette Armstrong, Maura Kelly, Aisling Crowley, Katie O'Dwyer, Siobhán Hannan, Sheila Faherty, Joan O'Keeffe, all at ATU Galway city campus.

The ATU Galway City campus has been awarded My Green Lab certification in recognition of work by staff and students in making all teaching science laboratories on campus more sustainable. My Green Lab certification is an international gold standard for best practice in laboratory sustainability which is recognised in the United Nations’ Race to Zero campaign as a key achievement in working towards a zero-carbon future.

Sustainable laboratory practices are key to preparing graduates who are sustainability-literate, environmentally conscious, and capable of using green solutions in their future employment. The My Green Lab certification achieved within the School of Science and Computing provides an impressive example of the ongoing work in sustainability across the university.

Following a baseline assessment conducted in 2021, a dedicated team of staff and students worked towards improving laboratory practices in all the teaching laboratories across ATU Galway-Mayo’s School of Science and Computing.

Aileen Gill, green labs and chemistry technician at ATU Galway City, said: “We have reduced our use of energy, water, and plastics across all our labs. For example, we have reduced single-use plastic cuvettes by 75 per cent following a pilot study demonstrating that cuvettes could be reused in chemistry practicals without affecting experimental results.”

Dr Mark Kelly, head of the Centre for Sustainability at ATU Galway-Mayo, added: “Many staff and students have been involved in the project over the past year, providing broad perspectives on how to make lab practices more sustainable. Strong support from management and the community that has developed are further driving forces behind the success of the project which links in with sustainability commitments across the university and nationally through the Irish Green Labs Network.”

Dr Orla Flynn, president of ATU, said sustainability was very much to the fore in ATU. "The My Green Lab certification reflects the hard work of our staff and students in addressing sustainability goals on our campuses. Ideally we will see this replicated across all our campuses," she added.

Dr Des Foley, head of the School of Science and Computing, ATU Galway-Mayo, said: "It is particularly gratifying to achieve a range of awards up to the highest 'green' accolade for all our science laboratory disciplines on the campus including biology, chemistry, physics, molecular and medical science, microbiology, and biochemistry, which achieved the top marks. It shows a huge level of commitment from staff and students to bring us to this level.”

For further information on programmes in ATU Galway-Mayo’s School of Science and Computing, see www.gmit.ie/schools-campuses/school-of-science-and-computing

 

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