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generated waste - How much is our research costing us? (Feb/06/2009 )

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rkay447 on Feb 13 2009, 07:41 AM said:

Well, shoot. I thought this would for sure turn out to be a lively discussion here on the forum but it obviously flopped. Perhaps I should take this as a hint of what would happen with this topic at my program "roundtable". Hmmm... that's a shame since it's an important topic to consider.

Or you can follow the money...somehow, if the cost of the collection/disposal is in dollar/euro/gold value rather than in weight or volume of waste, we can appreciate more how much cancer research is really costing us (its fraction of the total research cost). This would also facilitate your inquiry since payment for such services is centralised (the contract of the waste management company is with the whole university or hospital and not individual labs) and is usually collected from all the PIs grants specifically tagged for this purpose. You just have to convince the accounting department to give you some figures.

As an offshoot, this same company is probably servicing the other institutions within your area as well, I doubt if there's a lot of competition for this kind of business. And perhaps they might be persuaded to release the figures as well. At least you can have an idea for your area or city and can extrapolate from there. Btw, we shld also consider that in some places waste is still being dumped down the sink or in regular trash (the undeclared/undetected cost), hopefully the incidence wouldn't be high.


Good points Casandra. Your comment on the benefit coming from research is ever more of a driver.

I was responsible for solid waste policy for multinational R&D and marketing company as well as a member of a large municipalities garbage commission. This concern, in context of overall trash production, is trivial. Scientists should maintain their discipline outside of their immediate research - get the data rather than be driven by feelings of guilt and I believe you'll see your efforts to be gesture.

For grad students, please don't get distracted from your research.

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