The Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health will soon be home to a disposable glove recycling program.

Dr. Kiran Soma’s laboratory will be leading the charge on this initiative. Starting October 6, single-use disposable nitrile/latex gloves can be deposited every second Wednesday from 3–5 pm outside of room F128 in Koerner Pavilion. There will be two streams of glove recycling, one specifically for all Kimberly-Clark brand gloves (recycled through Kimberly-Clark RightCycle), and one for every other brand (recycled through TerraCycle Zero Waste).

The idea to start recycling laboratory gloves first came to PhD student Melody Salehzadeh during the pandemic, when there was more down time to think about the impact laboratory plastics have on the environment.

“Last year around this time, some of us in the lab were noticing how much waste was being produced, and it got me thinking about ways to reduce our waste in science labs,” says Salehzadeh. “Even during COVID when we were at reduced capacity, we started to collect gloves and it was a crazy amount, so it’s probably even more now.”

UBC estimates that approximately 7 million single-use gloves are disposed of in UBC laboratories each year. This amounts to roughly 28 tonnes of gloves, which is nearly 30 per cent of the total plastic waste generated by UBC labs, most of which are sent to the landfill. By participating in this glove recycling initiative, plastic gloves are turned into other products such as outdoor furniture through the Kimberly-Clark RightCycle and TerraCycle Zero Waste programs.

The Soma lab team was awarded an AMS Sustainability Project Fund to kick-start this initiative in the DMCBH, which aligns with UBC’s Zero Waste Action Plan to reduce waste being sent to landfills.

Salehzadeh hopes this will be a long-term project with ongoing glove collection. For now, all brand gloves will be accepted, but as Kimberly-Clark partners with UBC and recycles gloves for free, they hope to encourage labs to make the switch to Kimberly-Clark gloves for future purchases. Currently only gloves will be accepted, but the team is looking to expand eligible materials in the future.

“I am very proud of Melody and the other students in my lab who helped with this important student-led initiative to greatly reduce plastic waste at the DMCBH,” says Dr. Kiran Soma.

With nearly 200 trainees and 14 labs housed in Koerner and the Centre for Brain Health, the goal is to make the Centre a greener place.

“As scientists we’re supposed to be role models for the rest of society, and I think this is a great opportunity to launch an initiative that could really make a difference,” says Salehzadeh.

 

Details:

  • Glove collection starts on Wednesday October 6 from 3–5 pm
  • Collection will continue every second Wednesday from 3–5 pm until the end of April
  • Drop off is outside room F128 in Koerner Pavilion, near Melanie Bertrand’s office
  • All brand gloves will be accepted, however please keep Kimberly-Clark gloves separate from all other brands
  • Please note this is a competition between labs! The lab who recycles the most gloves will win a prize in May!
  • If you have any questions, please reach out to the DMCBH and Koerner CBH glove recycling team (gloverecyclingcbh@gmail.com) or Melody Salehzadeh directly (msalehzadeh@zoology.ubc.ca)

 

Congratulations to all the students involved in this initiative!

  • Michelle Jung: MSc student
  • Anna Mazurenko: undergraduate student
  • Emma Lam: undergraduate student
  • Cindy Shi: undergraduate student
  • Eashan Halbe: undergraduate student
  • Taylor Bootsma: undergraduate student