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Medlab Middle East 2024 to Highlight Importance of Sustainability in Laboratories

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 23 Jan 2024
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Image: The ‘Sustainability in the Laboratory’ conference takes place on February 8 at the Medlab Middle East Congress (Photo courtesy of Informa Markets)
Image: The ‘Sustainability in the Laboratory’ conference takes place on February 8 at the Medlab Middle East Congress (Photo courtesy of Informa Markets)

Laboratories, known for their high energy usage, typically consume tenfold more power compared to commercial office spaces. This significant consumption underscores the importance of sustainability, a key focus at the upcoming 'Sustainability in the Lab' conference during Medlab Middle East 2024. Organized by Informa Markets Healthcare (London, UK), Medlab Middle is the largest medical laboratory exhibition in the region. The conference will spotlight the need for environmentally responsible practices in the healthcare sector, with leading experts scheduled to speak at the event.

Laboratories, well known for their resource-heavy operations, use significantly more energy and water than standard commercial offices – up to ten and four times more, respectively. Additionally, labs contribute to environmental strain by generating about 5.5 million metric tons of plastic waste yearly. Recognizing these challenges, many labs and pharmaceutical companies are proactively adopting measures to reduce their environmental footprint. The ‘Sustainability in the Laboratory’ conference at Medlab Middle East aims to bring this critical issue to the forefront. Scheduled for 8 February at the Medlab Middle East Congress, this CME Accredited event will convene experts from the UAE, US, UK, and Germany. These professionals will discuss their experiences and strategies for fostering eco-friendly initiatives in labs, enlightening attendees on sustainable practices that not only enhance operational efficiency but also mitigate environmental impact. Implementing these practices can lead to significant gains, including waste reduction and increased productivity.

Despite the lack of formal guidelines, laboratories can still make impactful changes, such as switching off idle lights and equipment and transitioning to energy-efficient LED lighting. Regular maintenance of equipment, using taps over pure water, and proper waste segregation are vital steps. The heavy reliance of labs on plastic items, like gloves, tubes, and single-use pipette tips, makes plastic recycling and reuse programs crucial for waste reduction. Additionally, laboratories can adopt ACT labels – which are akin to eco-nutrition labels for lab products – that outline the Accountability, Consistency, and Transparency in production, energy and water consumption, and end-of-life disposal for laboratory items.

Dr. Nehmat El Banna, Clinical Pathology Specialist and CEO of Freiburg Medical (Dubai, UAE), who will be speaking at the ‘Sustainability in the Laboratory’ conference believes that the topic is a crucial part of the healthcare system in general. Since the last five years, Freiburg Medical has continued to implement sustainable practices across its facility in the UAE such as the use of energy-efficient LED lighting, reduction of water usage, and utilization of instruments that are more environmentally friendly. In addition, the company works closely with its suppliers to ensure the adoption of sustainable practices.

“Laboratories are a significant player in the healthcare industry and are known to be the highest users of energy in the sector,” said Dr. Nehmat El Banna. “Climate change has a direct consequence on human health. There will be higher temperatures, more adverse weather events, and poorer air quality which leads to more illnesses, and infectious diseases will spread more easily. All of this will place a greater burden on the healthcare industry. While climate change is a complex issue with many contributing factors, the health of future generations is of paramount importance to us as a sector. We must, therefore, address the environmental footprint of laboratories and take action to mitigate the effects of our operations.”

“As the region’s largest medical laboratory exhibition and congress, sustainability has become a paramount focus for Medlab Middle East,” added Tom Coleman, Exhibition Director, Informa Markets Healthcare, who agrees that even small initiatives can make a difference. “Even small conservation efforts can lead to significant environmental and cost benefits for laboratories, this is why laboratory sustainability is becoming a top priority.”

Related Links:
Informa Markets Healthcare
Freiburg Medical

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