Green tips: shared good laboratory practices

NeuroMarseille is committed to promoting sustainable development and ecological practices in its laboratory network. In this article, discover the actions of the Fresnel Institute!

Estimated reading time : 6 min

The Fresnel Institute, represented by the MOSAIC team at NeuroMarseille, may look like any other laboratory, with its experimental rooms and its office furniture. But if you walk there one day, you may notice how easy it is to move around. No cardboard boxes or any materials cluttering up the walkway, this is the result of the implementation of a number of good practices at the institute, and this is just the beginning!

Environmentalists’ hands cupping plants earth day campaign

Training and awareness

Ecological and sustainable development practices surely are topics of current interest, but it is not always well known how to implement them or make people more familiar with them. The Fresnel Institute, in conjunction with the Aix-Marseille University, participates in teaching modules named “Physics and Climate Science” in bachelor’s degree. Moreover, training and workshops for laboratory staff such as “La Fresque du Climat“, have been initiated. The management and members of laboratories are mobilized to make these changes happen: at the Fresnel Institute, Thomas Chaigne, CNRS researcher, has been appointed Vice President of Sustainable Development and tries to set tools for the laboratories to get more effective. The idea is, of course, to make practices more popular: at the IM2NP for instance, a large multidisciplinary research unit in Physic of the CNRS, about 200 people are invested in these types of practices, Thomas says.


Good practices: the basics

At the Fresnel Institute, as it is already the case elsewhere, Aix-Marseille University regularly collects used materials such as paper and printer cartridges, but also office furniture once a year. However, for a few time now, efforts are being made to increase ecological practices: cardboard packaging, which represents an amount of 50 kg of waste per month in the lab, is now collected by a company called Lemon Tri, which offers a range of services and equipment adapted to places like laboratories, such as deposit and logistics. The company proposes innovative solutions and promotes local economy, principles that convinced the institute.

Cycling has been encouraged at the Fresnel Institute, and became so popular that corridors started to get cluttered with bikes! Because there was no place to park them elsewhere, the institute hence decided to provide staff with a bicycle shelter and some repair equipment ordered through the Alveole Program, an initiative of the French Federation of Bicycle Users (FUB), which proposes partial payment of the facility. In addition to promoting a simple and practical use of the bicycles, it offers a way to keep them safe from robbery.

NeuroMarseille direction immediately asked if the same initiative could be done on other campuses (Timone for a start): the Dean agreed to carry the project which is now in the hands of the DEPIL for the next programming of development works. Interested in St Charles or Luminy? Please let us know!


Stop air pollution. Carbon dioxide reduction, environmental damage, atmosphere protection. Toxic emission problem. Ecology volunteer cartoon character. Vector isolated concept metaphor illustration

Go further

If you have ever been interested in ecology, you probably already heard about the carbon footprint, the amount of CO2 emitted by an object, a company, or a human being, in its way of life or functioning. Well, the Fresnel Institute is currently using an online software that allows calculating the footprint of some of the laboratory’s activities: GES 1point5. This free and open software has been developed by the scientific group Labos 1point5 (supported by CNRS, INRAE and ADEME) in order to build the regulatory greenhouse gas balance (GHG) of laboratories. Carbon footprint for activities such as mission travelling, building-related emissions or electronic orders can be calculated to be integrated in ecological studies and work towards the objectives of the Paris agreements.


NeuroMarseille and its laboratories are also willing to become involved in changing behavior in the face of climate issues. Green Tips is a new format of articles to spread information on what is done, can be done, and impulse awareness through the neuroscience community. Meet us soon for a new article about good practices in laboratories!

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