From the Lab Bench To the Park Bench:
Transforming pipet tip boxes into park benches, picnic tables, playgrounds and more

The UBC Okanagan Sustainability Office, Campus Planning & Development is working with campus laboratories to improve the diversion of overall campus waste through lab plastics recycling programs.

Expanding on the successful Lab Plastics Recycling Program, the Sustainability Office is launching the Pipet Tip Box Recycling Program: From the Lab Bench To the Park Bench. This program offers undergraduate and research labs a sustainable mechanism to minimize their environmental impact by reducing the amount of reusable plastic material entering the waste stream. Plastic that would otherwise end up in the landfill where it can take 450 – 1000 to breakdown is now collected and turned into plastic pellets that end up becoming a park bench, or other items made from similar material.

How does the program work?

The Pipet Tip Box Recycling Program: From the Lab Bench To the Park Bench is a TerraCycle recycling program provided through VWR International, a UBC BuySmart preferred supplier and Sustainable Partner of laboratory supplies to UBC’s Okanagan campus.

Blue and white collection boxes, provided to participating labs by the Sustainability Office, are delivered and ready to start collecting clean, empty pipet tip boxes used by lab faculty, staff and students. Once filled, the participating lab coordinates collection of the box with the Sustainability Office and a replacement box is delivered and ready to start the process again.


What can be recycled?

Accepted Material

  • Clean, empty pipet tip boxes

Not Accepted

  • Any material not identified on Accepted Material list
  • Products containing hazardous materials

How can I participate?

  1. Contact the Sustainability Office to request a new or replacement collection box.
    • When registered your lab will have a short meeting with the Advisor, Sustainability to review the program and to receive the collection box
    • It is advised that one or two individuals are identified as contact person(s) and are leads for this program to ensure coordination of full box removal and replacement is completed as required.
  2. Place uncontaminated #5 plastic pipet tip boxes in collection box.
  3. Contact the Sustainability Office to coordinate removal and replacement of full box.

What happens to the collected pipet tip boxes?

The collected pipet tip boxes are recycled into pellets used to make park benches and other items of similar material. Click here for more information on how TerraCycle transforms garbage into new products and in the process is changing the way we think about and treat waste.

Program Lifecycle 

Program Contact

For more information and to register for this program, contact the Sustainability Office.