Chemical guidance

Chemicals used in labs have environmental and health implications throughout their lifecycle, from their manufacturing and use, through to disposal. But there are ways to minimise their negative impacts. 

Reducing the amount of Chemicals

Chemicals in labs are key to mitigating many of these harmful impacts. Reducing the amount of chemicals in labs can have other benefits such as saving money on both purchase and disposals, saving energy and minimising waste. Buying large quantities of chemicals might be cheaper, but are you going to use all of it?

Consider what quantities are required before purchasing, especially if the chemicals have short use-by dates. Check the UoN ChemInventory to see if the chemical you require (see below).


Using safer alternatives

Investigate if safer alternatives are available, including greener chemicals and solvents. For example, SYBR Safe and MegaFluor instead of ethidium bromide and cyclohexane instead of hexane. 



Use of the university's ChemInventory system is a Health and Saftey requirment. Users are encouraged to make their databases visible to other groups and departments. Speak to your saftey coordinator for more infomation. 

ChemInventory also has other uses: 

  • Prevent order duplication (stocks can be checked)
  • Prevent chemicals being forgotten and unused before their expiry date
  • Increase auditability and compliance with regulations and requirements (watch lists can be curated to assit making checks easier)
  • Reduce delays to experiments whilst waiting for chemical deliveries 
  • Lower research and lab costs


Useful links to green chemical/solvents:

CHEM21 selection guide of classical and less classical-solvents 

GlaxoSmithKline reagent selection guide for different chemical reactions 

GlaxoSmithKline solvent sustainability guide 

Guide for the selection of green chromatography solvents 

Expanding GlaxoSmithKline solvent selection guide – embedding sustainability into solvent selection starting at medicinal chemistry

Sustainability Team

Estate Office, University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RD