July 15, 2008
Some scientists are really making an effort to make their own labs environmentally benign. I discovered the term in reference to Angela Belcher’s work using environmentally benign viruses.
One goal for amateur biologists and DIYers is to figure out how to operate in ways that are “environmentally benign”, especially in the following areas:
(1) REAGENTS: Can they be stored safely?
(2) EXPERIMENTAL OUTCOMES: This may be most important for SynBio experiments. Anything that cannot live in the backyard, or safely go down the sink, might be a problem for researchers at home (and their neighbors).
(3) WASTE: Unlike institutional scientists, amateur biologist working at home may not have access to appropriate waste disposal, other than say, a workroom sink and a trash can.
For DIYbio to be accepted as a hobby that is permissible for members of any local community to engage-in, concerns about environmental impact and safety will need to be addressed. The development of a framework which identifies practices as “environmentally benign” or not, might be a good place to start.