Certifiably green, lab awarded international sustainability honor
Collaboration between two Great Lake utility laboratories earns high marks for both
Thousands of utilities across the country manage laboratories. Only four such labs have earned a world-renowned green lab certification.
We’re one of them.
Our Analytical Services department recently achieved a Silver-level My Green Labs certification, acknowledging our ongoing sustainability work focused on cost-saving and environmental impact.
My Green Lab is an international non-profit focused on creating ways for labs to better their resource use and environmental impact. We are one of four water/wastewater utility labs in the U.S. to achieve this level of certification and join over 2,000 certified laboratories across the world.
“Being recognized internationally means we’re all doing our own little bit,” said Analytical Services Manager Cheryl Soltis-Muth. “We have to pull together as a planet, not just a sewer district or even just a country.”
A fellow utility that earned My Green Lab certification status also sits on the shore of a Great Lake, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District. The fact that both agencies were navigating the application process at the same time allowed for collaboration along the way, sharing advice to advance their shared sustainability cause.
“We met virtually monthly,” said MMSD Lab Project Manager Zach Vogel, “going over our struggles and our successes, ideas between us, helping each other make progress.”
Both utilities had long-established sustainability practices already underway, conserving resources and reducing waste. But additional efforts enhanced their certification application, including initiatives like our employee-driven disposable gloves recycling effort that launched in October and will keep tens of thousands of disposable gloves out of landfills in a typical year.
“It was just so eye-opening for us,” our Analytical Services Manager Cheryl Soltis-Muth said. “Our lab procedures are set by methodology and regulations, but we can be even more sustainable.”
Milwaukee’s Lab Supervisor Jessica Nanes agreed: “We always advocate that customers make more sustainable decisions. We have make that same commitment as a district as well.”
The certification also allows for advancement with every recertification opportunity, Lab Data Analyst Stacie Hark added. “We can’t just stand still,” she said, “we’ll continue to make improvements and continue to educate every year.”