CiBB's GreenLabs celebrates 2 years of existence


Today marks the 2nd anniversary of the GreenLabs initiative of the Center for Innovation in Biomedicine and Biotechnology (CiBB), an R&D unit that includes CNC-UC, iCBR-FMUC, MIA-Portugal and GeneT.

Since 2022, CiBB, as a research and innovation center of public utility, has been conducting a Green Lab with the aim of joining this chain of sustainable research.

This initiative promotes the implementation of daily sustainable practices in research laboratories in order to reduce the carbon and energy footprint and mitigate the environmental impact of research, with the clear aim of protecting the environment. These practices are carried out while maintaining research quality and excellence and within health and safety standards.

Implementing solutions to reduce the ecological footprint has been adopted by a growing number of universities and research centers around the world. Through this initiative, the daily waste associated with research has already been reduced, encouraging practices of reducing, reusing and recycling materials, the practice of more environmentally friendly purchases (products/equipment) has been encouraged, the conscious printing of documents has been appealed to, the practice of sustainable travel and the holding of eco-conscious events has been encouraged and studies to quantify the different waste produced have been supported.

CiBB, taking on this commitment to implement sustainable practices and following a course of action to reduce its ecological footprint, became a member of the Portuguese Network of Sustainable Research Laboratories - Green Labs Portugal (GLPT) Green Labs Portugal - Green Labs Portugal Website, on March 23, 2022. That same year, on April 21, the Portuguese network became a member of the European Sustainable Labs Network - SELs Network (

Networking has been the key to involving everyone in the CiBB community around the overriding common goal of protecting the environment! Thus, 2 teams were created: greenCore and greenKeeper. The greenCore team is made up of 12 members, 4 from each of the 3 CiBB Hubs, who support the implementation of the activities in coordination with the CiBB management. The greenKeeper team is made up of one member from each research group, who plays a key role in passing on the information they receive to the rest of their colleagues and to the head of the research group. They are also responsible for bringing issues, problems, ideas and initiatives from their group to the GreenLabsCiBB teams for discussion.

The people who make up these teams are:
Miranda Mele, Ana Cardoso, Inês Roxo, Diana Santos, Jessica Silva, Catarina Miranda, Sónia Duarte, Bárbara Santos, Daniela Costa, Rosa Resende, Emanuel Candeias, Luís Grilo, Filipa Silva, Cátia Marques, Mariana Afonso, Inês Pinto, Marisa Azul, Ana Batista, Hélène Léger, André Alves, Maria Cardoso, Ana Isabel Sebastião, Sandra Amaral, Nuno Lavoura, Eliane Swely, Eurico Pereira, Beatriz Martins, Pedro Marques, Hugo Ferreira, Luís Ribeiro, Olga Borges, Ana Raquel Santiago, Carla Marques, Henrique Girão, Teresa Cruz, Sandra Mota, Bruno Manadas, Manuela Ferreira, Isaura Simões, Cândida Mendes, João Peça, Luísa Cortes, Susana Alarico

On 22 September 2023, GreenLabsCiBB took part in the organization of the first national symposium of the GLPT Network: “Green Labs Portugal Symposium: Promoting Sustainability in Research”, hosted by the University of Coimbra, with the support of the Office of the Pro-Rector for Planning and Sustainability and the support of the Sustainable Development Goals Office. The aim was to promote reflection on how to reduce the environmental impact associated with scientific research activity. The event ended in the UC Botanical Garden with the planting of a tree (Apollonias barbujana). An event with as little impact as possible was promoted, calling for participants to be transported in the most eco-conscious way possible. There were 6.3 kg of food left over from the lunch and coffee breaks, which were reused and no food was wasted. 

In addition to its contribution to solid and liquid waste management, which involves informing and training people, organizing spaces and conditions, another of GreenLabsCIBB's initiatives is to implement strategies for reusing surplus materials resulting from the scientific and social activities of its researchers. These materials, which previously went to the garbage dump or to recycling and ended up not being valued, have now been given a second life! As a result, a collection point for these materials was set up at each of the three Hubs and the surplus materials are now directed elsewhere and have other destinations or new uses. Some of these materials are now selectively collected for recycling and recovery. Some examples of these practices are:

- Collection of hard ice and gel sheets: 2,392 units were sent to CHUC's Immunoallergology and Pharmacy services, Blood Bank, Sports Clubs, Schools and Associations
- Selective collection of styrofoam boxes: 744 kg collected separately from other materials to be 100% recovered and 100% recycled
- Collection of umbrellas: 35 units delivered to a company to be transformed into sustainable clothing
- Collection of cardboard rolls: around 1,500 units were used, after being sterilized, by the vivarium and animal behavior rooms.
- Collection of coffee capsules: 281 kg of capsules collected contributed to the donation of 78 tons of rice to the Food Bank.
- Collection of pens/ ballpoint pens/ markers: 547 units delivered to an organization for refilling and reuse
- Bottle caps, ink cartridges and batteries are examples of other materials for which there is a collection point and correct disposal, either for recycling or reuse.

GreenLabsCIBB also aims to encourage other UC Centers, Departments and Units to create dynamics in order to significantly reduce their ecological footprint. In the long term, these initiatives also have a positive impact on the institutions' finances, reducing waste costs and saving energy and resources.

Sustainable living is a global effort and it is reasonable that, in the near future, more and more support structures and sustainability policies will be created.

© CNC-UC | Rita Félix

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