Envisioning Safe and Sustainable Labs with Human-Centered System Design

The purpose of the study is to explore disposable laboratory material flow on campus using Human-centered System Design (HCSD). We used Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) campus as a testbed to conduct the experimental study for sustainable innovation. We selected four types of labs: biological, chemical, material, and mechanical engineering, and two makerspaces to interview principal investigators (PI) and shop managers about building safe, sustainable labs. Besides field research and interviews, we launched a survey of lab pipette tip boxes as a case study to have more in-depth material flow information from procurement to disposal. The aim of the study is to refine lab material purchasing, inventory management, recycling and disposal to identify pain points and opportunities to make lab material flow more sustainable and safer on campus.