Congratulations to staff in the Marine Institute on the publication of their research article last month in the Public Library of Science Sustainability and Transformation journal. The paper, entitled “Reducing environmental impacts of marine biotoxin monitoring: A laboratory report” provides details of specific interventions applied to single-use plastics, polystyrene packaging, hazardous chemicals, paper, and energy. We applaud the way in which the authors took a ‘cradle-to-grave’ approach, by interrogating practices from collection of shellfish samples, through to testing for the regulated marine biotoxins.
Just over 3,000 shellfish samples were tested for biotoxins in the Marine Institute in 2019, requiring 5,700 tests for 23 different analytes. The first opportunity for improved sustainability was the diversion from landfill/incineration of polystyrene boxes in which shellfish samples were shipped from all over Ireland to the institute. Boxes are now cleaned prior to being compacted for recycling by Offaly-based ‘Waste Matters’ (https://wastematters.ie/waste-matters), into fish boxes or insulation for the construction industry. Next, 200 ml plastic containers, previously used to hold shellfish samples, were replaced by a compostable cardboard equivalent.