The Facts

Fig. 1

How much waste is there?

Reagents are wasted as a natural byproduct of engaging in scientific research. But how much waste are we talking about? We visited a local biotech company to find out.

Fig. 1   This is a cold room where scientists store reagents that must be refrigerated. A cold room this size is shared by several laboratories and represents just one of many in the building. 

 

75%

Wasted reagents: expired, brand new or lightly used

100%

Wasted reagents that could have been donated.

0%

System in place to streamline reagent donations


Fig. 2

What types of reagents are being wasted?

Scientists often purchase kits to test their hypotheses which can cost thousands of dollars. The kit pictured below was purchased to measure inflammation in humans. Today this kit costs $2,440. It was found, still wrapped, in a cold room in 2015, fourteen years after its expiration date.


Fig. 3

What can we do about the waste?

This kit was purchased to measure the human response to a viral infection. It costs $3,195, on sale. The project it was purchased for changed directions and it was no longer needed, four of five tests remain new and unused. It was sent to a scientist at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and used to further their research. 

 
 

Summary

There is currently no system in place to streamline donations from well funded labs to those in need. The Reagent Project answers this need by providing a mechanism through which reagents are donated, inventoried on our website and made available to vetted scientists and educators. Donate today by clicking the link below.