3039 lbs

Laboratory Glove Recycling Initiative 

Do you want to reduce your lab's plastic waste? Do you use gloves while handling non-hazardous material? 

In an effort to reduce the amount of plastic waste generated by scientific laboratories on campus, CNSI, with support from The Green Initiative Fund, has developed a program to divert our uncontaminated glove waste from landfill to a recycling center to give the plastic a second life as new products.

During a two-year pilot program we diverted over 3000 lbs of plastic, just in the form of uncontaminated laboratory single-use gloves, and expanded to over 40 labs in 10 participating departments!

Our aim in the upcoming year is to expand to more labs to successfully recycle a larger portion of uncontaminated nitrile gloves used on campus. All labs are eligible to participate.

Instead of spending centuries in our local landfill, your gloves will be sent to a processing facility so they can be repurposed into new products, reducing the amount of virgin material needed and the amount of plastic waste generated by our community.

Glove Recycling Bin

 Program Operation:

  • Each participating lab is given a specific, marked receptacle to collect uncontaminated and powder-free nitrile gloves. 
  • ONLY gloves are allowed in this recycling stream.
  • “Uncontaminated” material can include light contamination from non-toxic chemicals as long as they are rinsed and dried prior to disposal.
  • DO NOT include any gloves that are considered biohazardous or hazardous waste, dispose of these correctly through EH&S hazardous waste pickup.
  • Every other month an email will be sent around asking that you leave the recycling bin outside the lab for collection.
  • All recycled gloves will be consolidated at CNSI and shipped to the PolyCarbin distribution center in Northern California

Unacceptable Materials

  • Latex and Vinyl Gloves, Trash, Pipet tips, Glass, Kimwipes, Tape, Paper Towels
  • Gloves that come in contact with:
    • hazardous waste
    • pathological or surgical waste
    • infectious waste
    • viral waste
    • spore-forming bacteria waste
    • human or animal tissue waste
    • fecal, urine, or saliva

 Want to Get Involved?

VOLUNTEER! For the student group that is in charge of the collection and dissemination of the gloves. 

PARTICIPATE! Labs can join and participate in collecting gloves. 

DONATE! As the program grows, new sources of funding and support are needed. We happily accept donations to help the smaller labs with limited resources!


Participating Groups
  • CNSI Quantum Structures Facility
  • CNSI Confocal Microscopy & Spectroscopy Facility
  • NSF Quantum Foundry
  • CNSI Biological Nanostructures Laboratory
  • CNSI X-ray Facility
  • CNSI Microfluidics
  • CNSI Innovation Workshop
  • UCSB Microscopy Facility
  • MRL TEMPO Facility
  • ECE Teaching Cleanroom
  • Bren College of Environmental Sciences
  • The Clement Research Group
  • The Dogic Lab
  • The O’Malley Lab
  • The Weimbs Lab
  • The Wilbanks Lab
  • The Wilson Group
  • The Zhu Lab
Financial Sponsors
  • The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF)
  • California NanosSystems Institute (CNSI)
  • Materials Research Laboratory (MRL)
  • Materials Department
  • Mechanical Engineering


Join the Program!


Lab Manager
Quantum Structures Facility and Confocal Microscope and Spectroscopy Facility