Waste & recycling
These consumables like tips and boxes are a challenge in respect to sustainability. Labs producing bags full of used consumables are a common situation. They produce waste that is a mixture of different polymers like polypropylene, polystyrole, polyethylene, etc. On top, there is the challenge of potential bio hazards and chemical hazards within this waste. Recycling of plastic lab waste is currently a big challenge with no established technology available.
Biopolymers & recycled raw material
The other big topic of consumables addresses biopolymers and recycled polymers as starting material for consumable production instead of using oil based polymers.
Consumables based on recycled polymers still do not perform in the same way as consumables produced with oil-based polypropylene. Despite a lot of R&D efforts, performance and sterility levels of lab consumables based on recycling material do not fulfill the high expectations of the scientists in the lab in combination with realistic costs for these consumables. Especially the risk of leachables from recycled plastic still needs to be improved.
In contrast to recycling material, biopolymer raw material can be used as starting material for lab consumables. Mid of 2022, Eppendorf launched one of the first tubes for laboratory molecular work based on polypropylene which is based on biopolymers as source.
Reduce packaging waste
The usage of refill systems for pipette tips is a good starting point to reduce the amount of plastic waste. These tips are available either as bulk ware in bags or as a replaceable reload system, which is placed on top of a box. By the way, a box is quite durable and can be autoclaved up to 100 times, a rack up to 10 times.
There will be alternative production methods in the future, and our R&D experts do their very best to improve – but it still needs time for consumables based on recycled polymers. The first step of improvements by using biobased polymers for tubes is done.polymer raw material can be used as starting material for lab consumables. Mid of 2022, Eppendorf launched one of the first tubes for laboratory molecular work based on polypropylene which is based on biopolymers as source.
Research & Development