How can I find sustainable tubes and plates?
Biopolymers & recycled raw material
The other big topic of consumables addresses biopolymers and recycled polymers as starting material for consumable production instead of using fossil 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 plastic 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, biobased 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 worldwide, based on polypropylene which is based on biobased Used cooking oil (UCO) as source.
Waste & recycling
These consumables like tubes and plates 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.
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.