If you work in a research laboratory you are painfully aware of the problem of waste. Every assay, every PCR, every drop of liquid moved comes into contact with multiple plastic items which must be discarded lest there be a risk of contamination.
A December 2015 article in the online Science Daily reported a study done by the University of Exeter that found research laboratories across the globe were responsible for an estimated 5.5 million tons of plastic annually.
Manufacturers have long been sensitive to this concern and have made improvements to cut down on laboratory waste wherever it can be done without sacrificing on performance.
This is the thinking behind reload pipette tips. Instead of purchasing new boxes with each order, labs simply fill up their current tip boxes with a fresh rack of tips that is then sterilized in an autoclave. The average reload tip wafer saves between 60-70% of the total plastic needed to produce a full box of pipette tips.
Another lab consumable that has been given a makeover by some manufacturers are the common 15 and 50ml conical tube. While there has long been an option to purchase these in bulk packaging, a lab that desired the convenience of using pre-racked tubes did so knowing that the foam used in those racks would take centuries to degrade (foam is estimated at least 500 years).
Recently we are seeing more and more companies offer re-usable plastic racks. The people at NEST Scientific have gone one step further and developed a bio-degradable rack!
Stellar Scientific is making some big changes too which will begin showing up in the next month or so. If you purchase either our Teepa Tips or See-More brand of PCR products, our boxes are about to get uglier.
Specifically, our outer shipping cartons will no longer be white but a natural "kraft" box.
Benefits of this plain box are:
- The color is natural so no inks or processing have been applied.
- They are made from 60 to 100% recycled materials -- the 'greenest' packaging material available.
- They are 100% recyclable, making them preferred at institutions around the world.
- They are less likely to pick up scuffs and scrapes in transit than white boxes.
Sure, it will take a little getting used to and yes, they are pretty ugly. We will just decorate them a bit more with stickers and such to give them that Stellar look!
Got an idea how to spice them up? Let us know! We'd love to hear from you.