Why Polycarbin is Hard to Define

Why Polycarbin is Hard to Define

In today’s world it’s hard to avoid discussions about climate change, the environment, and how our actions as consumers affect the health of our surrounding ecosystems. It’s something we at Polycarbin think a lot about too – specifically from the lens of the impact that scientific research has on the environment.

Over 200 million tonnes of Earth heating CO2 is pumped into the atmosphere each year by biotech and pharma research alone. And 40% of that stems from the purchases that are made, such as pipette tips and tubes. These products are part of the single-use economy, which employs a take-make-waste model of production.

For example, consider the lifecycle of a pipette tip. To make it, fossil fuels are fracked or drilled from one country, the product is molded in another country, then sold to a third country, and then the tip finally reaches the scientist, where it’s used for only a couple seconds before being discarded into a bin destined for a landfill or incinerator.

And this is done millions of times a day, in labs all around the world. The same goes for microcentrifuge tubes, PCR plates, and more.

A scientist perpetually ejects pipette tips.

We are generally familiar with the idea of recycling, and it’s true that a small portion of scientific waste is recycled. But even if we were able to recycle most of the 12 billion pounds of scientific waste that’s produced each year, it wouldn’t reduce the need for oil drilling to produce more lab plastics. This is because traditional recycling is more akin to something called downcycling. Most, if not all, recycled lab plastics are turned into something other than the original products they were, like a park bench, that is then destined for the landfill or an incinerator after it wears out its use.

Downcycle display. Animation of fossil fuels being turned into lab plastics and then into a park bench.

So, when we say Polycarbin isn’t a recycling service, we mean that we don’t downcycle the lab plastics we collect, because we aim to tackle this carbon emissions problem from both ends of the take-make-waste process.

What we are is a creator of the circular economy of lab plastics. We remanufacture high-quality lab plastics from post-consumer scientific waste and provide recycling services to keep your single-use plastics within the closed loop. And we provide you quantifiable measures of how much impact your sustainability efforts are having with the Carbin Counter because we value transparency and want to show you that your plastic is actually being recycled, guaranteed.

Illustrated supply chain of how Polycarbin's circular economy keeps plastic out of landfills and in the supply chain while diverting dependence on fossil fuels

Polycarbin offers products including filtered and non-filtered pipette tips, LTS compatible pipette tips, microcentrifuge tubes, and conical tubes. All our lab plastic products are identical in quality and cost to typical vendors, but when you purchase a product from our Closed-Loop Collection, you are effectively replacing a high carbon footprint product with a low carbon footprint alternative.

And we make it easy to send them back after use with our Alpha, Beta, and Gamma Carbins, so that we can continue the closed-loop cycle and remanufacture products time and time again.

From benchtop to bin, and back again, Polycarbin is closing the loop on single-use scientific plastics.

Want to find out how much your lab can decarbonize? Get in touch for a consult.

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