Frequently Asked Questions
In the case of most lab plastics, the single-use economy model is followed where the lab plastics are produced from polymers derived from oil or natural gas, used by scientists, and then either dumped in a landfill or incinerated, pumping CO2 into the atmosphere.
A “circular economy” is a method of manufacturing that relies on sustainable resources and creates products that are designed for remanufacturing after use. Polycarbin is the only circular economy for lab plastics as we take your used ones, process them, and re-manufacture them into new lab products time and time again.
How is Polycarbin different from scientific plastic recycling efforts of the past?
Typical processes for recycling used scientific plastics are more accurately classified as “downcycling” – recycling a product into a lower quality product that, itself, cannot be recycled. We, on the other hand, aim to recycle each kilogram of circular economy plastic we put into our products in perpetuity. We are able to divert scientific plastics from landfills and incinerators and back into the scientific supply chain to reduce the demand for virgin material significantly reducing emissions and plastic waste.
Is it better for the environment to recycle plastic? How do I know Polycarbin is reducing my carbon footprint?
Sadly, the recycling industry has been plagued by “green-washing” – a form of marketing in which products or practices are misrepresented to persuade the public that an organization is environmentally responsible. That said, recycling plastic products even a single time significantly reduces carbon emissions. Furthermore, creating a circular economy further reduces emissions as each kilogram of plastic that is recycled replaces a kilogram of virgin material time and time again.
With our resource management software, the Carbin Counter, we are able to track each kilogram of plastic recycled through the chain of custody, translate it into carbon emission equivalents, and provide that data back to you in personalized reports regarding landfill diversion and emission impact, so that you know you are reducing your carbon footprint.
Products & Services
While we prefer to offer an end-to-end solution to our customers’ single-use scientific plastic problem, we are happy to recycle for, or sell plastic to, whomever is interested in making science more sustainable.
How much recycled materials are used in the Closed Loop Collection?
Depending on the product, the Closed Loop Collection contains 20%-65% recycled materials by weight. For more specific information on each product, please visit our product pages.
What are the differences between Alpha, Beta, and Gamma Carbins?
The Alpha Carbin is our simplest solution for making an impact right now. The Alpha Carbin accepts pipette tip boxes from any brand. The Beta Carbin is the next level up to make an even greater impact and accepts all non-hazardous rigid plastics separated by color. Lastly, the Gamma Carbin is our custom on-site services for high-throughput customers. For more information on each, please visit our recycling services page.
What materials are accepted in the Carbins?
We collect all non-hazardous, non-infectious, rigid laboratory plastics. Note that Alpha Carbins only accept pipette tip boxes, whereas Beta and Gamma Carbins accept the broader spectrum of rigid laboratory plastics. For specifics, please see our diversion guide.
What materials are NOT accepted in the Carbins?
We currently do not accept non-lab plastics, film plastics, #7 plastics, rubber/silicone, gloves, paper, metal, aluminum, or plastics that contained lysis buffers. For specifics, please see our diversion guide.
Can you tell me how much my organization has recycled?
Yes! We aim to create a supply chain as transparent as its recycled resin. With our resource management software, the Carbin Counter, we are able to track each kilogram of plastic recycled through the chain of custody, translate it into carbon emission equivalents, and provide that data back to you in personalized reports regarding landfill diversion and emission impact.
Technical and Regulatory
We recycle PET (#1), HDPE (#2), PP (#5), and PS (#6).
Are CO2 emissions actually reduced by recycling vs. using virgin resin?
The short answer is yes, by 71%.
This number comes from a 2018 LCA (or LCI) that captured each process end-to-end and compared them in terms of attributable direct and indirect emissions. It's important to note that natural gas and oil extraction, refinement, polymerization and transportation have compounding environmental impacts that vastly outweigh the trucking, grinding, sorting and extrusion of recycled resins.
What the LCA we provided does not capture, however, is the remarkably wasteful end-of-life treatment specific to laboratory plastics. Sadly, nearly all of this material is landfilled, or worse, sent to incinerators, which emits hydrocarbons CO2 and CH3 into our atmosphere.
How many times can lab plastics be recycled with your platform?
We aim to recycle each kilogram of circular economy plastic we put into our products in perpetuity. With periodic fortification steps, we are able to offset the demand for virgin material time and time again significantly reducing emissions and plastic waste.
Specifically, one kilogram of polypropylene can be recycled 4-6 times before there is 'appreciable' thermal degradation observed in the polymer. But because we take in not just our own plastics, but that of our competitors too, we constantly take new material, i.e. un-recycled material from other manufacturers, there is a dilution effect in our plastic stream that allows us to recycle our material without appreciable thermal degradation occurring in our products.
Are Polycarbin products manufactured under the same standards as competing brands?
Yes, and more!
ISO 9001 manufacturing
ISO 13485 equivalent
Certified RNase, DNase, Pyrogen Free
For additional questions, chat with us live in the bottom right corner or send us an email.