With a portfolio of more than 300,000 products that support 1 million customers, how we make, distribute, and enable the use and disposal of those products can have a large and meaningful impact on the environment. We are committed to working with customers, employees, and suppliers to develop new and innovative processes and products that contribute toward a healthier ecosystem and safer world.
In 2014, we created Design for Sustainability (DfS)—our gold-standard design approach that keeps sustainability at the forefront of each stage of the product life cycle as we develop, engineer, and re-engineer products to minimize environmental and health impact, and simultaneously improve product performance.
By applying DfS principles in the Product Development Process, we strive toward lower material consumption, energy, water, and waste footprints across the entire product life cycle—enabling our products to help customers not only meet sustainability goals but surpass them. Under DfS, the Product Development Process consists of
Using our DfS process, we created Stericup®E and Steritop®E filtration systems, which are greener alternatives to standard sterile filtration systems. The new Stericup®E and Steritop®E filtration systems were designed so that our customers can connect directly standard media bottles or glassware directly onto the filter unit, avoiding the use of a plastic funnel.
This innovative design allows to significantly reduce the amount of plastic per unit and related packaging compared to standard Stericup® and Steritop® filtration systems. It results in lower storage requirement and emissions during the transportation and ultimately lower waste and related costs for our customers. See the Stericup® E and Steritop® E filtration systems product page for more information.
Figure 1. Materials
We believe a company's dedication to the environment should go beyond offering "greener" products. That's why we focus on sharing our expertise and experience with customers, collaborating on ways to apply green chemistry design thinking to their own research and operations approaches. Have questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We leverage our core strengths in innovation and the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry to re-engineer existing products and provide cutting-edge greener products and tools to more than 1 million customers around the world. We also created an industry-first framework that clarifies what is "greener" about our re-engineered greener alternatives for customers, other stakeholders, and our own scientists and researchers.
Our re-engineering approach is guided by the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry, developed by Paul T. Anastas and John C. Warner in 1991. These signposts guide us toward uncovering innovative solutions to big questions — like how to make chemicals, processes, or products greener, thereby reducing environmental or human health risks and increasing energy efficiency.
An industry first, DOZN™ is a proprietary Quantitative Green Chemistry Evaluator that enables us to consistently evaluate different products and processes against the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry, using readily available data and generally accepted industry practices. Through DOZN™, we are able to have meaningful communications about chemical sustainability options and, as noted above, clarify what's "greener" about our "greener alternatives" for customers, other stakeholders, and our own scientists and researchers.
Explore a real-life DOZN™ scoring example, which shows how we re-engineered the manufacturing of the enzyme β amylase.
DOZN™ scoring example
We offer customers more than 1,100 greener alternatives to help reduce the environmental impact of their work while ensuring their results are not compromised. These greener alternative products, developed by leveraging our strengths in innovation and sustainability, are identified with a small green icon and fall into four categories:
Our commitment to sustainability includes collaborating with our partners — from suppliers and contract manufacturers to service providers — to develop projects and processes that have both sustainability and business benefits.
We have teamed up with other multinational companies as part of the Together for Sustainability (TfS) initiative, aimed at assessing and improving sustainability practices in our industry. We benefit from the outsourcing of supplier evaluations to qualified third-party providers and the pooling and sharing of supplier evaluations with other TfS members. Life Science suppliers account for a significant portion of evaluations initiated by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. From these results, we collaborate with our partners to ensure they're continuously improving their sustainability practices.
With a catalog of more than 300,000 products, our Life Science business delivers many of the most highly-respected brands in the industry, such as Sigma-Aldrich, Supelco, Millipore, Milli-Q, SAFC, and BioReliance. These products are manufactured at 60 sites and distributed worldwide through more than 100 distribution centers.
Product packaging is one of the most visible and tangible environmental impacts for our customers — which is why it is top of mind for us. We work to improve packaging quality while striving to reduce waste and the time, effort, and costs associated with handling and disposing of it. Packaging is a key focus of our process — with our goal to deliver improvements without compromising quality or safety.
Our SMASH Packaging Plan is our four-year approach to drive improvement in the sustainability of our packaging by 2022. Through this initiative, we are setting new standards and goals to SHRINK, SECURE, SWITCH and SAVE packaging while transparently reporting progress.
Below is a snapshot of some of our packaging innovations for and with customers, suppliers, and partners.
We designed a smart packaging system that improves performance by preventing contamination and allowing for a direct connection to a titrator. It also reduced overall packaging weight, increased usage of recyclable packaging materials, and decreased chemical product waste.
We have re-engineered the packaging system for our cut disc filters for better usability and reduced environmental impact. The newly redesigned packaging system is manufactured using 22 percent less plastic and replaces polystyrene with polypropylene that has a 43% lower global warming potential than polystyrene.
We developed a bulk packaging solution for Millistak+® Pods with the aim to optimize transport and reception processes as well as to reduce waste. Bulk packaging configuration includes 27 Pods in 3 boxes with 9 Pods per layer on 1 pallet. It allows to reduce the amount of packaging per unit by 24% compared to standard packaging.
Our greener cooler is an alternative to insulated containers made of expanded polystyrene for the shipment of our temperature-controlled products. Made of paper and starch, it is certified recyclable alongside other paper and corrugated products.
Through ReCycler™, we bring products to U.S. customers, then take away and reuse the emptied containers. By switching to this bulk solvent delivery service, customers can reduce their carbon footprint by eliminating the waste and cost of smaller containers that would end up in a landfill or disposal facility.
Plastic disposable product use is on the rise in the life science industry. We faced this challenge by working together with customers and the waste management industry to provide a unique process and first-of-its-kind single-stream recycling program. Our U.S.-based programs are able to recycle almost 100 percent of the products with the added benefit of traceability.
We're proud of the present progress, but always looking toward the future. Our programs are the beginning of how we can re-classify "disposables" into "materials" that can be used again in other ways. This doesn't just reduce our environmental impact but helps our customers do the same.
Through our first-of-its-kind Biopharma Recycling Program, single-use product waste — like bioreactor bags, assemblies, filters, protective clothing, gloves, and empty drums—even when classified as biohazardous, can be recycled into industrial-grade plastic lumber products. These include landscaping timbers, retaining walls, speed bumps, parking blocks, and plastic pallets.
We're continually working to add new customers to the program, with the goal of expanding this unique process to new regions globally in the future.
One commercially operating biopharma facility is estimated to produce more than 150 tons of used product material per year. That's enough material to fill seven, 45-foot tractor trailers.
We have recycled more than 5,200 metric tonnes of Biopharma waste since the program began.