Increasing materials efficiency and minimizing hazardous chemicals

At Thermo Fisher Scientific, we purchase thousands of different chemicals to manufacture our products. Some of these materials, if not handled properly, pose serious risks to human health and the environment. We continually look for opportunities to identify less hazardous alternatives, thereby reducing hazards to our employees and customers and helping to minimize the risk to the communities in which we operate. Furthermore, this helps to mitigate the regulatory burden associated with the use of these chemicals and helps to ensure the availability of our products in the future. We also look at how we use our raw materials:  our scientists and engineers continually seek out opportunities to better match our purchases to our production, either by avoiding excess materials or by buying bulk quantities to help to minimize packaging waste and the environmental impact of frequent shipments.

Eliminating glass solvent bottles

The solvent acetonitrile (ACN) is essential in the manufacturing of our oligonucleotide products. In our Pleasanton, California facility we procure thousands of 4 L glass bottles of ACN each year. The hazardous nature of the solvent requires labor-intensive rinsing of the empty glass bottles for recycling. 

To help to reduce labor, waste, and costs associated with the glass bottles, the team switched to 205 L reusable ACN bulk storage tanks and installed a distribution system to pump the solvent on demand. This sourcing change has eliminated 7 tons of glass bottles and 5,600 cardboard delivery boxes annually.