While sustainability has been receiving top billing across sectors in recent years, clinical laboratories have, to date, been slower to develop and adopt more environmentally- friendly practices.
“Going green” may appear to be an uphill struggle for a sector, which, by its very nature, uses huge quantities of water, energy, and single-use plastics. However, even small changes can make a big difference in the battle to reduce clinical microbiology’s carbon footprint.
In recent years, the Green Lab movement has been gaining momentum and in 2018, the Lab Innovations trade show focused on sustainability, demonstrating the appetite for change.
Worldwide, laboratories are focusing their efforts on finding ways to become more sustainable, from switching to more energy-efficient equipment to re-using plastic bottles when possible.
Microbiology and the climate crisis: Building a sustainable future together
Going green: where are we on the sustainable microbiology lab journey?
At Thermo Fisher Scientificwe have been working with our microbiology partners to achieve our shared sustainability goals. Reducing waste, we have found, is consistently a top priority, and we’ve introduced a number of solutions to help customers “go green” while streamlining their workflow
Reducing packaging waste
Laboratory Mönchengladbach Medical Care Center, in Mönchengladbach, Germany told us that the steady stream of incoming media needed to perform its high volume testing had become "a huge problem to handle the amount of goods that were coming. These individually wrapped and delivered in carton boxes, like 100x10 media plates, would last maybe half a day − so it was quite obvious that we had a huge waste issue."
Our Thermo Scientific™ Tailored Delivery Solution (TDS) helped to make their media deliveries much more efficient by taking the media out of cardboard boxes. Instead, we package them on scannable trolleys that are delivered directly to our customers’ storerooms.
Case study: New cage-based delivery and storage solution
Tailored cage delivery system delivers improved efficiency and cost savings for Thermo Scientific™ Oxoid™ Media
Reducing plastic usage and waste
Reducing the sector’s reliance on single-use plastic is another challenge, and we are constantly working on innovative ways to reduce waste without compromising on quality or safety.
The Thermo Scientific™ Oxoid™ Columbia CNA Agar/Brilliance™ GBS Agar Biplate is just one such example.
The South West London Pathology (SWLP) partnership’s state-of-the-art microbiology laboratory switched to the biplate as part of a wider programme of automation designed to drive efficiencies.
Shelley Bray, automation lead at SWLP, said:
1Based on customer’s internal assessment.
In addition to agar biplates, our automation-friendly SmartPlate format for Thermo Scientific™ Remel™ and Oxoid™ prepared culture media have a lightweight design that lowers the overall amount of plastic required. In fact, they contain between nine and 20% less plastic than previous plates, and around 8% less than the leading competitor.
When it comes to sustainability, we cannot afford to rest on our laurels.
And here at Thermo Fisher Scientific we do not intend to. Because we believe that, as a sector, we must continue to work together to reduce our impact on the environment while continuing to guide the right first-time diagnosis decisions that enable outstanding patient care.
Read more about sustainable product design ›
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