Paper Cooler

We know that cold shipping of temperature-sensitive products has a significant environmental impact. For decades, expanded polystyrene (EPS) coolers have been the preferred external packaging for cold-chain shipments, making white cooler–lined hallways outside labs almost commonplace. Though lightweight, durable, and highly insulative, these foam coolers tend to pile up since EPS recycling options are limited.

Meet the paper cooler. We have developed a 100% paper, readily recyclable cooler that meets the thermal requirements necessary to uphold our stringent product quality standards. It can be recycled alongside other paper and corrugate materials.

Every 10,000 paper coolers we ship keeps more than 6,500 ft3 of EPS from landfills.

Though we still rely on EPS coolers to transport a portion of our cold-chain shipments, our paper cooler is an important step forward in our sustainability journey. Expect to receive more of your cold products shipped in this new cooler as we expand its use worldwide.

After you’ve received your products, what then? Life-cycle analyses often show that transporting a cooler back after it’s been used can actually release more carbon than it takes to generate a new cooler. Therefore, Thermo Fisher Scientific does not provide a mail-back program for coolers or gel packs. Instead we encourage our customers to recycle our paper coolers and explore using local recyclers for EPS foam coolers.

The paper cooler is just one of our many new sustainability initiatives. We continue our trailblazing pursuit of better, more environmentally friendly ways to package and ship our products, while always ensuring our products are safely delivered to our customers.

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Paper Cooler
Paper Cooler
Paper Cooler


What our customers are saying



“I am so grateful that efforts are finally being made to reduce foam and plastic waste.”

– Scientist, biotechnology company; Seattle, Washington

“Very excited to receive this shipment as we have been talking about ways to be more green! Thank you for taking this important step!”

– PhD student; Boston, Massachusetts

“I liked how it readily unfolded flat when pulled out of the shipping box.”

– Laboratory technician; Bothell, Washington

“This is fantastic. Bravo, Thermo Fisher.”

– Product manager, health care company; København, Denmark

“Thanks for the new design: it's cool, and makes me feel better about buying products.”

– Lab manager, government laboratory; Greenport, New York

“Love it! I hate the deluge of plastic and foam packaging that rains down on our lab daily. This is an outstanding improvement!”

– Laboratory technician; Ithaca, New York

“I LOVE THESE. Thank you for making this switch.”

– Lab manager; San Diego, California

“I was very surprised in a positive way, when this package arrived here recently! Very good thing!”

– University Laboratory technician; Hannover, Germany


Navigate The Green Issue



Energy efficient

Did you know freezers and fridges make up for most of a lab’s energy use? Learn what we mean by “energy efficient” and things you can do now to save energy.

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Less hazardous

What does “less hazardous” really mean? Find out about how we evaluate less hazardous products and learn about the ACT label, an eco-nutrition label that helps you make greener choices for the lab.

Learn more ›


Sustainable packaging

Packaging design must consider how to protect the product and minimize impact on the environment. We’re started using 100% recyclable paper coolers for cold shipping and that’s only the beginning.

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Less waste

We have criteria for what “less waste” means, and it’s more than reducing what gets sent to landfills. Find out how we evaluate minimizing waste in the lab.

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