Greener Products & Solutions
Growing Greener Together
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.
Design for Sustainability
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 several steps:
Brainstorm life cycle impacts, opportunities and voices of customers
In the early stages of the Product Development Process, we first identify the main sources of environmental impact throughout the entire product life cycle. We also conduct customer visits and interviews to gain a concrete understanding of their main constraints and requirements in terms of sustainability.
Assess and select target criteria
Next, we identify potential areas of improvement and related sustainability objectives for product development. Typically, we select three or more product sustainability criteria among the following impact areas: materials, energy and emissions, waste, water, packaging, and usability and innovation.
Develop the product and assess improvement
During this stage, we design and test the product as well as assess and document progress toward our target sustainability objectives. We then assign a sustainability score to the project based on the number of product sustainability criteria met.
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 (US/Canada) or email@example.com (International).
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.
12 Principles of Green Chemistry
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.
It is better to prevent waste than to treat or clean up waste after it has been created.
Synthetic methods should be designed to maximize the incorporation of all materials used in the process into the final product.
Less Hazardous Chemical Syntheses
Wherever practicable, synthetic methods should be designed to use and generate substances that possess little or no toxicity to human health and the environment.
Designing Safer Chemicals
Chemical products should be designed to affect their desired function while minimizing their toxicity.
Safer Solvents and Auxiliaries
The use of auxiliary substances (e.g., solvents, separation agents, etc.) should be made unnecessary wherever possible and innocuous when used.
Design for Energy Efficiency
Energy requirements of chemical processes should be recognized for their environmental and economic impacts and should be minimized. If possible, synthetic methods should be conducted at ambient temperature and pressure.
Use of Renewable Feedstocks
A raw material or feedstock should be renewable rather than depleting whenever technically and economically practicable.
Unnecessary derivation (use of blocking groups, protection/deprotection, temporary modification of physical/chemical processes) should be minimized or avoided if possible, because such steps require additional reagents and can generate waste.
Catalytic reagents (as selective as possible) are superior to stoichiometric reagents.
Design for Degradation
Chemical products should be designed so that at the end of their function, they break down into innocuous degradation products and do not persist in the environment.
Real-time analysis for Pollution Prevention
Analytical methodologies need to be further developed to allow for real-time, in-process monitoring and control prior to the formation of hazardous substances.
Inherently Safer Chemistry for Accident Prevention
Substances and the form of a substance used in a chemical process should be chosen to minimize the potential for chemical accidents, including releases, explosions and fires.
An industry first, DOZN™ is a proprietary
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
manufacturing of the enzyme β‑amylase.
Greener Alternative Products
We offer customers more than 900 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 this icon and fall into four categories:
Products manufactured with fewer resources, in a less hazardous manner and/or generate less waste, and scored on what's greener about them with DOZN™. LEARN MORE
Principles Aligned Products
One or more characteristics of the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry appear prominently in these products. LEARN MORE
Through alternative energy research, these products help make greener alternatives possible. LEARN MORE
Products developed under our Design for Sustainability (DfS) approach that demonstrate significant sustainability characteristics. LEARN MORE
“We have realized the greatest impact comes not from just within our own walls, but in enabling our millions of customers in more than 160 countries to accelerate the impact sustainability can have globally.”
HEAD OF CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY
“To us, streamlined operations means producing top-quality products in the most efficient way possible, with minimal use of energy, water and waste. We are working towards a future in which the ‘waste’ of one process can be the raw material input for another process.”
EIT, CEM, CEA, Global Manager of Sustainable Operations
“Through our industry-first recycling programs, we’re tackling the challenging waste stream of single-use plastics and offering an end-of-life solution for our plastic products. As a result, we empower customers to contribute to a circular economy and reduce their own environmental footprint.”
global manager, customer sustainability solutions
“It’s incredible to see first-hand how the interactive science experiments inside our Curiosity Cube© mobile science lab can positively impact students’ lives-uncovering ‘aha!’ moments and helping them see what possibilities lie ahead.”
Curiosity Cube® coordinator
“To make the greatest impact in our communities around the world, we tap the passion of our employees and partner with organizations who share our drive to support the scientists of today and tomorrow.”
head of employee and community engagement
“Our employee and community engagement strategy connects the heart, hands, and expertise of our global employees with the know-how of local organizations to inspire scientific solutions for future generations.”
Business Partner, Corporate Responsibility, Employee & Community Engagement
Together for Sustainability
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 Millipore, Milli-Q, SAFC and BioReliance. These products are manufactured at over 60 sites and distributed worldwide through 130 distribution centers.
We have continuously worked to identify solutions to increase the shipment of products via ocean transport—a less expensive and more environmentally friendly alternative to air transport.
As an example, in 2019, we avoided 236,000 metric tonnes by using sea freight rather than air.
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 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. Learn more about each of our specific goals in an overview brochure with a statement from our CEO.
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.
Cut disc filters packaging system
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.
Bulk Packaging for Millistak+® Pods
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.
Polystyrene Cooler Return Program
In the U.S., polystyrene coolers are produced and used abundantly, particularly to ship products that need to remain cold or frozen. Through this program, customers can return coolers to us for reuse, minimizing waste and improving the carbon footprint of each cooler. A third-party verified life cycle assessment concluded that if just 25 percent of coolers are returned for a second use, we save 1,064 kilograms of CO2.
By replacing expanded
recyclable & biodegradable materials, we eliminated
cubic feet of polystyrene annually,
without remotely skimping on cushioning properties.
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.
Fast Facts About the
53%reduction in packaging-to-product weight ratio
99%reduction in total mass of solid packaging waste
69‑83%reduction in Global Warming Potential (GWP), depending on the location of shipments
88%reduction in the Cumulative Energy Demand (CED) per liter of solvent shipped
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.
Biopharma Recycling Program
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.
Launched in 2015 in partnership with U.S.-based Triumvirate Environmental, this program is currently operating on the East Coast of the U.S. 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.Download Biopharma
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 than0 tonsof Biopharma waste since the program began