Concentrating on Our Planet

We are dedicated to protecting our natural resources through new laboratory innovation—positively impacting the world around us. Learn how we’re fulfilling this promise with our new DxH Concentrated ECO Diluent.
Concentrating on Our Planet

The Challenge

As a producer of laboratory solutions, market leader, and pioneer in hematology, Beckman Coulter is continuously innovating new ways to implement cleaner and greener manufacturing. This month, we’re excited to share our Investment In Our Planet, acting on our “commitment to considering the long-term interests of our associates, customers, communities and our planet in everything we do.”1 We are celebrating Earth Day with the global launch of our hematology DxH Concentrated ECO Diluent.

Clinical laboratories are crucial to patient healthcare, where up to 70% of medical decision are based upon laboratory results.2 Laboratory results provide pivotal information clinicians need to diagnose, manage, and treat a variety of diseases. But laboratories may also be rife with waste. Of course, biohazardous wastes are a given in an area filled with human fluids and tissues, but reduction—the first of the R’s in the recycling mantra, reduce, reuse, recycle—in plastics and chemical waste and the overall carbon footprint can help to mitigate the negative environmental impact of this vital work.3

Laboratory Waste

A large central laboratory can run more than 500 complete blood counts (CBCs) every day. A lab of this size consumes around 1,300 10 L containers of standard diluent yearly (~3.5 10 L boxes per day). That’s 1,300 boxes that needed to be shipped, stored in controlled storage, and carried from the storeroom. It’s also 1,300 times the reloading time and 1,300 boxes worth of waste and recycling that need to be managed.

"The DxH Concentrated ECO Diluent not only provides significant advantages to our customers and their patients, but it is also ecologically friendlier than its predecessors. It reduces in more than 90% the plastic waste as well as the carbon footprint regarding distribution. This is critical for every one of us, because if there is one thing we all have in common, it’s the Earth."
Ignacio Figueroa
Manager of Development Science
Beckman Coulter Diagnostics

Cutting the Carbon Footprint

On average, the global healthcare sector emits 4.4% of greenhouse gases, with 70-80% of those emissions coming from the supply chain due to fossil fuel consumption.4,5 Shipping concentrated reagents can significantly cut emissions—minimizing bulk transport carbon footprint is a logical way to lower the environmental impact.6 And as an added bonus, shipping fewer containers means lower shipping costs!

Reducing Plastics

Clinical and scientific laboratories rely heavily on single-use plastics.12 A 2015 study investigating global laboratory plastics waste determined that in one year, scientific (clinical and research) laboratories generated approximately 5.5 million metric tons of plastic waste.13,14 The synthetic composition of plastic waste makes it resistant to environmental breakdown.15 The best way to reduce plastic output is to reduce plastic intake. ECO Diluent, is 18X concentrated. Including the cap, each cubitainer contains only 118 g of plastic, which translates to ~2 kg* less plastic for every ECO Diluent container used—a >95% reduction in plastic production and use. Using less plastic reduces the need for fossil fuels, limits emissions of dangerous gasses from burning, and helps to prevent microplastics from ending up in the environment.

A More ECO-Friendly Solution

Hematology diluents, solutions to dilute the blood samples prior to counting and sizing blood cells, can be comprised of a variety of chemicals. A standard part of the CBC, the hemoglobin count, requires lysing of cells, and historically, the reagent component responsible for this lysis was cyanides.7 Paying for disposal can be costly.8 Thus cyanide-free reagents like those in the DxH Concentrated ECO Diluent are preferable. Reagents used in clinical laboratories need to be free from contaminants, and formaldehyde is a commonly used preservative. While formaldehyde is in everything from building materials to hair products,9 exposure to high levels has been linked to health issues. Because water has been removed making the reagents inhospitable for microbial growth, concentrated liquids require fewer preservatives.10,11

Today, that same 500 per day CBC lab only needs to reload a new box every 5 days—a single box that needs to be stored, carried, reloaded, and disposed, representing a reduction in the tasks of reloading and storage of consumables of 94%. And with no cyanide, low formaldehyde, and >95% reduction in plastic waste, the avoided cost of disposal and benefits to the environment make sense for both economics and health.

At Beckman Coulter—and our parent company, Danaher—we strive to positively impact the world around us. “For us, sustainability means a commitment to considering the long-term interests of our associates, customers, shareholders, business partners, communities and our planet in everything we do. We are committed to helping generations of stakeholders realize life’s potential.”We are dedicated to protecting our natural resources through new laboratory innovation, recognizing that we all need to play a part in protecting our natural resources to leave the planet cleaner for the next generation. Read more about Danaher’s commitment to sustainability here: https://www.danaher.com/sustainability

DxH Concentrated ECO Diluent is available for use on the DxH 900 family of Hematology Analyzers.

*Each cubitainer weighs a maximum of 115 g plus another 3 g for the cap. Total plastic weight per cute is ~118 g, meaning a savings on plastic waste of 2 kg per cubitainer of concentrate with the cap.
For a 500 test per day lab, shipping costs are reduced from ~$1,050/year to $75/year—a savings of ~95%.

Beckman Coulter is a distributor of RR Mechatronics products. RPI water purification system is manufactured by Life Science business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. The Life Science business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany operates as MilliporeSigma in the U.S. and Canada. Not all products are available in all countries.
Product availability and regulatory status depend on country registration per applicable regulations.


REFERENCES:

1. SUSTAINABILITY AT DANAHER. Danaher. 2022. Accessed March 23, 2023. https://www.danaher.com/sustainability

2. Strengthening Clinical Laboratories. CDC | Division of Laboratory Systems. November 15, 2018. Accessed March 23, 2023. https://www.cdc.gov/csels/dls/strengthening-clinical-labs.html

3. Krause M, Gautam K, Gazda MA, Niraula A. Reducing plastic waste in the lab. Chemistry World. April 30, 2020. Accessed March 23, 2023. https://www.chemistryworld.com/opinion/reducing-plastic-waste-in-the-lab/4011550.article

4. Karliner J, Slotterback S. Health Care’s Climate Footprint: How the Health Sector Contributes to the Global Climate Crisis and Opportunities For Action. Health Care Without Harm; 2019.

5. Dzau VJ, Levine R, Barrett G, Witty A. Decarbonizing the U.S. health sector - A call to action. N Engl J Med. 2021;385(23):2117-2119. doi:10.1056/NEJMp2115675

6. Lederman N. Concentrated Beer? Cutting Liquid before Shipping Also Cuts Its Carbon Footprint . Scientific American. July 1, 2021. Accessed March 23, 2023. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/concentrated-beer-cutting-liquid-before-shipping-also-cuts-its-carbon-footprint/

7. Haldane J. On cyanmethaemoglobin and photomethaemoglobin. J Physiol (Lond). 1900;25(3):230-232. doi:10.1113/jphysiol.1900.sp000792

8. Thompson T. Hazardous Waste Management in the Laboratory. Lab Manager. March 24, 2022. Accessed March 24, 2023. https://www.labmanager.com/lab-health-and-safety/hazardous-waste-management-in-the-laboratory-27802

9. Formaldehyde. National Institutes of Environmental Health Science. January 23, 2023. Accessed March 24, 2023. https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/formaldehyde/index.cfm

10. Baranowska I, Wojciechowska I, Solarz N, Krutysza E. Determination of preservatives in cosmetics, cleaning agents and pharmaceuticals using fast liquid chromatography. J Chromatogr Sci. 2014;52(1):88-94. doi:10.1093/chromsci/bms210

11. A REVIEW ON DETERMINATION OF PRESERVATIVES IN FOOD STUFFS BY DIFFERENT ANALYTICAL METHODS | PharmaTutor. Accessed March 24, 2023. https://www.pharmatutor.org/articles/review-on-determination-preservatives-food-stuffs-different-analytical-methods

12. Deforce E. Sustainable Plastics Use in the Laboratory. Lab Manager. Published online August 9, 2021.

13. Urbina MA, Watts AJR, Reardon EE. Environment: Labs should cut plastic waste too. Nature. 2015;528(7583):479. doi:10.1038/528479c

14. Bistulfi G. Reduce, reuse and recycle lab waste. Nature. 2013;502(7470):170-170. doi:10.1038/502170a

15. Cornwall W. The plastic eaters. Science. 2021;373(6550):36-39. doi:10.1126/science.373.6550.36 Social Media

Eric Pabon
Eric Pabon
Eric Pabon, MBA, is a Global Marketing Manager with more than 20 years of experience in leadership positions in sales and marketing including pharmaceuticals and medical device corporations. For the past four years, he has overseen marketing strategies for urinalysis and hematology analyzers at Beckman Coulter.

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