3 min read

Sustainable Science: Introducing Carbon-Neutral Shipping

4/22/20 8:10 PM

Did you know that laboratory facilities often use 5-10x more energy compared to similarly-sized “normal” office spaces? Abveris is enacting sweeping changes to our laboratory and business operations to reduce our company's carbon footprint. 

In this post, we’ll detail our initiatives built to dramatically reduce the carbon cost of our shipping, including adopting carbon-neutral shipping methods and material reuse programs. We’ll share tips to implement similar changes at your company, too. 

Cold-chain shipping:

Shipping is an important part of scientific collaborations today, which often extend beyond state and country lines. Since our founding five years ago, we’ve collaborated with scientists in more than 15 countries across four continents. For shipment of temperature-sensitive materials, we often rely on energy-intensive cold chain shipping methods that require additional packaging and refrigerants like ice packs, dry ice or liquid nitrogen. 

Carbon Offsets & Carbon-Neutral Shipping

Carbon offset programs allow small companies and individuals to participate in environmental projects to balance out their own carbon footprints. Abveris participates in verified carbon offset programs to support reforestation, landfill gas destruction, wastewater treatment, and methane destruction. 

You may be asking: how can I use carbon-neutral shipping?

Major shipping companies like UPS offer carbon-neutral shipping options. You'll be surprised to find that, often, the switch to carbon-neutral shipping will only impact shipment cost by $1 or less. 

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

We are reducing our use of virgin materials by reusing the insulated shippers sent to us by our suppliers. We receive many high-quality insulated shipping containers used for the shipment of non-hazardous materials, like culture media.  Simply by reusing shipping boxes, we able to cut our use of virgin materials in half without sacrificing any quality of the materials we deliver to you.   

You may be asking: how can I start a box reuse program? 

Reusing a box should be easy in most BSL1 and BSL2 laboratory settings. Here are some quick tips to make sure you’re preparing the box appropriately to ship without issue:

  • Cover all outer box labels from the box's previous journey. 

    Cover all of the labels on the box, even those that might still be relevant. We recommend using blank white shipping labels to “white-out” and cover all of the stickers. Add the new box labels on top of the “white-out.”  This is important to ensure there are no delays in your shipment. 

  • When in doubt, throw it out.

    If the box is structurally compromised or potentially contaminated, it should not be reused. Only use boxes in good condition to keep your precious samples (and the people handling them) safe. 

  • For international shipments, it’s best to use new.

    During international shipping, it is best practice to present a tidy, clearly labeled product for customs agents. Additionally, for long distance shipments, it is important to select a container with well-defined limitations so you know how long the box will keep your samples cool. During long-distance journeys there may be limited opportunities for dry ice or ice pack replenishment. 

Matthew Bartolucci

Written by Matthew Bartolucci