We are Polycarbin and we would like to change the way you science. As physician- scientists in training, our 20 years of combined laboratory experience lead us to one conclusion: from lab bench to hospital bed, our community’s dependence on single use plastic has evolved into a global crisis. How big is our footprint? Well, of the 350 M metric tons of plastic waste generated globally each year, an estimated 2% is attributable to bioscience and research laboratories. In fact, a 2015 study found that each laboratory member at Exeter University produced over a ton of plastic during the course of a year. To make matters worse, virtually 0% of the biomedical waste (BMW) produced globally each year is recycled. Almost all BMW is either destined for the incinerator—resulting in dangerous carcinogens like dioxin being emitted into our atmosphere—or it ends up in a local landfill.
While the environmental cost is clear, what may be less obvious is the financial burden of processing all this waste. The U.S. generates 12 billion lbs. of BMW each year and an estimated 25% of that waste is recyclable plastic. Unlike municipal waste, this BMW is subject to strict state and federal regulations. Thus, it must be sterilized and shredded before it can be disposed of in a landfill. As a result, managing this waste can be expensive. Some universities pay over half a million dollars a year to sterilize, shred and bury their waste. Is this really the cost of doing business?
Polycarbin has a solution, but we need your help. We have devised a simple way to capture the valuable plastic from the biomedical waste stream and turn it into useful products. We can use the revenue generated from diverting this valuable plastic stream to subsidize the cost of waste management at universities across the country. Furthermore, we have developed waste-tracking software that utilizes QR-codes to help you monitor waste production at discrete waste disposal locations. You can’t manage what you don’t measure! At Polycarbin, we want to give physicians and scientists the opportunity to become better stewards for our environment by reducing the carbon footprint of innovation and the environmental cost of healthcare.