We take a deep look at the impacts of our products over their full life cycles, including raw materials production, manufacturing of components and final products, transportation and distribution, customer use, and end-of-life (EOL) disposition. We use analyses, such as Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and product carbon foot printing, to help us make more informed product design decisions and to better communicate with our customers about the impacts of our products and the environmental benefits of the improvements we make to them. We aim to use LCA as a highly practical tool to generate information to support key decisions and actions, rather than as simply an informative exercise.
For example, for the MilliFlex® Quantum product, our BioMonitoring team conducted an LCA to quantify the impacts of molding, packaging, shipping and sterilizing products. Based on the results of the LCA, the team worked in partnership with our supplier to identify the best box design and cardboard layers to minimize shipping requirements and to reduce refrigerator storage cube size, all without compromising protection.
Additionally, an LCA we performed on our Lab Water Elix® Water Purification System helped us to identify that water consumption during the use phase presented the greatest opportunity for improvements that would benefit our customers and the environment with reduced water consumption and wastewater production.
A third study helped identify a manufacturing process as a key driver of the impacts for one product that is now being taken into consideration for future design and manufacturing planning. We conducted a screening-level LCA of our own Clarisolve® depth filters in comparison with our Millistak+® POD depth filters. The two products are used to accomplish the same clarification step in the biopharmaceutical manufacturing process. Our LCA allowed us to quantify water and energy savings during use for our customers, and to better understand our own manufacturing processes.
We conduct larger-scale, more extensive LCAs that help us more comprehensively understand the full life-cycle impacts of key products and also help us respond to customer needs and questions. For example, we conducted an LCA on our Mobius® Single-Use 500L media buffer filtration system, which helped us to better understand the comparative benefits and tradeoffs between single-use and traditional stainless steel technologies. This information not only helps us find opportunities to reduce those environmental impacts, but it also allows us to share several use-phase environmental benefits with our customers.
Through our LCA work, we understand that there are advantages and trade-offs to both single-use and traditional system technologies. Our commitment is to continue gaining deeper insight into our products’ technical, clinical, and environmental performance, using that insight to improve all three areas, and demonstrating transparency to our customers on these impacts.