An environment that makes life worth living.

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time. As a global company, it is very important to us that we minimize our impact on the environment and habitats as far as possible by implementing measures for the efficient and conscious use of energy and resources.

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle Resources

We know that a large amount of plastic waste is generated in medical settings. Although creating a fully circular economy in medical technology presents challenges, there are ways in which we can responsibly use and reduce the use of resources along the value chain and sometimes keep them in circulation.

In September 2021, Greiner Bio-One launched a new generation of Sapphire pipette tips. In addition to user-friendliness, particular attention was paid to sustainability during product development. The new product design uses 20% less material compared to the previous version. The tips are not only available in the rack, but also in bags or as refills – versions that use much less packaging. The refill unit's rack inserts are packed in cardboard packaging, which saves a significant amount of plastic compared to the full racks and ultimately also saves space and transport emissions. In addition, the inserts themselves are made of approx. 70% recycled material.

Greiner Bio-One uses recycled materials wherever standards allow. This applies in particular to packaging materials. The cardboard boxes used contain an average of 82% recycled material (2021). Around 60% of the cardboard comes from sustainable forestry and is FSC-certified. Packaging is considered in the product development process and is also continually further developed.

In March 2022, the Mosonmagyaróvár (HU) site launched a rack-back initiative to encourage the reuse and recycling of pipette tip racks. In the lab, racks are often only used once and then disposed of out of habit together with hazardous waste, meaning valuable polypropylene is lost. With the new initiative, Greiner Bio-One Hungary is taking back empty, clean racks and rack inserts. They are collected during regular deliveries to our customers. Greiner Bio-One will supply the collected racks to its customers for re-use free of charge as long as stocks last. If materials are to be recycled, this is done by an external partner. The income generated is donated to charitable causes and local waste collection campaigns.

During the injection moulding process, some product componenents, such as VACUETTE® caps, generate leftover plastic pieces. These are re-milled and fed back into the production process. Other waste from manufacturing at all sites, such as production rejects, is handed over to external partners for recycling. 

The Hungarian site has been operating a regranulation plant since 2017. At the plant, clean rejects and polystyrene production waste from two sites are regranulated and fed back into the production process. The material is collected separately and comes directly from production, which ensures a high degree of purity. The system technology used and extensive test procedures ensure that the regranulated polystyrene has the same quality and identical material properties as the original granulate. The recycled material is used for the production of Petri dishes, for example. Greiner Bio-One strives to continuously increase its recycling rate while also minimizing production waste even further.

Optimization and reduction of energy use

The operation of our infrastructure as well as our transport routes for raw materials and products account for a significant proportion of our energy consumption. 

That is why we are constantly striving to optimize our energy use along the entire value chain through a range of actions.

All Austrian and German sites use 100% certified green electricity and therefore produce their products with clean and renewable energy. In total, green electricity accounts for 53% of electricity across all sites (2021). We are making efforts to increase the share of green electricity further wherever the supply allows.

Greiner Bio-One has been producing its own electricity from renewable energy sources since 2021. In September 2021, Mediscan put its first photovoltaic plant into operation at its Kremsmünster site (AT). The energy generated by the plant covers around one fifth of the high energy requirements for the sterilization process. The second plant was installed in Frickenhausen (DE) in July 2022. The systems cover the equivalent of the electricity needs of around 125 four-person households. Further photovoltaic plants will follow at our sites in Europe and South America.

Through a series of energy efficiency projects in 2021, the Americana (BR) site managed to save 1% of its total electricity consumption. The remaining areas of the building have been converted to LED lighting, which means that the entire site is now equipped with this technology. In addition, parts of the air conditioning system were renovated and two pumps in the cooling circuit were replaced with one more efficient pump.

Replacing a cooling system at the Kremsmünster (AT) site in 2020 saved 384 tonnes of CO2emissions and the equivalent of the energy consumption of around 334 four-person households annually. This system is required for cooling in the injection moulding process and therefore for the manufacture of most products. The new cooling system works on a technologically advanced system that can use outside air for energy-efficient cooling. In addition, the waste heat generated at the plant is sufficient to cover all current natural gas requirements.

Heat recovery systems are in operation at the sites in Austria, Germany and Hungary, which means that the waste heat from the production facilities is used to heat the other buildings, such as the offices and warehouses. As a result, there is largely no need for fossil fuels.

We are trying to optimize the transport routes of our raw and auxiliary materials as well as those of our goods as much as possible in order to avoid long journeys and thus save CO2 emissions. To achieve this, we make sure to select local and regional suppliers, for example for granulate and packaging material. We produce some of our core products at various sites around the world, which optimizes the regional fulfilment of demand and shortens transport routes. 

The Greiner group joined the SBTi (Science Based Targets Initiative). In this way, we are implementing and pursuing targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions that are guided by the 1.5°C target of the Paris Agreement and are science-based. 

3 sustainability action areas at Greiner Bio-One.

At Greiner Bio-One, we see sustainability as an overarching goal to be achieved through activities in three action areas: environment, people and ethics. The boundaries between these action areas are inherently fluid. What is important is the holistic view of all our company’s areas of influence, so that we can move closer to our goal, a sustainable future for us all, with each individual step.

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