Greener Coolers: More Sustainable Life Science Shipments From Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

Nov 10, 2022 9:00 AM ET

The Life Science business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany is excited to announce the launch of a pilot for the “Greener Cooler:” a more sustainable alternative for cold chain shipments of its life science products. Expanded polystyrene (EPS), also known as styrofoam, is currently the industry standard for cold chain shipment of life science products, thanks to the high insulation properties of EPS. However, as EPS is petroleum-based, it is difficult to recycle, posing a significant challenge to customers’ sustainability goals and to the environment.

This pilot has begun at one of the company’s U.S. distribution centers, with plans to expand to other major U.S. distribution centers in early 2023. These Greener Coolers will replace over 60.1 metric tons of EPS shipped from these U.S. distribution centers each year.

“Our customers’ rising awareness along with regulatory pressure to fulfill new standards in sustainability call for greener solutions. Our Greener Cooler takes a holistic approach in significantly reducing non-recyclable waste and their related CO2 emissions for our customers,” explains Dustin Andre, Product and Packaging Sustainability Specialist at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.

The Greener Cooler is made of paper and starch. This material can be directly placed in paper and corrugated cardboard recycling, requiring no specialized recycling process. To inform customers how to properly dispose of them, each cooler includes a simple, three-step guide printed directly on coolers’ inside flaps.

The company’s Greener Coolers are suitable for shipping a range of refrigerated products. Packaging specialists are currently validating a Greener Cooler solution for dry ice shipments, and working to increase the number of Greener Cooler sizes offer to further reduce use of EPS for larger cooler sizes. The company plans to extend Greener Cooler shipments to European distribution centers following the U.S. expansion.

Curious to learn more about Greener Coolers? Watch the video below or visit the company’s website here.