GA Tech: Tip Cycle Program Aims to Reduce Single-Use Plastics in Campus Labs


I wanted to provide some information from GA Tech University’s successful use of Grenova’s tip and plate washing technology. Please see this link.

Some interesting notes:

  • the team has washed more than 746,000 pipettes in the last year, saving the equivalent of five tons of plastic going to waste.
  • “We can pump out 40 boxes in 5 to 6 hours a day,” says Helya Taghian, operations manager and a fourth-year student…
  • “We do 60 to 70 wash cycles of 200 to 300 boxes of tips a month. It would be a money sink if you bought that many tips…you have to be a pretty big lab to go through that many tips.”



From the website FAQ,

What sizes and brands of pipette tips can you wash? Unfiltered pipette tips between 50-1000uL for the following brands: Integra, VWR, Sartorius, Ranin, Hamilton, and Eppendorf.

That’s amazing. I feel like filtered tips are used in a lot of places where they may not be needed and I get it. Hopefully programs like this kick off at other universities and then these practices become industry standards.

The amount of plastic waste is horrible.

Yes, that is GA Tech’s in-house tip washing website.

Most unfiltered tips and SLAS approved mixwell plate formats can be washed and reused. We have designed and provided adaptors for most tip brands and can spec out tip brand inserts if we don’t already have one in our library.

Though not a scientist, I get the sense that filtered tips are used when they may not be necessary due to a belief that they have superior performance to unfiltered tips. I defer to the experts, but we have studies from the CDC, NIH, and other customers who use our tip washers which show pipette tip performance is identical for new tips vs. washed tips - with tips washed and reused up to 25 times, though we estimate 10 reuses. Also, our tip and plate washers are used in Genomics, ELISA, MS, Drug Discovery, Research, PCR, Diagnostics, Toxicology, DNA, Blood, and other lab applications.

By washing and reusing tips and plates 10x, labs will cut 90% of pipette tip and plate costs and reduce 90% of biowaste associated with those items. There is even a scope 3 component, as there will be less waste retrieval needed at these labs so less transport of the waste to landfill.

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That’s awesome, would love to see a number in dollars attached to the savings. This seems like a decent continuous improvement project for a lot of companies who may feel the need to tighten their belts after today…

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All we need to put together a cost savings analysis, ROI, and environmental impact report for using our washers are:

  • The amounts and types of tips and plates used in a period of time (day, week, month, year)
  • The cost for those tips and plates
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