Reusable glass serological pipette / stripettes

Hello! We are trying to reduce our plastic waste in the lab. One idea we had was replacing single use plastic serological pipettes (or stripettes) with glass ones that we can wash and autoclave. So a few questions:

  1. Is anyone here doing this?
  2. What material or type of glass do you use for your reusable stripettes?
  3. What glass/reusable stripettes do you use exactly? A product link would be great.
  4. What is your washing and/or autoclaving procedure for them?

Any thoughts around this are greatly appreciated!

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As far as I know, this is the old school way of doing things before single-use plastics was a thing. It’ll all depend on what you’re using them for and how comfortable you are with your cleaning process. In addition, a problem I’ve seen with glass stripettes was depending on what solutions your pipetting, certain solvents can dissolve the markings on your stripette rendering them basically useless for anything other than transferring liquid. There certainly isn’t a high-throughput way of doing this and it will be labor intensive.

As much as I love the concept of reducing plastic waste from stripettes, in this case I think the single-use ones still win. The use of glass stripettes were probably was phased out because they’re onerous to clean, and also highly susceptible to breaking and causing some serious injuries. I believe in the olden days, the mark of the chemist was a term coined for chemists because they often broke glass pipettes and stabbed their arms with the broken glass. In terms of reduced plastic waste, there might be other avenues you want to tackle before going towards the stripette route.

FYI, I’m currently doing a deep dive into the Grenova tip and microplate washing systems.


When I worked at Mayo Clinic, we used glass pipettes still, but had an entire lab dedicated to washing labware like beakers, pipettes, graduated cylinders. It is possible, but likely depends on resources for washing.

Thank you for this response ehung! Totally noted that this might not be the safest. That is why I was hoping to speak with someone who has experience reusing these.

The reason I was focusing on stripettes is because they seem to account for about 1/3 of our mass of solid biohazard waste, or waste that will get incinerated. Small pipette tips (the ones that would be washed by Grenova) were only about 5% of the mass.

So a much smaller portion, although I did not yet consider the mass of the racks/boxes that those pipette tips arrive in. Those might have a chance at being recycled, while used strippettes/pipette tips have to go to biohazard. Very curious what the result of your tip/plate washing deep dive is!

Centrifuge/eppendorf tubes also seem to be a large portion of the mass of biohazard, so considering glass alternatives for that. But still have safety doubts when it comes to glass versus plastic in the centrifuge.

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Ah interesting Derek! Any chance I could get in touch with someone from that lab in charger of washing the labware? When suggesting new items that are not single use, I often get the question of how much additional time/resources it would take to do the washing.

Hi @jshmoo,
I can certainly see if I can get any contact information. I can say they have a significant number of resources put into these capabilities. They have personnel, machinery, etc. that makes this possible. This was fully supporting their diagnostic labs, so it is possible. Give me a few weeks to see if I can get you in touch with anyone.

My deep dive largely explored not just carbon footprint reduction, but supply chain resilience, and cost savings. One thing to consider is that your mass reduction might be 5%, but the entire carbon footprint to bring clean tiny tip boxes to your door is a much higher than the mass of your plastic. Ultimately my study found out based off of our tip purchase rate, that our return on investment is less than 2 years (amazing for any piece of equipment if you ask me). In addition, we could reduce our tip purchasing by 90% making it more resilient to the supply chain issues and rising costs we’ll probably continue to see in the foreseeable future. They’re also releasing a microplate washer as well, so that is another avenue to explore your ESG endeavors.


I wash my glass pipettes with DI H2O and then stick them in an oven to try overnight. Figure that makes them chemically clean, and sterile as well.

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I used to work with a couple labs that used glass pipettes. They would clean them using something like this:

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At our institute we have a pipette washing machine from this company: PipettenspĂĽler | GEWO Feinmechanik GmbH

It’s possible to sterilize the pipettes by autoclaving in these old-school cylindrical metal boxes.
Depending on the application one might need to (manually) stick in some cotton as an aerosol filter.

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This is something that I’ve never thought about, autoclaving serological pipettes… Some plastics can be autoclaved, such as Polycarbonate and Polypropylene. Are there serological pipettes made out of these plastics?

A quick Google comes up with these PP pipettes in 1mL, 2mL, 5mL, and 10mL sizes: 1mL Polypropylene Graduated Measuring Pipettes | U.S. Plastic Corp.

Perhaps they are autoclavable?

Edit: Other sources are saying that they are not autoclavable since they may deform slightly in the heat which would change their volume, rendering them useless…