Does Amersham care about environment?

Matthew L. Brown, Ph.D gemini3 at
Wed May 7 17:11:37 EST 1997


I expect that if your institution is anything like ours, Amersham passes
in full the cost of all excessive packaging or dry ice along to you in
the form of shipping and handling charges. Therefore, this practice can
be doubly irritating. It is bad for the environment and for your
finances. In my opinion, many research product companies are slow to
come around to environmentally friendly packaging. However, there are
some very notable exceptions with some companies using starch "peanuts"
instead of styrofoam and many companies offering easy mail back of
packaging materials for direct recycling by the company. I have on
several occasions received boxes that were perfectly intact but appeared
to have made the trip around the world several times. (if only they had
passport stamps...) In fairness to Amersham some material require
different shipping conditions and therefore can't be combined in a
single box. Also, though a box may seem disproportionately large there
may be a few explanations for this. One is that companies may only
purchase packaging material in a few standard sizes. So if something is
very small it may have to go in the smallest size box they have which
may still seem very large. Also regulatory agencies require the
separation during shipment of some reagents and also require a certain
amount of "redundant" package within package shipping. Also, when things
are shipped on dry ice and the delivery may take a day or so, an
excessive amount of dry ice may be used to prevent thawing during a
delayed delivery. This protects your product and may explain the
apparent large amount of "head space" left in a cooler during shipping.
By the way, I do not work for any research product company or
environmental group. I am just another scientist trying to make sure my
kids have a planet to inherit.

Matt Brown, Ph.D.
Research Fellow
Dept. of Medicine
Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham

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