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October 18, 2021 | Case studies

LabCycle – Revolutionising the Recycling of Lab Plastic Waste

LabCycle – Revolutionising the Recycling of Lab Plastic Waste

LabCycle is the first company in the market specialised in the recycling of single-use plastics from research labs and creating the first circular lab plastic supply chain.

Research laboratories generate an enormous amount of single-use plastic waste – yet research facilities tend to have little infrastructure in place to sustainably deal with this waste and waste management companies don’t have the know-how to recycle it.

With the help of the University of Surrey’s SME Innovation Voucher scheme, experts from the Centre for Environment and Sustainability collaborated with LabCycle to carry out a Life-cycle and economic analysis of various treatment strategies for single-use lab plastic waste, and to develop  an experimental plan for plastic characterization post-decontamination. The SME Innovation Voucher funds innovative, collaborative projects between small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and our world-class academics.

The project demonstrated techno-economic advantages and climate impact mitigation potential from LabCycle’s recycling process compared to autoclave-based recycling process. This collaboration has given Professor Sadhukhan and her team the opportunity to study and understand the recycling options of lab-generated waste plastics.  The project resulted in the development of a plan for further work on process development, including Surrey-based characterisations and analyses.

Helen Liang, CSO LabCycle said: “Thanks to Dan Bance from the Enterprise Programmes team, we were introduced to Professor Jhuma Sadhukhan. With Dan’s help, we scoped an innovative project with clearly defined tasks, deliverables, and outcomes. It has been delightful to work with Jhuma and Mr Kartik Sekar. The communication was prompt, and the analysis was clear and thorough. The Scheme is an unmissable opportunity for businesses who want to innovate and grow.

Prof. Sadhukhan, Centre for Environment and Sustainability said “The project was instrumental in embarking on a new collaboration with LabCycle. Their recycling process of lab waste plastics holds the promise to resolve many global challenges, such as zero waste, circular economy, and net zero emissions. LabCycle’s process can solve this significant global challenge by keeping carbon within the value chains. The academic team is very grateful to the University’s Enterprise Programmes team for inviting to participate in this significant opportunity. The team has found every interaction with LabCycle eye-opening and insightful. We believe that this project would lead to some significant innovations in the field and a long-term collaboration between the company and the University.

If you would like to find out more about collaborating with the University of Surrey, contact collaborate@surrey.ac.uk

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