Daily CSR
Daily CSR

Daily CSR
Daily news about corporate social responsibility, ethics and sustainability

Merck KGaA launches pilot program towards using sustainable insulating materials


Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, is pleased to announce the launch of a pilot program for the "Greener Cooler," a more sustainable alternative for cold chain shipments of its life science products. Because of its high insulation properties, expanded polystyrene (EPS), also known as styrofoam, is now the industry standard for cold chain shipment of life science products. However, because EPS is petroleum-based, it is difficult to recycle, posing a significant challenge to customers' and the environment's sustainability goals.

This pilot is currently underway at one of the company's US distribution centers, with plans to expand to other major US distribution centers in early 2023. Each year, these Greener Coolers will replace more than 60.1 metric tons of EPS shipped from these US distribution centers.

“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 constructed from paper and starch. This material can be recycled directly in paper and corrugated cardboard recycling bins, eliminating the need for a specialized recycling process. Each cooler comes with a simple three-step guide printed directly on the inside flaps to show customers how to properly dispose of them.

Greener Coolers are suitable for shipping a variety of refrigerated products. Packaging experts are currently validating a Greener Cooler solution for dry ice shipments and expanding the number of Greener Cooler sizes available to further reduce the use of EPS for larger cooler sizes. Following the expansion in the United States, the company intends to expand Greener Cooler shipments to European distribution centers.

If you are interested in knowing more about Greener Coolers, click here.