Recycling Laboratory Equipment for Pharmaceutical Companies.

How do you Dispose of Laboratory Equipment?

By Chris Keenan

When you think about ‘how best’ to dispose of lab equipment, typically you’d probably think 1 of the following 3 things: 

1. Throw the lab equipment out i.e. into a dumpster for garbage collection.

2. Sell the lab equipment possibly by using an auction business that resells old laboratory hardware.

3. Find and use a specialized company that recycles old lab equipment.

Obviously, we are talking about the disposal of everyday lab equipment, things like spectrophotometer, computers and particle counters.  We are not talking about radioactive or contaminated hardware.


Let’s start by stopping the idea that you can throw out old lab equipment. Even if it wasn’t illegal to dump your lab electronics, you’d still run into problems disposing of it.  Firstly, dumping discarded lab equipment in a landfill directly contributes to the creation of a condensed methane generating biodome environment.  Or, in other words: landfills create one of the worst greenhouse gasses, so using a landfill will massively contribute to global warming.

There is an argument for incinerating old lab equipment and in the process converting that energy into electricity.  It’s not a brilliant argument though.  Even with good air scrubbers most incineration plants produce sulfur dioxide and trace amounts of mercury.  We all know how bad mercury is but did you know sulfur dioxide is pretty much the cause of acid rain.  There are a few places around the world that manage to incinerate relatively cleanly, but not many.

If dumping isn’t really an option then is reselling the best way to dispose of laboratory equipment?  Selling your used or old lab equipment can be a good way to keep it in use but eventually it will stop working.  Reselling isn’t really a long-term solution.  Technically speaking you’re just passing the problem of how to dispose of lab equipment on to someone else.  Usually, sold second-hand lab equipment tends to find its way into the hands of poorer businesses in countries that don’t necessarily have any disposal laws in place.  I’m not saying you shouldn’t resell.  For example, Newtech Recycling Inc. has a ‘responsible reselling policy’ that helps ensure your old laboratory hardware is sold to businesses that agree to recycle their obsolete hardware.

However, if you want to ensure your unwanted laboratory equipment is disposed of the “right way” you should have it recycled.  Before you start Googling “companies that recycle lab equipment”, you should know that there’s “recycling lab equipment” and then there are companies that “truly recycle lab equipment”.  Let’s look at this more closely.   There are two ways to recycle pharmaceutical hardware, instruments, equipment and furniture.  The most common is just to chuck it into a big shredder.  These shredders cut everything into flakes which are sorted through to try and identify the different materials.  It’s ok ‘ish’ but usually there’s a fair amount of waste that can’t be separated. Unfortunately, that waste ends up on its way to the incinerator or the landfill and we all know how that ends.  The second method is via a practice known as de-manufacturing.

You’ve probably guessed what de-manufacturing involves. Simply explained: de-manufacturing means manually taking apart and sorting the materials of your company’s old lab equipment.  Newtech Recycling is one of the leaders in Lab equipment recycling.  They employ teams of people to sort the glass from the metals, the plastic from the rubber, etc.  These teams can strip down and separate out the materials of even the most complex machinery in minutes.  The process costs a few dollars more but it means higher levels of reclamation, less pollution and most importantly a more sustainable future for us all.

Newtech Recycling offers next day pickups, security tracked disposal, full accountability, remarketing options if you choose to sell your used lab equipment and certified recycling should you wish to properly dispose of your laboratory hardware. We can help with the disposal of the following laboratory equipment and pharmaceutical hardware (*if it’s not on the list call us on 732-564-3110 or click here to send us an email):

liquid chromatography
gpc systems
hplc accessories
hplc autosamplers
hplc columns
hplc detectors
hplc pumps
hplc systems
uhplc systems
ion chromatography
mass spectrometer
melting point apparatus
moisture analyzers
particle counters
particle size
toc analyzers
thermal analysis
turbidity meters
uhplc systems
universal tester
x-ray analytical
ph meter
cell counters
dna sequencers
dna synthesizers
flow cytometers
frame grabbers
frame cameras
gamma counters
gel dryer
hybridization ovens
hybridization incubators
imaging systems
molecular imagers
immunoassay systems
microarray scanners
microplate dispensers
microplate readers
microplate washers
microplate handlers
pcr enclosures
thermal cycler
rnai technology
reagents and synthesis
real-time pcr
scintillation counters
blood cell analyzers
blood gas analyzers
chemistry analyzer
coagulation analyzers
electrolyte analyzers
hematology analyzers
embedding centers
slide stainers
tissue processors
fiber optics
light sources
optical detectors
power meters


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