Design for Sustainability: Improving product properties and reducing environmental impacts

Design for Sustainability: Improving product properties and reducing environmental impacts (Picture)
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Design for Sustainability (DfS) is an approach to product development at our life science tools division that looks to minimize the environmental and health impact at each stage of the product life cycle from manufacturing through use to disposal. At the same time, we look to maximize features that improve product performance and ease of use. We incorporate sustainability considerations early in the design process before impacts of design decisions are locked in, and we use a set of criteria for major impact areas like materials, energy and waste to measure improvements. These approaches help reduce energy and water consumption, create more productive processes that minimize waste, streamline packaging, and potentially reduce associated costs. The benefits come both during the manufacturing process at our life science tools division as well as during product usage for the customer.

A cross-functional DfS working group including R&D, Marketing, Quality, EHS (Environment, Health and Safety), and Operations (packaging) has worked to develop the DfS processes and criteria as well as propose that the process be a formal part of our product development. Starting in 2014, the DfS process is being applied to our life science tools division product development projects.

Design for Sustainability principles in action:

Clarisolve® Depth Filters  , used in cell culture processing, were launched in 2013. With reduced pre-flushing requirements of the product as an important goal of the design, we completed a Life Cycle Assessment to quantify this reduction and other environment-related improvements. The results show that significant progress has been achieved, especially for the use phase of the product. Compared to the alternative product (Millistak+ Pod depth filter) for producing one batch at the customer, Clarisolve® is characterized by 63% reduction in use-phase energy consumption, which is equivalent to avoiding emissions from 21 gallons of gas, by a 46% reduction in use-phase water consumption, and by a 24% reduction in solid waste mass at the user facility. This lowers the environmental burden and helps customers to meet their own sustainability goals.

Also in 2013 the EZ-Fit Manifold for laboratory filtration   was launched. During the design process, the DfS approach was followed, leading to improved handling, reduced energy use in autoclave, and reduced waste from materials, packaging and disposal (compared to the predecessor Hydrosol Manifold). The 38% reduction in emissions from shipping one unit to a typical customer location is equivalent to saving 240 hours of light bulb use (75 watt incandescent bulb).


EZ-Fit™ Manifold for universal lab filtration

Customer Benefits:

  • Simplified handling, easy cleaning
  • Reduced energy use in autoclave
  • Reduced waste from materials, packaging and disposal

Product Improvement Highlights:



weight reduction, cutting raw material consumption and shipping emissions

Emissions & Energy


less emissions from autoclaving



recyclable corrugated packaging



of the product can be recycled

Clarisolve® Depth Filter

Customer Benefits:

  • Reduced operating costs
  • Reduced energy and water consumption
  • Reduced waste from materials

Product Improvement Highlights:



reduction in product material mass*

Emissions & Energy


less use-phase energy consumption*



less use-phase water consumption*



less solid waste mass at user facility*

* Compared to EMD Millipore's process-scale Millistak+ Pod depth filter


Publication of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.

In the United States and Canada the subsidiaries of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany operate under the umbrella brand EMD.


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