This guide will review each type of pipette tip and its tip rack. Each of them will have the material they are made of, the recycling/resin code, and resources you can consult.
Opentrons tips are made from 100% polypropylene.
Please see Labconsicious.com for more details here
PP will often have a printed ‘resin code’ (5 for PP), which is useful during recycling, as they indicate what type of plastic it is. This ensures separation and efficient recycling of different plastic types.
Non hazardous micropipette tips can be collected for recycling. Collect in a puncture proof container. BL1 and BL2 tips must be decontaminated with bleach or alcohol before being deposited into a recycling bin. Pharmaceutical contamination would also prevent recycling of tips.
Always check with the environmental, health and safety office at your institution first. Sometimes finding a pipette tip inside a recycling collection container will automatically make everything considered "trash". Your institution recycling program rules will be dependent on EPA, OSHA, local hazardous waste regulations, and the municipal recycling services that are available.
P20 and P1000 Tip racks
Opentrons tipracks are made out of ABS plastic.
Please see 3drific.com for more information on recycling ABS Plastic
ABS use recycling number 7
ABS needs to be processed separately. On the industrial scale, this is automated via froth flotation, where a water-oil mixture helps sort the ABS from other particles.
At home, and at the municipal level, this will largely be done at the collection stage. ABS should be kept in a separate container and transported in the same compartmentalized manner. Some municipalities may employ workers to manually separate plastic, but this is clearly error prone, and may not work as well as separation at the collection stage.
Once ABS plastic has been separated as much as possible, the next step in the recycling process is grinding.
Other resources like terracycle are specifically designed for tip racks.
P300 Tip racks
Opentrons tip racks are made out of PC plastic (Polycarbonate).
Please see https://www.terracycle.com for more information on recycling PC plastic
Uses recycling number 7
This is a notoriously difficult process, so would either go with a company like terra cycle or contact your institution to review their recycling program’s rules
Please contact us a firstname.lastname@example.org if you have more questions or suggestions about the above. Note that recycling number 7 materials are difficult to recycle so while we will do our best to help, there are certain limitations on the support we will be able to provide.