Single-use systems are becoming increasingly popular in bioprocessing, due to their potential to improve productivity, quality, and safety. Nonetheless, there is also concern about Single-Use Products environmental impact. These concerns, however, have appeared to be rationalized in comparison to the benefits they provide for not only bioprocessing industry but also their impact on the environment
Some of the potential sustainability benefits of using single-use systems in bioprocessing:
- Reduced water and energy consumption: Single-use systems do not require cleaning and sterilization, which can be a major source of water and energy consumption in traditional bioprocessing. Also, production of single use systems has proven to be emitting 35 percent lesser CO2 into the atmosphere, when compared to their stainless steel counterparts.
- Reduced use of harsh chemicals: Single-use systems do not require the use of harsh chemicals for cleaning and sterilization, which can be harmful to the environment.
- Improved product quality: Single-use systems can help to reduce the risk of contamination, which can improve product quality; and thereby bring the products the market faster, saving time and resources.
Increased flexibility:Single-use systems can be more easily adapted to new processes or products, which can improve efficiency. They can be modified to fit certain process modules, which means, less wastage and loss to the organizations.
The sustainability of using single-use systems in bioprocessing depends on several factors, including the specific application, the type of single-use system used, and how used systems are managed. In some cases, single-use systems may be the more sustainable option, while in others, reusable systems may be a better choice. Here are some factors to consider when assessing the sustainability of single-use systems:
- The type of product being manufactured. Some products, such as pharmaceuticals, require an elevated level of cleanliness and sterility, which can make single-use systems a more practical option.
- The volume of production. Single-use systems can be more efficient for small-scale production, but they may not be able to replace complete large scale production systems.
- The sensitivity of the end-product: Single use systems come in a variety of sizes, materials and makes. Most processes demand high quality products to be used for a high-quality yield. In such cases, the laboratories will choose products that are free from harmful agents that can add extractables and leachables to the final product.
Single-Use Systems in bioprocessing and biopharma units have proven to enhance speed and efficiency. This has in turn allowed for rapid setup, reduced initial cost (up to 40% of the initial cost) and processing multiple products at various scale. Owing to their flexibility, Single Use Systems have also proven to be more adaptable, allowing for seamless transitions from R&D to Scale-Up to full-scale production. This results in improved throughput and scalability and have also proven to reduce costs up to 70% in some cases.
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