A Healthy Planet for Healthy People



The biotechnology industry works tirelessly to develop new medicines and technologies that improve outcomes for patients. However, while these activities can have a positive impact on human health, they can also have a negative impact on the environment in various ways. We believe that biopharma companies should aim to minimize the negative footprint that drug R&D  may have on the planet to ensure a total net positive impact.

At Enveda, our goal is to translate nature into new medicines. Nature is our greatest teacher, inspiration, and resource.  While uncommon for a company our age, we have already developed a focus toward ensuring that our drug discovery activities are carried out with as little negative impact on the environment as possible. 

Traditionally, the drug discovery process includes certain environmental challenges such as: 

  • Energy usage: Some scientific instruments require huge amounts of energy to run. For example, a single fume hood can consume as much energy as 3-4 households in a year (1).
  • Reagent usage: Drug discovery requires using reagents and products that include active ingredients, plastics, fillers, known toxins and solvents, which must be produced and disposed of carefully. 
  • Single-use plastics: Biological experiments and clinical activities typically require the use of sterile materials and personal protective equipment to reduce contamination, such as pre-packaged plastics, syringes, pipette tips, and gloves. Most of these sterile materials cannot be reused and are disposed of as waste. 

We are continuously recognizing and mapping the points within the R&D cycle that produce negative environmental outputs. 

This has enabled us to implement several initiatives and internal processes within our lab operations in Boulder, CO and Hyderabad, India, to ensure we minimize the negative footprints that are typical of traditional drug R&D. More on those below! 


Going Green with Eco-Cycle 

Environmental Waste: Gleaning inspiration from the University of Colorado’s Green Labs program, in 2021, even as we were establishing our labs post our Series A financing, we initiated a partnership with Eco-Cycle–a local, mission-driven, nonprofit social enterprise spreading Zero Waste solutions in Boulder County (Figure 1)(2). Eco-Cycle works to recycle “hard to recycle” (HTR) lab plastics that aren’t accepted in single-stream recycling and to divert this waste from the landfill.  This waste includes pipette tip boxes, test tube racks, flexible film from sterile lab supply packaging, and polystyrene styrofoam from package shipments.


Figure 1. Eco-cycle compost hauling 

Our Eco-Cycle partnership also includes a food waste composting program for leftover food scraps and  coffee grounds, that we rolled out in October 2023. Our team members all contribute to our recycling, proper waste disposal and food composting efforts. 

Since January 2023 alone, we have diverted 2,610 pounds of waste from landfills, composed of: 

  • Plastic films: 96 pounds
  • Food compost: 125 pounds
  • Scrap metal: 663 pounds
  • Lab plastics: 750 pounds
  • Polystyrene/styrofoam: 976 pounds  

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), food and food packaging materials make up almost half of all municipal solid waste (3). When we provide office lunches and snacks, we  reduce single-use plastics by opting for reusable dishware and cutlery. We only provide canned beverages, including canned water, for our thirsty visitors due to aluminum’s near infinite potential to be recycled (Figure 2) (4). We are also moving towards implementing bulk snack containers in our kitchen space to reduce food waste and individually-wrapped food items (Figure 2). 

Figure 2. Bulk snack containers and canned beverages in Enveda’s kitchens 

Education: We also support Eco-Cycle through volunteer efforts in their recycling facilities and by hosting “What Goes Where” lunch-and-learns to educate our team about proper waste diversion.  Our internal volunteer group, the “Green Team”, also contributes to and upholds the standards of our recycling program. Another major goal of the Green Team is to educate our employees on sustainability practices they can transfer beyond the lab into their homes and communities (Figure 3).


Figure 3: Enveda team members planting seedlings at the Boulder Valley School District greenhouse which supplies fresh produce to local school cafeterias.

Advancing Our Green Building

Energy: Energy consumption is a major contributor to greenhouse house gas (GHG) emissions, and lab space is estimated to consume 2-10x more energy per square foot compared to office space (5,6). We have implemented processes to decrease energy consumption within our buildings. Simple additions, such as equipping our buildings with motion sensor lights in the labs and the offices, installing a dynamic HVAC system and fume hoods that ramp down outside of normal business hours, have made a big difference in our energy usage. 

Water Consumption: Consuming water has a direct effect on the environment, and efficient water use protects environmental and human health. At our Boulder headquarters we have installed automatic water taps in our restrooms to encourage more efficient water consumption, while our facilities in India recycle used water using a Sewage Treatment Plant (STP), and then use that water to water the plants around our offices.   

Going Green Beyond Our Labs 

Our facilities in India have additional distinct initiatives that reduce waste and encourage sustainability, including reusing the packing material and installing electric vehicle (EV) charging stations on the premises. Lastly, we provide bus fare to encourage public/group transport to avoid greater pollution caused by every employee driving to work individually. We will dive deeper into our India initiatives in a future piece! 


With efforts driven by team members at all levels of our organization, Enveda is committed to reducing our impact on the environment by implementing smart energy building solutions, composting our food waste, green volunteer activities, and diverting lab waste from landfills. While we recognize these are small efforts in a world battling large environmental problems, we believe every small action can make a large difference. We believe the accumulated efforts from individual people and companies globally will have a significant, positive impact on the health of our planet. 

Will you join us in encouraging your company to adopt some of these initiatives?

Visit our website to learn more about Enveda, or contact our Director of Policy & Development, Tendai Chisowa, Ph.D. at  

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,

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