Polycarbin receptaclePolycarbin is a valued supplier to the University of Pittsburgh that is available within the PantherExpress System either directly with departmental assistance in ordering, or through Fisher Scientific, a University-Wide Contracted Supplier’s punchout.  

Polycarbin provides low-carbon lab products, remanufactured from plastics that are sourced in its lab recycling operations. These products allow labs to do the same research while lowering their dependence on virgin plastics, and the services keep these plastics in the supply chain and out of the landfill. Polycarbin’s mission supports Pitt’s Sustainability Initiatives by providing products that are made from 20-92% recycled content by weight, and they even provide an online dashboard to track each user’s sustainable purchasing and recycling decisions.  

Polycarbin was founded by two former University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine students, Noah Pyles and James O’Brien who founded their business with a combined 15 years of laboratory research experience in 2019. Pyles, originally from Connecticut, and O’Brien, originally from Maryland, met as classmates at Pitt. After connecting, Noah and James decided to put their medical school track on pause to build Polycarbin into the success it is today.   

Pyles and O’Brien founded Polycarbin after calculating how many pounds of plastic their research used at the time. Disheartened by the results, they sought to reduce their carbon footprint and wanted to capture this homogenous stream of lab plastics. In their efforts, they discovered the materials they used in the lab were best suited to be circulated back into lab products, keeping them in the same material stream (as opposed to downcycled into plastic lumber). This find led to not only a sustainability win as it reduces plastic waste, but also provides a cost savings benefit, enabling labs to double their impact. Polycarbin also offers the “Carbin Counter”, which tracks each lab’s plastic stream, so that researchers can enjoy the full transparency of their circular economy and benchmark efforts against their sustainability goals.  

In their campaign to reduce single-use scientific plastics and improve sustainable options, the founders are proud to note that their entire company is sustainably motivated. They use their own products in their work and say that Gamma glove recycling comes in handy when they need to handle products.  

True to their Pitt origins, Pitt’s research labs were the first labs that Polycarbin looked to decarbonize. Since then, a great relationship has been maintained with Pitt and our researchers leading to Polycarbin offering Pitt exclusive pricing and white glove service. To date, hundreds of pounds of plastic have been kept out of Pittsburgh’s landfills and incinerators and maintained in the scientific supply chain to create the only line of low carbon lab products! 

Polycarbin’s team is composed of a number of individuals from different races, ethnicities, and backgrounds which leads to a rich culture and motivated team dedicated to the mission of creating sustainable supply chain lab options, climate equity and reducing carbon footprints.  

Polycarbin’s founders, Noah and James, say they are incredibly grateful to the Pitt community and their culture of innovation that has played a significant role in their success. Pitt’s support for Polycarbin while on campus was immense and has remained solid as the company has continued to build off campus and abroad.  

Polycarbin’s products are available through the Fisher Scientific punchout in the PantherExpress System, or users can obtain a quote and their department will process as a non-catalog or quote form type of order. It is recommended to utilize the Fisher Scientific punchout purchasing method to receive free shipping and handling. Please note that you must first be a PantherExpress System user to access the punchout, visit this page for more information about requesting access. 

Visit this page for more information about the University’s sustainability intiatives for purchasing.

                  Noah Pyles - Polycarbin Co-founder & COO                            James O'Brian, Polycarbin Co-founder, CEO

Pictured left to right: Noah Pyles, Co-founder, COO and James O'Brien, Co-founder, CEO for Polycarbin