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World Environment Day 2022 at IDT

Our past, present, and future commitment to global sustainability
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Takeaway: For many years, IDT has remained committed to environmental sustainability by actively minimizing the impact of our manufacturing, research operations, and products and services. In honor of World Environment Day 2022, we reaffirm our pledge to continue seeking new ways to improve our environmental management programs. 

Our sustainability efforts began many years ago at our headquarters in Coralville, Iowa. Initiated by our founder Dr. Joseph Walder and his wife Elizabeth, our goal has been—and remains today—to improve efficiency and lower environmental impact across all IDT facilities. 

IDT resolves to lead the life sciences industry in sustainable manufacturing solutions 

Our proprietary custom DNA synthesis, coupled with bioinformatics tools and high-throughput capabilities, has made it possible to genetically engineer healthier, cleaner, more sustainable solutions for the world’s most pressing challenges. Yet, as an organization, we sought to do more.  

The first significant objective on our historical sustainability journey was to create a central home for IDT that reflects our passion for sustainability through industry-leading, environmentally-friendly features.  

IDT headquarters, Coralville, Iowa 

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IDT’s headquarters utilizes:  

  • A geothermal heating and cooling system  

  • Stormwater bioswales that filter parking lot run off and help improve biodiversity, particularly in prairie grasses that have declined over the years in Iowa 

  • Rooftop light monitors and solar shading that provide natural light without increasing the heat load 

  • Recycled building materials and energy efficient equipment that significantly reduce the use of electricity, gas, and water 

As we continue to expand and add new locations around the world, we work to improve our sites with sustainability in mind. In addition to the activities and initiatives within IDT, we also support our customers in their efforts to reduce environmental impacts of a diversity of manufacturing and industrial processes. Examples of these include the development of biofuels, synthetic food, textiles and dyeing processes, biosensors, renewable chemicals, biomaterials, and environmental remediation. 

Creating a more sustainable future 

Over the span of 15 years, IDT has pioneered new and innovative ways to reduce the amount of hazardous waste we generate. Initial efforts involved identifying less-hazardous solvents for all synthesis reagent solutions and switching to less-hazardous materials where possible. During the second phase of our sustainability evaluation, we were able to remove all non-hazardous aqueous material from the bulk hazardous waste stream in our Coralville labs. Later, we completed a review of the smaller waste stream processes to determine if we could make modifications to eliminate the hazardous waste created from them as well.  

Additional projects by IDT include: 

  • 2013: Formalized baseline and metrics for measurable sustainability and has tracked these on a monthly basis across all Iowa facilities  

  • 2014—Began reporting in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines  

  • 2015-2016—Installed about 4,400 energy-efficient LED lights and reduced water use by 10% 

  • 2018—Participated in a beneficial reuse partnership allowing for the recycling of about 773,000 lbs. of material 

  • 2018—Launched a nitrile glove reuse and recycling program at all US sites, diverting about 20 tons of gloves from landfills 

  • 2020—Reduced shipping material per shipment across all sites, and switched to 100% biodegradable shipping materials 

  • Implemented a safety glasses recycling program 

Bulk hazardous waste was the last remaining hazardous waste stream regularly generated in our Coralville synthesis manufacturing processes. By late 2015, we identified a partner who could beneficially reuse our hazardous waste as a replacement for a commercially available product in their system. Since October 2015, IDT has virtually eliminated hazardous waste. Other than some episodic generation during emergencies, we have been able to declassify or find other disposal routes to eliminate all hazardous waste streams. 

Continuous innovation in sustainable manufacturing 

In recognition of IDT's efforts to recycle significant amounts of solid waste, IDT was chosen to receive the Greenovation Award from Kimberly-Clark (most recently in 2021), which recognizes businesses using innovative solutions and programs to reduce their environmental impact over a five-year period. 

In 2018, IDT became a Danaher operating company. Danaher has an established sustainability program focused on innovation, people, and the environment. Danaher’s innovative portfolio, the dedication of our passionate people, and our deeply ingrained commitment to continuous improvement amplify our opportunity to impact sustainability for the long-term


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