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ALT Featured In Newsweek

February 16, 2015

From Garbage Container to Incubator: The Curious Life Cycle of Used Lab Equipment


Under the cover of night, a man jumped into a garbage container in Groton, Connecticut. He dug until he unearthed a machine that looked half decent, then another, and even pocketed a handful of unbroken beakers. He drove back to his garage, assessed his findings and was pleased. He knew his foraging trip into Pfizer’s garbage would be good for business.

This was the birth of American Laboratory Trading (ALT), a used lab equipment company that has become the largest of its kind over the past 15 years. In 2014, ALT shipped refurbished lab equipment to more than 40 countries, invested over $1 million in biotech incubators, and even picked up some non-science clients—mainly movie studios needing the perfect mad scientist lab for film scenes (including, for example, the producers of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).

Back in the early 2000s, “there was no real used equipment market” says Jayson Bernstein, chief operating officer of ALT. “Labs didn’t close up and have big sales the way they do now. Dumpster diving was literally how the industry started.”

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