Smaller COVID Test Box = Bigger Sustainability Impact

Here's how and why we minimized packaging for our at-home rapid tests.

Diagnostics Testing|Jun.15, 2022

More than two years into COVID-19, odds are you've probably used an at-home test. Whether it be to join your extended family for a holiday meal, test your kids as they return to activities or to travel confidently, we all have experience with rapid at-home testing.

Millions of our at-home tests are used by families around the world, which is why our scientists and teams are committed to continuing to develop tests that can be trusted and are widely available. But we didn't stop at availability. Our teams evaluated the packaging of our rapid antigen tests and continued to innovate to make the best better. Why? Because we're never satisfied until both our communities and our planet have an experience that is truly centered around their needs.

In the coming weeks, you’ll notice that both our BinaxNOW and Panbio COVID-19 Self Tests packaging have changed, in the U.S. and outside the U.S. respectively. All changes are to improve portability, functionality and ease of use all while continuing to deliver fast, reliable and accurate results, in the comfort of home or point-of-care.

Not to worry, the tests themselves, how they run, and the technology powering them has not changed.

Here are the changes we made, why we made them and how they’ll impact you.

Changes to U.S. At-Home Tests

  • BinaxNOW COVID-19 Self Test packaging is now 31% smaller than the original packaging.
  • We removed the plastic tray inside the packaging to reduce waste. This also helped us have a smaller overall packaging. 
  • We combined the multiple fact sheets down to one to reduce paper.

Changes to International At-Home Tests

  • Panbio COVID-19 Antigen Self-Test packaging is up to 33% smaller and 20% lighter than the original packaging.
  • We also replaced the buffer bottle with a pre-filled extraction tube. This removes an entire step of the testing process, making it more efficient and easier to follow.
  • We shortened the nasal swab, minimizing waste while also decreasing intimidation with shallow nasal collection and improving the overall test experience.
  • We removed the plastic tray– which helped to reduce waste and create a smaller box size.

Small Changes Make a Big Impact

Our 2030 Sustainability Plan is focused on building a healthier future for all, including protecting a healthy environment, as we build a stronger, more sustainable Abbott for years to come. These changes made to BinaxNOW and Panbio COVID-19 Antigen Self-Tests help reduce materials needed and reduce overall waste, part of our broader focus on reducing the environmental impact of our product packaging. By 2030, we're working to address 50 million pounds of packaging through high-impact sustainable design programs like our work with BinaxNOW and Panbio.

COVID-19 has significantly impacted our world in many different ways. Sustainability doesn't have to be one of them.

These changes might seem small, and some might not even be noticed. But over time, these small changes can have a big impact. And when that impact improves not only our environment, but our users' experience with our technology, small changes are well worth the effort.

You'll notice these packaging changes over the course of the next few weeks when you purchase self-tests at your local retailer





The BinaxNOW™ COVID-19 Antigen Self Test is a lateral flow immunoassay intended for the qualitative detection of nucleocapsid protein antigen from SARS-CoV-2 from individuals with or without symptoms or other epidemiological reasons to suspect COVID-19 infection when tested twice over three days with at least 24 hours (and no more than 48 hours) between tests. This test is authorized for non-prescription home use with self-collected direct anterior nasal (nares) swab samples from individuals aged 15 years or older or adult collected anterior nasal swab samples from individuals aged two years or older.

The Panbio Self-Test is not available in the U.S. where Abbott manufactures and sells the BinaxNOW COVID-19 Antigen Self Test which is also authorized for over-the-counter usage and available at major national pharmacies, grocery chains and retailers.