AbstractTraditionally the analysis of biomedical discourses surrounding biobanking has focused on the role of donation and gift giving as central aspects related to the procurement and use of tissue samples. More recently, studies have looked at the political underpinnings of building national collections of tissue samples. These national projects draw increasingly on a discourse of waste and efficiency as a way of legitimising activities. This paper draws attention to the way new arguments draw from environmental discourses in an attempt to reframe contentious ethical and legal issues in a more favourable light. Attempts to evoke notions of efficiency draw on a different set of persuasive techniques to foster support for large research and development ventures involving public-private partnerships, but at the same time limit public debate. Copyright , Beech Tree Publishing.