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Home > By DEPARTMENTS > Green Manufacturing > Green Chemistry for Manufacturing Sustainability & Efficiency

Green Chemistry Reduces Risk with Nontoxic Business Solutions and Savings

Converting from toxic to nontoxic chemicals starts with identifying both large and small inventories. Savings can reach 35% ROI.

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Product Chemistry and Water Quality

Green Chemistry Optimization with Environmental and Economic Benefits

Green chemistry is the ultimate proof that environmental and economic benefits in chemistry can be optimized simultaneously. The technologies that spin out of this novel research are the seeds that can sustain small business ventures and green corporate practices. From reducing and improving pharmaceutical processes, reinventing the home and construction business, to over-coming our climate and energy challenges, green chemistry is proving that economics and environment are not mutually exclusive. - Catherine T. Hunt, Ph.D., American Chemical Society (ACS), President.

Green chemistry is about reducing the number of chemicals in our environment because of human health, costs and impact on the environment shared by all people (and species).

The 12 Principles of Green Chemistry

Paul Anastas, formerly with the EPA, and John C. Warner developed 12 principles of green chemistry, which help to explain what the definition means in practice. Examples of green chemistry projects include: finding non-toxic, non volatile solvent substitutes, developing new catalysis and environmentally friendly materials.
  • Prevent waste
  • Design safer chemicals and products
  • Design less hazardous chemical syntheses
  • Use renewable feedstocks
  • Use catalysts, not stoichiometric reagents
  • Avoid chemical derivatives
  • Maximize atom economy
  • Use safer solvents and reaction conditions
  • Increase energy efficiency
  • Design chemicals and products to degrade after use
  • Analyze in real time to prevent pollution
  • Minimize the potential for accidents

How feasible is "green" chemistry? We think of chemicals as being manmade. But natural substances and benign compounds are also "chemicals"...and in many cases these less toxic materials can replace toxic chemicals that have crept into our product and process chains.

Recent news is covering the chemical levels found in drinking water and ground water. And the fact that chemical testing is not a federal water safety requirement for municipal water supplies. Ouch!

The good news is that it is now possible to identify all the chemicals used in a supply chain ... and many toxic chemicals can be replaced with less toxic, or nontoxic materials. And many times, these options can deliver greater product performance -- along with the expected health and safety for employees, lower cost, lower risk -- and therefore lower insurance premiums.

Business Benefits of Green Chemistry

By combining the technologies of computer databases, portable scanning equipment, and standardized information on product data sheets -- companies can now track, compare, and measure their conversion from toxic chemistry to nontoxic or "green" chemistry.

green chemistry tracking software One company that is making it feasible for organizations to identify and measure their toxic chemical inventory is Dolphin Safe Source.

Dolphin's 15 minute documentary regarding the advances in nontoxic business options is entitled "Nontoxic Business: New insights for greening the supply chain." You can view it here.

From the factory floors to the boardrooms, from newsrooms to the halls of Congress, Nontoxic Business follows the story of hazardous chemical reduction and elimination where it’s being discussed and implemented now. With its fact-filled interviews on location with business executives and logistics directors, journalists, scientists, and corporate-responsibility professionals, Nontoxic Business reveals the motives and methods by which companies are cleaning up their inventories and product lines globally. The insights they reveal in this powerful film are increasing worker, public, and environmental safety. These workable chemical management solutions are also affecting real, measurable cost savings: the engine that drives business.

Benefits of Green Chemistry vs. Toxic Chemistry

If a large company has 40,000 chemical products enterprise-wide, a supply-side solution would only be set up to look at 10 percent to 20 percent of the largest volume chemicals. Enterprises, however, frequently have many thousands of potentially dangerous and costly smaller chemical volumes and purchases.

Local purchasing of cleaners and lubricants and other chemicals used for facility functioning and operations can mount up, and be invisible to a central purchasing operation that carefully monitors chemical use programs. A spread-out company can end up with thousands of products that are intended to do similar functions within a company, but in toxic terms, might not have consistent safety records.

Mark Wysong, author of "The Nontoxic CEO: Protecting Your People, Planet and Profits through Better Chemical Management," illustrates the point with real world figures. American industry spends tens of billions of dollars each year complying with government-mandated environmental health and safety (EHS) regulations. That volume necessitates not only monitoring of major inventory items, but the thousands of distributed, small inventories, as well.

Because of the scale of chemical purchases by business, better control of which chemicals are inventoried, as well as how they are handled and disposed of -- measurement and control can mount up to millions of dollars of savings.

Best practices can reduce safety and security risks, as well as save money through bulk purchases, less expensive non-toxic alternatives, and less regulatory and disposal costs of environmentally friendly alternatives.

Dolphin's Green Chemistry Solution: Green Product Selector

Dolphin's "Green Product Selector" software provides MRO purchasers with visibility into their chemical inventories, allowing them to know and better manage the toxicity and cost of maintenance, repair and operating chemicals. The Green Product Selector ranks chemical products in 700 use categories.

In-depth analysis is online for products such as window cleaners, degreasers, gasket sealants, by human and environmental hazards and cost per unit.

Ranking is based on data compiled from federal and international regulatory lists. MRO purchasing professionals may also create their own watch lists, which allows them to better control the buying and use of products that do meet standards.

Green Chemistry Players

California Green Chemistry Initiative

To help track comments and input with California, the initiative now has four forums, one for each of the discussions areas. Each forum allows you to add your own new posts as well as reply to other posts. FORUMS: Cradle to Cradle; Green Chemistry; Toxics in Products by Design; Toxics in Products by Accident. You can sign up to receive e-mail updates about the California Green Chemistry Initiative from DTSC's listserv. California Green Chemistry

Green Chemistry Expert System -- US EPA

The Green Chemistry Expert System (GCES) is a stand-alone computer program that can be used to select green chemicals and reactions. Green chemistry is the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use or generation of hazardous substances. This new approach to pollution prevention is the central focus of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Green Chemistry Program. Green Chemistry - EPA

WWW Chemistry Guide

Chemistry Guide - a comprehensive collection of annotated links for chemists and researchers involved in organic, biochemical, computational, medicinal and/or other chemistry research. ChemistryGuide.org

Green Chemistry Institute

Green Chemistry Institute accesses information on chemical research, conferences and symposia around the world, with links to journal extracts, recent publications, and new projects such as the new green chemistry centers springing up around the world. Chemistry.org

Green Chemistry Network

The main aim of the Green Chemistry Network is to promote awareness and facilitate education, training and practice of Green Chemistry in industry, commerce, academia and schools. Site contains a database on Green Chemistry, listing of events (e.g. workshops, conferences, most of which are in the UK), useful topic-based searchable mbers' database, very useful list of recent scientific publications on green chemistry. ChemSOC.org

Greener Education Materials for Chemists

An interactive database of education materials focused on green chemistry. Available in June 2005, a comprehensive resource of education materials including laboratory exercises, lecture materials, course syllabi and multimedia content that illustrate chemical concepts important for green chemistry. Each entry includes a description of the item and is searchable by a variety of parameters, including chemistry concepts, laboratory techniques, green chemistry principles, and target audience. GreenChem.UOregon.edu

Environmental Chemistry

Provides chemistry, environmental and hazardous materials news, information & resources including: in depth articles; a detailed periodic table of elements; chemical database; hazmat emergency response guides; hazmat placarding information; and much more. EnvironmentalChemistry.com

GC3 - Green Chemistry & Commerce Council

A growing number of companies are discovering that the approaches of green chemistry and Design for Environment (DfE) allow for a transition to safer alternatives. The Green Chemistry and Commerce Council provides open conversation about the challenges to and opportunities for this successful transition. The GC3 was formed in 2005 by the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production and the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. The mission of the GC3 is to promote and support green chemistry and the design for environment approach to research and practices nationally and internationally among companies and other governmental and non-governmental entities by:
  • Implementing green chemistry, green engineering, and design for environment throughout supply chains and sharing strategies to overcome barriers and reduce environmental footprints;
  • Promoting education and information on safer chemicals and products that can increase demand by a broad range of consumers; and
  • Identifying existing and needed information on toxics hazards, risks, exposures and safer alternatives to promote green chemistry as defined in the “12 Principles of Green Chemistry.”
GreenChemistryandCommerce.org

"Green Chemistry is the utilization of a set of principles that reduces or eliminates the use or generation of hazardous substances in the design, manufacture and application of chemical products.

Green chemistry is a revolutionary philosophy that seeks to unite government, academic and industrial communities by placing more emphasis on tending to environmental impacts at the earliest stage of innovation and invention." Green Chemistry, University of Massachusetts]

SMALL Problem Solutions for small and medium size business
PROBLEM: Chemicals have gotten away from us...many are helpful, but all add up to a chemical soup that is impacting our health and our environment.

SOLUTION: We can all make a difference by identifying, measuring, properly handling, and switching to greener chemicals!



Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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