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Pollution Prevention and You:
Green Chemistry and Green Engineering

Encouraging Innovation: Green Chemistry and Green Engineering

The Pollution Prevention Act provided an opportunity for EPA to devise creative strategies to protect human health and the environment and encourage innovation within the business sector and throughout society. This led to the creation of EPA's green chemistry and green engineering programs. EPA Region 2 seeks to promote the adoption by industry and other organizations of green chemistry and green engineering ideas and practices, which will lead to a more innovative, competitive, and sustainable regional economy.

One of the key questions that needs to be addressed, in order to allow for a more sustainable society is: How can we live well within the means of nature? Answering this question means shifting and transforming our attitudes toward nature not only on where we live, but also on creating a model for how we live. Janine Benyus, who wrote the book, "Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature" (1997) Exit EPA disclaimer and others such as Frosch and Gallopoulos who have pioneered Industrial Ecology thinking in the article, "Strategies for Manufacturing" (1989) provide us with new insights into how to view Nature as a metaphor that represents a set of laws that can be usefully applied in developing technologies that minimize pollution and waste, conserve resources, and improve health and well-being. In order to realize this ideal, our society must focus on not only creating products that better embody natural processes, but also on creating production chains that do the same, from concept to manufacturing to disposal. This task is neither simple nor easy, and will require the combined efforts of the business community, government officials, scientists, educators, and citizens alike. Efforts throughout our Region to collaborate around this task will be essential to creating a thriving, sustainable economy, and society.

Green chemistry is an essential part of the "sustainable development puzzle" because of the inherent focus on how we make things and what products we create as scientists and entrepreneurs. As a science, green chemistry has been clearly defined since the publication of the book, "Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice" in 1998 Exit EPA disclaimer by Paul Anastas and John Warner. The subject addresses the heart of the pollution problem and asks molecular designers to consider creating materials and products that are sustainable from the very beginning (i.e. at the design stage). Through this approach, we can ensure that the building blocks that make up our economy are truly sustainable. If the building blocks are sustainable, then the end product will be much more likely to be sustainable as well. Green chemistry is one part of a broader push toward green engineering, or the integration of sustainable principles into all aspects of the design and production process.

While it may be easy to view our journey to solve the "sustainable development puzzle" as taking place on a purely technological landscape, we should not lose sight of important allied concepts, thinking, and practices from other fields.

 

OTHER RESOURCES

General Information: Products

General Information: Communities, Sectors and Companies

School Sector

Pharmaceutical Sector

Food Services Sector

Cosmetology

Nanotechnology

Companies

General Information: EPA Related Programs

General Information: Non - EPA Related Programs

 

The Practice: Green Chemistry and Green Engineering

Recognition

Primary and Secondary Education

Tertiary Education

State Innovation Systems

Advocacy

Procurement

Tools

Collaborative Networks

Research, Education and Other Funding Mechanisms

Complementary Information: Theory into Practice

Systems

Cultural and Organizational Change

Innovation

Biomimicry

Industrial Ecology

Eco-Literacy


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