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By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now accepting nominations for the 2022 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards from companies or institutions that have developed a new green chemistry process or product that helps protect human health and the environment. EPA states that in support of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to tackle the climate crisis, it is adding a new award category to recognize technology that reduces or eliminates greenhouse gas emissions. EPA will hold a webinar during Pollution Prevention (P2) Week, on Wednesday, September 22, 2021, from 2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. (EDT), to educate stakeholders on the Green Chemistry Challenge Awards and the nomination process. Nominations are due to EPA by December 10, 2021. According to EPA, an independent panel of technical experts convened by the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute will formally judge the 2022 nominations and make recommendations to EPA for the 2022 winners. EPA anticipates giving awards to outstanding green chemistry technologies in six categories in June 2022.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on June 15, 2021, the winners of the 2021 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards. EPA states that “[g]reen chemistry is the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the generation and use of hazardous substances.” According to EPA, the 2021 winners “developed new and innovative green chemistry technologies that provide solutions to significant environmental challenges, and spur innovation and economic development.” The 2021 winners are:

  • Professor Srikanth Pilla of Clemson University, South Carolina, for creating the first nonisocyanate polyurethane foam. Traditional polyurethane foams are widely used in the plastics industry and are typically manufactured from diisocyanates, a potential human carcinogen. This new foam is made using lignin, a natural polymer from pulp and paper waste that is derived from vegetable oils and uses no isocyanates. According to EPA, the lignin-based foams have the same mechanical properties as traditional polyurethane foams and were specifically designed for chemical recycling at the end of their life, making the foam a more environmentally friendly option.
     
  • XploSafe, Oklahoma, for creating PhosRox, a novel sorbent used to make fertilizer. The product simultaneously removes ammonia, phosphate, and nitrate from contaminated waters. The resulting material is a granulated time-release fertilizer that can help lower dependence on manufactured fertilizers by recycling nutrients. According to EPA, this product will also help wastewater treatment operators maintain compliance with regulations and potentially generate revenue from the sale of the resulting fertilizer. EPA states that when this is added to agricultural soils, it will not only release plant nutrients slowly but, in future years, could enhance the nutrient-holding capacity of the soil, preventing fertilizer runoff and protecting the watershed.
     
  • Colonial Chemical, Tennessee, for developing environmentally friendly, high performing Suga®Boost surfactants. While many surfactants used in traditional cleaners are made from petroleum-based materials and can be highly toxic, EPA states that SugaBoost surfactants are plant-based, biodegradable, generate no air emissions or wastewater discharges, and do not contain known carcinogens or endocrine disruptors. According to EPA, they perform as well as or better than “toxic, energy-intensive petroleum-based surfactants, creating the potential to yield huge environmental improvements in the cleaning industry.”
     
  • Bristol Myers Squibb, New York, for a new class of sustainable reagents -- substances used to cause a chemical reaction. The new reagents use less solvent and are derived from limonene, a waste product from discarded citrus peels, which increases sustainability and decreases environmental impact. They also can tolerate air and moisture better than traditional reagents, eliminating the need for expensive technology and specialized shipping and storage.
     
  • Merck, New Jersey, for developing a green and sustainable manufacturing process for a drug used to treat chronic coughs. According to EPA, by incorporating green chemistry techniques into the manufacturing process, the team not only replaced two highly toxic and hazardous chemicals, it also reduced carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide emissions. According to EPA, life-cycle assessment data show that these changes are expected to decrease the carbon footprint of manufacturing this drug by more than 80 percent.

EPA recognized the winners during the virtual American Chemical Society Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference. EPA states that the 2021 awards have special meaning because it is also the 25th anniversary of the Green Chemistry Challenge Awards. During the quarter century of the Green Chemistry program, EPA and the American Chemical Society, which co-sponsor the awards, have received more than 1,800 nominations and presented awards to 128 technologies that decrease hazardous chemicals and resources, reduce costs, protect public health, and spur economic growth. According to EPA, winning technologies are responsible for annually reducing the use or generation of hundreds of millions of pounds of hazardous chemicals and saving billions of gallons of water and trillions of BTUs in energy. An independent panel of technical experts convened by the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute formally judged the 2021 submissions and made recommendations to EPA for the 2021 winners.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on March 23, 2021, that it is now accepting nominations for the 2021 Safer Choice Partner of the Year Awards.  According to a Federal Register notice scheduled for publication on March 24, 2021, the awards will recognize the leadership contributions of Safer Choice partners and stakeholders who, over the past year, have shown achievement in the design, manufacture, selection, and use of products with safer chemicals that further outstanding or innovative source reduction.  EPA “especially encourages” award applications that show how the applicant’s work in the design, manufacture, selection, and use of those products promotes environmental justice, bolsters resilience to the impacts of climate change, results in cleaner air or water, or improves drinking water quality.  All Safer Choice stakeholders and program participants in good standing are eligible for recognition.  Interested parties should submit to EPA information about their accomplishments and contributions during 2020.  Submissions are due May 31, 2021.  EPA will recognize award winners at a ceremony in fall 2021.
 
Safer Choice is an EPA Pollution Prevention (P2) program, which includes practices that reduce, eliminate, or prevent pollution at its source, such as using safer ingredients in products.  The Safer Choice program certifies products containing ingredients that have met its “specific and rigorous” human health and environmental toxicological criteria.  EPA notes that the Safer Choice program allows companies to use its label “on certified products that contain safer ingredients and perform, as determined by expert evaluation.”  EPA states that the Safer Choice program certification “represents a high level of achievement in formulating products that are safer for people and the environment.”


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
On February 23, 2021, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) announced that in association with other relevant Directorates-General (DG) of the European Commission (EC), DG Environment has opened a call for applications to select members for an expert group, the High-Level Roundtable on Implementation of the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability.  According to EU-OSHA, the expert group’s mission “is to set the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability objectives and monitor its implementation in dialogue with the stakeholders concerned.”  Specific tasks include contributing to identifying and addressing social, economic, and cultural barriers to the transition toward safe and sustainable chemicals.  The expert group will act as a core group of ambassadors to facilitate discussions and promote this transition in the economy and society, developing a regular exchange of views, experiences, and good practices between the EC and stakeholders on the main objectives of the Strategy, namely:

  • Innovating for safe and sustainable chemicals, including for materials and products;
  • Addressing pressing environmental and health concerns;
  • Simplifying and consolidating the legal framework;
  • Providing a comprehensive knowledge base on chemicals; and
  • Setting the example for global sound management of chemicals.

The expert group will consist of up to 32 members, with a maximum of:

  • The Member State holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union;
  • Ten third-sector organizations in the following areas:  health protection, environmental protection, human rights, animal protection, consumer rights, and workers’ rights;
  • Eight scientific organizations, academia, and research institutes providing a suitable balance between expertise in fundamental research, applied research, and training/education;
  • Ten industries, including small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) or associations of enterprises, including an adequate representation of frontrunners in the production and use of safe and sustainable chemicals.  Those should include chemical industries, downstream users (from different sectors), and retailers; and
  • Three international organizations -- the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

Interested organizations are invited to submit their applications before March 18, 2021.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on August 17, 2020, that it is accepting nominations for the 2021 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards.  EPA intends these awards to recognize innovation by American businesses and researchers that redesign chemical products and processes to reduce or eliminate the use and manufacture of hazardous substances.  The 2021 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards nomination package is now available, and nominations are due December 4, 2020.  EPA states that it anticipates giving awards to “outstanding green chemistry technologies” in five categories in June 2021.  EPA will host a webinar on September 23, 2020, for those interested in applying.  During the webinar, EPA will provide an overview of the requirements, criteria, and tips for submitting a nomination package.
 
According to EPA, since the inception of the program, EPA and the American Chemical Society, which co-sponsor the awards, have received more than 1,600 nominations and presented awards to more than 120 technologies.  EPA notes that “by leveraging these technologies, the use or generation of hundreds of millions of pounds of hazardous chemicals have been avoided, and billions of gallons of water and trillions of BTUs in energy have been saved annually.”  An independent panel of technical experts convened by the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute will formally judge the 2021 submissions and make recommendations to EPA for the winners.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 

On June 16, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the winners of the 2020 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards.  EPA states that this year’s winners “have developed new and innovative green chemistry technologies that turn potential environmental challenges into business opportunities, spurring innovation and economic development.”  The 2020 winners and their innovative technologies are:

  • Genomatica, San Diego, California, for creating Brontide™, a new brand of 1,3-butylene glycol, commonly used in cosmetics for moisture retention and as a carrier for plant extracts.  Butylene glycol is traditionally produced from fossil fuels.  Brontide™ is produced by fermenting E. coli using renewable sugars in a one-step production process, however.  This method reduces greenhouse gas emissions and avoids the use of hazardous chemicals in the production process.
     
  • Merck, Rahway, New Jersey, for improving the process used to produce certain antiviral drugs used for the treatment of diseases including hepatitis C and HIV.  According to EPA, the new process improved manufacturing efficiency and sustainability of one important antiviral by more than 85 percent.  This method reduces waste and hazards associated with the existing process and results in substantial cost savings.
  • Johns Manville, Littleton, Colorado, for developing a biobased, formaldehyde-free thermoset binder for fiberglass reinforcement applications.  Thermoset binders are used to bind glass fibers of fiberglass mats used in carpet tile backing.  EPA states that this technology eliminates the use of hazardous chemicals, reduces water and energy use, and produces a product with a longer shelf life.
     
  • Professor Steven Skerlos, University of Michigan and Fusion Coolant Systems, for creating Pure-Cut™, an alternative to traditional metalworking fluids that uses high-pressure carbon dioxide instead of oil-based lubricants.  According to EPA, Pure-Cut™ can improve performance and machining tool life span compared to traditional metalworking fluids, while greatly reducing hazards to the environment and worker health.
     
  • Vestaron, Kalamazoo, Michigan, for producing a new biopesticide called Spear®.  This pesticide is based on a naturally occurring component inspired by spider venom that can effectively control target pests while showing no adverse effects on people, the environment, and non-target wildlife, such as fish and bees.  EPA notes that Spear® should provide growers with a new pest management tool that also lessens environmental impacts.

EPA plans to recognize the winners at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., later this year.  EPA and the American Chemical Society co-sponsor the awards.  An independent panel of technical experts convened by the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute formally judged the 2020 submissions and made recommendations to EPA for the 2020 winners.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
On Wednesday, November 13, 2019, at 3:00 p.m. (EST), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold a webinar on the Green Chemistry Challenge Awards Program.  Participants will learn more about applying for the 2020 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards.  The webinar presentation will cover award eligibility, the application process, and evaluation criteria.  There will also be time for questions from the webinar participants.
 
As reported in our September 20, 2019, blog item, EPA is now accepting nominations for the 2020 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards for companies or institutions that have developed a new process or product that helps protect public health and the environment.  EPA defines green chemistry as the design of chemical products and processes that reduce both the generation and use of chemicals that are hazardous to the environment and people’s health.  Nominations for innovative technologies featuring the design of greener chemicals and products, greener chemical syntheses and reactions, or greener chemical processes are due to EPA by December 31, 2019.  EPA anticipates giving awards to outstanding green chemistry technologies in five categories in June 2020


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on September 18, 2019, that it is now accepting nominations for the 2020 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards for companies or institutions that have developed a new process or product that helps protect public health and the environment.  EPA defines green chemistry as the design of chemical products and processes that reduce both the generation and use of chemicals that are hazardous to the environment and people’s health.  Nominations for innovative technologies featuring the design of greener chemicals and products, greener chemical syntheses and reactions, or greener chemical processes are due to EPA by December 31, 2019.  EPA states that it anticipates giving awards to outstanding green chemistry technologies in five categories in June 2020.  According to EPA, since the inception of the awards more than two decades ago, it has received more than 1,600 nominations and presented awards to 118 technologies that reduced the use or generation of hundreds of millions of pounds of hazardous chemicals and saved billions of gallons of water and trillions of BTUs in energy.  An independent panel of technical experts convened by the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute will formally judge the 2020 nominations and make recommendations to EPA for the 2020 winners.


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On June 11-13, 2019, the American Chemical Society (ACS) Green Chemistry Institute® will host the 23rd Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference and the 9th International Conference on Green and Sustainable Chemistry.  The Conference will be held right outside of Washington D.C. in Reston, Virginia, and will focus on the theme of “Closing the Loop” in the chemical life cycle.  With over three days of programming, the Conference offers more than 40 technical sessions in seven concurrent tracks and multiple opportunities to network with hundreds of attendees from around the world.  This year’s featured keynote speakers are:

  • Udit Batra, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer, MilliporeSigma;
  • Lee Cronin, Ph.D., Regis Professor of Chemistry, University of Glasgow; and
  • Dana Kralisch, Ph.D., Professor of Pharmaceutical Technology and Biopharmacy, Institute of Pharmacy, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Friedrich Schiller University of Jena, and Chief Technical Officer, JeNACell GmbH.

Richard E. Engler, Ph.D., Director of Chemistry for Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) and The Acta Group (Acta®), will be presenting Regulatory Barriers to a Circular Economy on June 13, 2019, and Ligia Duarte Botelho, M.A., a Regulatory Associate with B&C and Acta and Manager with B&C® Consortia Management, L.L.C. (BCCM), will be presenting Role of Regulations in Circular Economy: Challenge of New Chemical Bias on June 13, 2019.

Reduced rates for advanced registration are available until May 31, 2019.  Registration is available online


 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On June 10, 2019, at 5:00 p.m., the American Chemical Society (ACS) will hold the 2019 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.  Sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP), in partnership with the ACS Green Chemistry Institute® and members of the chemical community, these prestigious annual awards recognize chemical technologies that incorporate the principles of green chemistry into chemical design, manufacture, and use. 

EPA usually presents one Green Chemistry Challenge Award in each award category.  For the 2019 competition, there are five award categories:

  • Focus Area 1:  Greener Synthetic Pathways;
  • Focus Area 2:  Greener Reaction Conditions;
  • Focus Area 3:  The Design of Greener Chemicals;
  • Small Business (for a technology in any of the three focus areas developed by a small business); and
  • Academic (for a technology in any of the three focus areas developed by an academic researcher).

If you are interested in attending this event, please RSVP to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for more information.


 
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