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The Green Chemistry Compendium was developed by the Western Sustainability and Pollution Prevention Network (WSPPN) as part of a project powered by BEP.

What is green chemistry?

Green chemistry, also known as sustainable chemistry, is the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use or generation of hazardous substances. It applies across the life cycle of a chemical product, including its design, manufacture, use, and ultimate disposal. It is a different way of thinking about how chemistry and chemical engineering can be done.

Over the years different principles have been proposed that can be used when thinking about the design, development and implementation of chemical products and processes. These principles enable scientists and engineers to protect and benefit the economy, people and the planet by finding creative and innovative ways to reduce waste, conserve energy, and discover replacements for hazardous substances.

There are 12 key principles that describe green chemistry and guide work in this field.

How is green chemistry taught and applied?

Visit our Educators page to learn more about how green chemistry is being incorporated into educational curriculums with great results from the earliest levels through high school and college.

Visit our Industry page to learn more about companies that working towards or have incorporated green chemistry principles into the design and production of their products.

What resources are available to help?

Visit our Resources page to learn more about resources that can help you learn and/or deploy green chemistry principles.

June 21, 2017

U.S. EPA Awards More than $320,000 to California, Arizona Tribes to Reduce Diesel Emissions

LOS ANGELES – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Pacific Southwest Region has awarded $321,458 in Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) funds to two tribes in California and Arizona to reduce emissions from diesel trucks and buses. The grants will fund replacement vehicles for the Gila River Indian Community, near Phoenix, and the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, near Los Angeles.

“Clean diesel technologies not only improve air quality, but advance innovation and support jobs,” said U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt. “These projects will significantly reduce harmful emissions and directly benefit the health of residents.”

The Gila River Indian Community received $154,000 to replace two pre-2007 school buses with similar models with 2015 or newer engines. The school buses are owned by the Sacaton Elementary School District.

The Morongo Band of Mission Indians received more than $167,000 to replace several heavy-duty vehicles. The tribe will replace a 1998 dump truck with a 2016 dump truck and replace a 1997 diesel truck with a 2016 refuse hauler. The new vehicles will have updated particulate filter technologies.

The U.S. EPA’s DERA program reduces harmful emissions by funding engine replacements, idle reduction and retrofit technologies to clean up a variety of older diesel engines.

These DERA grants are administered by EPA’s West Coast Collaborative, a clean air public-private partnership comprised of EPA’s Pacific Southwest and Pacific Northwest Regions. Since 2008, the EPA DERA program has awarded nearly 690 grants across the U.S. in 600 communities. Many of these projects fund cleaner diesel engines that operate in economically disadvantaged communities where residents suffer from higher-than-average instances of asthma, heart and lung disease. Projects funded to date have reduced emissions from more than 60,000 engines.

To learn more about all of this year’s West Coast Collaborative DERA projects, visit:  

For more information about EPA’s National Clean Diesel campaign and the awarded Tribal DERA projects nationally, visit 

For Immediate Release: April 5, 2017

SAN FRANCISCO– The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded $300,000 to Industrial Microbes, Inc., located in Emeryville, Calif., for its innovative work aimed at making chemical manufacturing more efficient and less polluting. The company is one of nine small businesses nationwide receiving a total of nearly $2.7 million to develop and commercialize new environmental technologies.

Industrial Microbes received the funding to develop a microbe that, by consuming carbon dioxide and methane, produces a chemical used to make synthetic fibers and biodegradable plastics. The company’s fermentation process uses engineered cells in a process similar to brewing beer.

“Industrial Microbes’ low-cost biological technology is a great example of a Bay Area company leading the way in green chemistry,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Small businesses are essential in ensuring a sustainable future for our country.”

“More efficient green chemical manufacturing is a win for companies, consumers, and the environment,” said Derek Greenfield, CEO of Industrial Microbes. “We are excited that the EPA is funding the future of advanced manufacturing so that the U.S. can continue to be a leader in this field.”

EPA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program funds small businesses developing green technologies that protect the environment. In 2015, each of the nine companies received a SBIR Phase I contract for up to $100,000 for “proof of concept” of its proposed technology. After successfully completing Phase I, the companies were eligible to apply for a Phase II contract of up to $300,000 to develop and commercialize their technology for the marketplace. This year’s Phase II recipients are focusing on technology development in the areas of air and climate, toxic chemicals, water and building materials.

EPA is one of 11 federal agencies that participate in the SBIR Program established by the Small Business Innovation Development Act of 1982.

Information about the EPA SBIR Phase II awards:

Information about the EPA SBIR Program:

Information about the SBIR Program across the federal government:


January 12, 2017

U.S. EPA Releases Annual Toxic Release Inventory Report for Pacific Southwest
Data available for Arizona, California, Nevada, Hawaii and Pacific Territories

SAN FRANCISCO — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) National Analysis, which shows releases of toxic chemicals into the air fell 56% from 2005-2015.

Of the over 443 million pounds that were disposed of or otherwise released to the environment in the Pacific Southwest Region, approximately 94 percent went to land, 3 percent to air, less than 1 percent to water, and 2 percent was transferred to other facilities.

“In 2015, nearly 1,700 facilities submitted data to EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory in the Pacific Southwest region,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “It’s crucial for communities to have access to this valuable data and year-to-year trends.”

In the TRI, a “release” generally refers to a chemical that is emitted to the air, water, or placed in some type of land disposal unit. Most of these releases are subject to a variety of regulatory requirements designed to limit human and environmental harm.

Pacific Southwest highlights:

California:  A total of 1,242 California facilities reported 334.7 million pounds of production-related chemicals, a decrease of 233.8 million pounds when compared to 2014 data. Clean Harbors in Buttonwillow and Chemical Waste Management in Kettleman City were the top two facilities for total on-site and off-site releases. California’s total releases (on-site and off-site) were 31.2 million pounds. For detailed California information and the list of the top facilities, please visit:[]   

Arizona: A total of 264 Arizona facilities reported 145.7 million pounds of production-related chemicals in 2015. Asarco LLC Ray Complex/Hayden Smelter and Freeport-McMoran’s Miami mine were the top two facilities for total on-site and off-site releases. Arizona’s total releases (on-site and off-site) were 85.5 million pounds. For detailed Arizona information and the list of the top facilities, please visit:[]     

Nevada: A total of 141 Nevada facilities reported 504.8 million pounds of production-related chemicals. Newmont Mining Corporation’s Twin Creeks Mine in Folconda and Robinson Nevada Mining Company were the top two facilities for total on-site and off-site releases. Nevada’s total releases (both on-site and off-site) were 323.5 million pounds. For detailed Nevada information and the list of the top facilities, please visit:[]   

Hawaii: A total of 32 Hawaii facilities reported seven million pounds of production-related chemicals. Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and Hawaiian Electric Company in Kahe Point were the top two facilities for on-site and off-site releases. Hawaii’s total releases (both on-site and off-site) were 2.5 million pounds. For detailed Hawaii information and the list of the top facilities, please visit:[]   

Territory Highlights:

America Samoa: In 2015, American Samoa total releases were 59,000 pounds from one facility, Star Kist Samoa Co. For detailed American Samoa information, please visit:[]   

Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands: A total of eight facilities reported 4,900 pounds of toxic chemical releases during 2015, a decrease of more than 10,000 pounds compared to 2014 data. Mariana Acquisition Corp’s Saipan Terminal, a petroleum bulk terminal, and Mobil Oil Mariana Island’s Saipan Terminal were the top two facilities for on-site and off-site releases. For detailed CNMI information and the top facilities, please visit:[]    

Guam: A total of ten facilities reported 467,000 pounds of toxic chemical releases during 2015. Naval Base Guam’s Apra Harbor wastewater plant and Guam Power Authority, an electric generation utility, were the top two facilities for on-site and off-site releases. For detailed Guam information and the list of the top facilities, please visit:[]   

EPA, states, and tribes receive TRI data annually from facilities in industry sectors such as manufacturing, metal mining, electric utilities, and commercial hazardous waste management. Under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), facilities must report their toxic chemical releases for the prior calendar year to EPA by July 1 of each year. The Pollution Prevention Act also requires facilities to submit information on pollution prevention and other waste management activities of TRI chemicals. Nearly 22,000 facilities submitted TRI data for calendar year 2015.

The TRI National Analysis website includes new interactive features such as an automated “flipbook” [] depicting how the TRI Program has evolved over the past 30 years, and a new embedded dashboard that allows users to build customized visualizations of TRI data by a chemical or a sector. These features are intended to promote more user engagement and exploration of TRI data.

To access the 2015 TRI National Analysis, including local data and analyses, visit[]  

Information on facility efforts to reduce toxic chemical releases is available at[]


January 13, 2017

For the First Time in 40 Years EPA to Put in Place a Process to Evaluate Chemicals that May Pose Risk

New chemical law requires the agency to look at chemicals that were grandfathered in under old law

WASHINGTON–The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is moving swiftly to propose how it will prioritize and evaluate chemicals, given that the final processes must be in place within the first year of the new law’s enactment, or before June 22, 2017.

“After 40 years we can finally address chemicals currently in the marketplace,” said Jim Jones, EPA’s Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “Today’s action will set into motion a process to quickly evaluate chemicals and meet deadlines required under, and essential to, implementing the new law.”

When the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was enacted in 1976, it grandfathered in thousands of unevaluated chemicals that were in commerce at the time. The old law failed to provide EPA with the tools to evaluate chemicals and to require companies to generate and provide data on chemicals they produced. EPA is proposing three rules to help administer the new process. Read more.

gci-logo-trandparentAbstracts are open for submission from January 4, 2017 to February 13, 2017. Submit for presentation at the 21st Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference (GC&E) held June 13-15, 2017 in Reston, Virginia.

This premier conference on green chemistry and engineering gathers hundreds of participants from industry, government, and academia come together every year to share research as well as education and business strategies to ensure a green and sustainable future.

If you are interested in contributing your part to GC&E by presenting a paper, or would like to see a listing of topics to be covered, visit the technical track program page at this year’s conference website.

hrsa_part-f-dentalEPA is promulgating pretreatment standards to reduce discharges of mercury from dental offices into publicly owned treatment works (POTWs).

Dental offices discharge mercury present in amalgam used for fillings. Amalgam separators are a practical, affordable and readily available technology for capturing mercury and other metals before they are discharged into sewers that drain to POTWs. Once captured by a separator, mercury can be recycled.

EPA expects compliance with this final rule will annually reduce the discharge of mercury by 5.1 tons as well as 5.3 tons of other metals found in waste dental amalgam to POTWs. Read more.

December 7, 2016

WASHINGTON–The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to ban certain uses of the toxic chemical trichloroethylene (TCE) due to health risks when used as a degreaser and a spot removal agent in dry cleaning.

“For the first time in a generation, we are able to restrict chemicals already in commerce that pose risks to public health and the environment,” said Jim Jones, assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “Once finalized, today’s action will help protect consumers and workers from cancer and other serious health risks when they are exposed to aerosol degreasing, and when dry cleaners use spotting agents.  I am confident that the new authority Congress has given us is exactly what we need to finally address these important issues.”

EPA identified serious risks to workers and consumers associated with TCE uses in a 2014 assessment that concluded that the chemical can cause a range of adverse health effects, including cancer, development and neurotoxicological effects, and toxicity to the liver.

Specifically, EPA is proposing to prohibit manufacture (including import), processing, and distribution in commerce of TCE for use in aerosol degreasing and for use in spot cleaning in dry cleaning facilities.  EPA is also proposing to require manufacturers, processors, and distributors to notify retailers and others in their supply chains of the prohibitions.

EPA’s assessment also found risks associated with TCE use in vapor degreasing, and the agency is developing a separate proposed regulatory action to address those risks. Last week, EPA announced the inclusion of TCE on the list of the first ten chemicals to be evaluated for risk under TSCA. That action will allow EPA will evaluate the other remaining uses of the chemical. Today’s action only proposes to ban certain uses of the chemical.

Comments on the proposed rule must be received 60 days after date of publication in the Federal Register Once published, the proposed rule and supporting documents will be available in the Federal Register docket at:[] by searching for HQ-OPPT-2016-0163.

Learn more:[]

Learn more about last week’s announcement about the first ten chemicals to be evaluated under TSCA:[]

December 6, 2016 EPA Announces $1.3 Million to Small Businesses to Support the Nation’s Green Economy This year’s projects focus on cookstoves, manufacturing, toxic chemicals, water, and building materials WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $1.3 million to 13 small businesses nationwide to develop and commercialize technologies to help solve current environmental issues. “The 13 businesses we are funding today are producing innovative and creative solutions for our country’s environmental problems,” said Thomas Burke, EPA science advisor and deputy assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “Small businesses play an integral role in creating technologies that will help ensure a sustainable future for our country. Each of the 13 companies will receive a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I contract for up to $100,000 to develop their green technology. If Phase I is successful, companies will be eligible to apply for a Phase II contract of up to $300,000 to develop and commercialize their technology for the marketplace. The following companies are receiving a Phase I SBIR contract:

  • Prometheus SenTech, LLC, Cincinnati, Ohio, to create a sensor to monitor organic compounds in the indoor environment.
  • ASAT, Inc., Cottage Grove, Ore., to develop a cookstove that will heat homes and cook food while also lighting the kitchen and charging cell phones.
  • Babington Technology, Rocky Mount N.C., to improve current cookstove combustion technology to reduce electrical power consumption and lower cost.
  • Hi-Z Technology, Inc., San Diego, Calif., to introduce a power stove that will save trees, reduce cooking fire particulates and reduce premature deaths caused by indoor air pollution.
  • Renuvix, LLC, North Fargo, N. D., to create a resin technology that will be free of toxic components and will improve the current process of creating polyurethane coatings.
  • Faraday Technology, Inc., Englewood, Ohio, to develop an improved nutrient extraction technology that will be used to treat agricultural nutrients in wastewater.
  • Microvi Biotech, Inc., Hayward, Calif. to develop a cost-effective solution for treatment of nutrients in wastewater and recovering the nutrients as a valuable bioproduct.
  • NanoSonic, Inc., Pembroke, Va., to make an ultra-thin membrane used to recover phosphorus and other nutrients in wastewater.
  • XploSafe, LLC, Stillwater, Okla. to recover excess nutrients in wastewater using sorbent pellets that can release the nutrients back into the soil.
  • Professional Analytical & Consulting Services, Inc., Coraopolis, Pa., to repurpose plastic and automotive waste to produce electrically conducive plastic.
  • Revolution Research, Inc., Orono, Maine to design the manufacturing process for a bio-based, “green” ceiling tile that is durable, non-hazardous and compostable, with higher insulation properties.
  • TIAX, LLC, Lexington, Mass. to develop a technology that will decontaminate biological material in railway and subway cars with reduced manpower while protecting workers from exposure.
  • Zeteo Tech, LLC., Ellicott City, Md., to create a technology that will safely and rapidly decontaminate biological agents in railroad and subway cars that could also be used for reducing odor and allergy causing molds.

More information about the EPA SBIR Program:[] More information about the SBIR Program across the Federal Government:[]

November 29, 2016

EPA Names First Chemicals for Review Under New TSCA Legislation

Agency answers call to move forward on chemical reform, naming asbestos among first to undergo risk evaluation

WASHINGTON – Today, EPA is announcing the first ten chemicals it will evaluate for potential risks to human health and the environment under TSCA reform.

“Under the new law, we now have the power to require safety reviews of all chemicals in the marketplace.” said Jim Jones, assistant administrator of the of Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “We can ensure the public that we will deliver on the promise to better protect public health and the environment.”

The first ten chemicals to be evaluated are:

  • 1,4-Dioxane
  • 1-Bromopropane
  • Asbestos
  • Carbon Tetrachloride
  • Cyclic Aliphatic Bromide Cluster
  • Methylene Chloride
  • N-methylpyrrolidone
  • Pigment Violet 29
  • Tetrachloroethylene, also known as perchloroethylene
  • Trichloroethylene

Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) as amended by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, requires EPA to publish this list by December 19, 2016. These chemicals were drawn from EPA’s 2014 TSCA Work Plan, a list of 90 chemicals selected based on their potential for high hazard and exposure as well as other considerations.

When the list is published in the Federal Register it will trigger a statutory deadline to complete risk evaluations for these chemicals within three years.  This evaluation will determine whether the chemicals present an unreasonable risk to humans and the environment. If it is determined that a chemical presents an unreasonable risk, EPA must mitigate that risk within two years.

Under the newly amended law, EPA must release a scoping document within six months for each chemical. This will include the hazard(s), exposure(s), conditions of use, and the potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulation(s) the agency plans to consider for the evaluation.

Additional chemicals will be designated for evaluation, and all of the remaining Work Plan chemicals will be reviewed for their potential hazard and exposure. For each risk evaluation that EPA completes, TSCA requires that EPA begin another. By the end of 2019, EPA must have at least 20 chemical risk valuations ongoing at any given time.

For more on the chemicals listed and additional information:[]