Volume 4

Why Green Chemistry Matters for Michigan

Michigan is creating the map to a more sustainable and economically vibrant state, through innovation for safer products and processes.
Michigan’s leadership was on display when business and academic leaders met in Grand Rapids for the 5th Annual GreenUp: Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference last week. In addition to hearing about new catalysts that can disinfect water without hazardous byproducts, or clean up contaminated sites without toxic emissions, participants helped celebrate the Governor’s awards for Green Chemistry innovation. The University of Michigan garnered two awards, one for a project to encourage labs to reduce the hazardous chemicals they use, and another for research that will make your cell phone far less hazardous! [Watch the Video]

Making a Change, One Step at a Time

Change isn’t always easy, particularly if you don’t know where to begin. But it can also open up new opportunities and new possibilities. With that in mind, the Michigan Green Chemistry Roundtable has developed a new tool for businesses called The Green Chemistry Checklist: A Guide for Businesses. The Checklist is meant to provide an easy way to measure milestones toward creating a culture of innovation and in supporting the building blocks necessary to develop safer products and adopt Green Chemistry practices. As most businesses know, customers are increasingly expecting companies to show leadership in developing safer products to protect health and the environment. The Roundtable is looking for businesses to pilot the Checklist.

For more information about the Green Chemistry Check List (v1.0) see below.
The PDF of a webinar about the checklist can be found here.
Background information on the checklist can be found here
A PDF of the checklist (v1.0) can be found here.

Walmart and Target commit to “Mind the Store”

In our last issue of the Catalyst, we announced the launch of a new campaign called “Mind the Store” to get the nation’s 10 largest retailers to agree to sell products with fewer chemicals of concern. Since then, Walmart and Target have committed to plans to reduce the use of hazardous chemicals and reward disclosure by manufacturers! This is a major advance for efforts to drive demand for greener chemicals.

To see Walmart’s announcement, click here.
You can read more about the Walmart announcement here and analysis here.
And the Target announcement here and here and here.

Say Thanks to Grand Valley State and Michigan Tech

Those two institutions are the first in MIchigan to sign on to the national Green Chemistry Commitment. That means those institutions have committed to the Green Chemistry Student Learning Objectives which introduce core competencies in Green Chemistry training. The Commitment is voluntary, flexible and progressive.

The Michigan Green Chemistry Roundtable is working to get all Michigan colleges and universities to sign the Green Chemistry Committment. Do you teach at a school? Are you a student? Do you have friends who are science or chemistry professors? We’re looking for help to get more institutions to teach the principles of Green Chemistry and Engineering. To learn how you can help, contact us. [Learn More]

Making Workplaces Safer

Each year in the United States, tens of thousands of workers are made sick or die from occupational exposures to hazardous chemicals. As part of the ongoing effort to protect workers, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration – yes, the government – announced the launch of two new, innovative Web-based resources to help find safer substitutes to hazardous chemicals used in workplaces. The tools borrow from important work in the NGO community.

Part of the problem is that the workplace exposure standards set by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration for many of the thousands of chemicals workers use every day are out-of-date or inadequately protective. OSHA has created a toolkit that assists employers and workers in identifying and substituting safer chemicals to use in place of more hazardous ones. In addition, OSHA has developed an Annotated Occupational Exposure Limits table that provides accurate and up-to-date chemical information to employers who want to voluntarily adopt newer, more protective workplace exposure limits for those chemicals that are covered by outdated OSHA exposure standards.

To read more about the new tools, see here.

CATALYST is a quarterly newsletter compiled by the Ecology Center for the public audience of the Michigan Green Chemistry Clearinghouse.

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CATALYST Back Issues

CATALYST is a periodic newsletter highlighting advances in developing products and chemicals that are safer for people and the environment. CATALYST was compiled by the Ecology Center for the general public on behalf of the Michigan Green Chemistry Clearinghouse.

Click below to view CATALYST Newsletters: