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Growing Green Chemistry in Oregon: 2010 Event

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In October, 2010, Oregon Environmental Council (OEC) and Zero Waste Alliance brought together experts discuss Oregon’s leadership in green chemistry education, research and application. See highlights from the event.

Event Report

Growing Green Chemistry in Oregon ConferenceEvent date: October 13th, 2010

Attendance: 90

Hosted by: Oregon Environmental Council (OEC) and Zero Waste Alliance

Topic: Innovation through the use of green chemistry and Oregon’s leadership in green chemistry education, research and application.

Opening speaker: Dr. Paul Anastas

Dr. Anastas
Assistant Administrator with the Office of Research and Development, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Green chemistry is about using science to redefine performance throughout the life cycle by reducing the hazards of chemicals, adding value and improving efficiency. This is the “…bedrock that Oregon has built green chemistry upon.”

Security: We spend billions on “guns, guards and gates” as security measures rather than making the substances we use in our economy inherently safer.

Oregon: When people look for the cutting edge in green chemistry, eyes turn to Oregon. “Nowhere surpasses Oregon for its impact on green chemistry education, training of students, training of teachers, and advancing awareness of green chemistry.” Oregon has a “tremendous opportunity” to be a leader is this emerging field and support more sustainable industries.

“How do we act catalytically?” How can we take strategic actions that increase the rate of awareness and use of green chemistry? The Oregon Green Chemistry Advisory Group is doing just that. Recommendations from the Group are “right on point” and “crucial” at this point in time.

Speaker: John Frazier

John Frazier of NikeDirector of Considered Chemistry at Nike

Green chemistry really is “responsible chemistry” -- innovation that can give organizations a competitive advantage.

While improving the sustainability of Nike’s products is important, it is critical that they do so in ways that maintain or improve the level of performance the product provides to consumers.

Given the diverse and widespread use of chemicals throughout our economy, “…almost every product could benefit from green chemistry.”

Nike is taking to improve the sustainability of their products and foster innovation.

Example: Footwear

Rubber: Greener formulations =  3,000 metric tons per year reduction of environmentally undesirable substances. Two revisions of the rubber formula, led to reduced environmental footprint while maintaining performance.

Water-based adhesives: Nike designed and implemented chemical and process innovations to use water-based adhesives that are both environmentally preferable at large and have a positive impact on the work place.

GreenXChange: Nike shares innovations with suppliers, competitors and the public in order to create a “platform for open innovation” and a catalyst for widespread adoption of green chemistry.

Nike Considered Index:  A scoring system lets Nike designers compare and contrast the environmental factors of material choice as they design products. The Index includes minimum scoring thresholds that increase over time. The Index is designed to harness competition to incentivize improved environmental performance.

Speaker: Jim Hutchison

Jim HutchisonUniversity of Oregon

We can make Oregon an “epicenter for green innovation” with education,  research efforts and policy.

Why should Oregon invest in green chemistry?  To match other state & national investments and to support clean technology.

Regulation: Emerging domestic and foreign regulations are “powerful drivers” that will require innovation to make safer, less toxic chemicals and materials. This is particularly important for companies with foreign supply chains and markets.

Industry profit: The key to advancing green chemistry in Oregon is figuring out the best ways scale it up quickly and make it economically profitable. “All companies that sell stuff are chemicals companies” and they all stand to gain from green chemistry; models include the green building products sector and outdoor gear and apparel.

Collaboration: Tools and knowledge must be developed to refine the green chemistry toolbox. Systems-based solutions to complex problems require leadership and collaboration. University of Oregon is training the next generation of educators, researchers, students and workforce.

Oregon as a leader: Green chemistry can “generate whole new business opportunities in Oregon” by creating high-performance materials and products. We need a “uniquely Oregon” plan, such as the one put forth in Advancing Green Chemistry in Oregon.Green Chemistry Guest Speakers

See video from the event

See the Oregon Green Chemistry Advisory Group’s report.



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