Pollution Prevention: Green Chemistry Stops Pollution at the Source

By Randi Chmielewski

Ever hear the old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?” The EPA is putting this wisdom to work with a workshop called “Unleashing Green Chemistry and Engineering in Service of a Sustainable Future.” The event, scheduled for September 23rd, is open to everyone and will bring together diverse stakeholders from industry, academia, government, and the community to encourage pollution prevention through green chemistry and engineering.

What is green chemistry and engineering? Green chemistry is “the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use or generation of hazardous substances.” Similarly, green engineering is “the design, commercialization and use of processes and products that are feasible and economical while: reducing the generation of pollution at the source; minimizing the risk to human health and the environment.”  Both these approaches when applied in a consistent and integrated fashion can encourage advances toward sustainability in our society.

Innovators have created plastic bottles and protective foam packaging made from renewable resources and have designed chemicals and manufacturing processes that take efficiency and sustainability down to the atomic level.  Pretty cool stuff.   Each year, the EPA recognizes top innovations like these with the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge.

To sign up for email alerts about the NYC green chemistry and engineering workshop, email Randi Chmielewski .

Randi is an intern with the Pollution Prevention Team in New York City. She is pursuing an MPA in public and non-profit management and policy at the NYU Wagner School. Before joining EPA, Randi worked in local government in her home state of New Jersey and at Rutgers’ Eagleton Institute of Politics. Her interests include environmental policy, public finance, and women’s leadership.