Safer Chemicals for a Safer World: Celebrate P2 Week!

By Kristie Friesenhahn

As Tom Hanks said in You’ve Got Mail, “Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies.” Today launches Pollution Prevention (P2) Week, and with that in mind, we can make sure Back to School season is a little greener. The theme of this year’s P2 week is “Safer Chemicals for a Safer World.” As we get settled into the new school year, consider these tips for celebrating P2 Week.

Pollution Prevention Public Service Announcement

Bring green chemistry to your school. Promote safe chemical management and encourage teachers and students to use green chemistry principles in the classroom, considering the lifecycle of the chemicals they work with and their impact on the environment and creating awareness of chemical toxicology and sustainability. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) is conducting green chemistry pilot projects for New York’s high schools as an innovative and safer approach to chemistry. The pilot projects will include chemical assessment, inventorying, and training workshops. Read more information on green chemistry.

Cleaning your home or dorm room? Search for safer products recognized under EPA’s Design for the Environment Safer Product Labeling Program. By doing so, your family can eliminate 40 pounds of potentially harmful chemicals per year. 40 pounds! That’s more than the weight limit for a dog at your average NYC apartment!

If you’re cleaning out your medicine cabinet, remember to safely dispose of your medications. Mark your calendar for Saturday, September 29th (10am – 2pm) and visit the DEA NationalDrug Take-Back Initiative website to find a location near you.

Purchasing a new computer this school year? Search for EPEAT®-registered electronics. EPEAT® is a comprehensive environmental rating that helps identify electronics designed to be easier to recycle, less toxic and more energy efficient. Also, EPEAT® is expected to expand late this year and early next to cover printers, copiers and televisions!

E-cycle the computer you’ve replaced with the EPEAT® registered one. Read about a fellow Greening the Apple blogger’s successful Brooklyn experience with e-cycling.

About the author: Kristie Friesenhahn has been with the EPA for over five years working on issues related to pollution prevention and toxics, including developing best practices to prevent consumer and worker exposure to chemicals.