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2012 Washington State Green Chemistry Roundtable Report

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By Ken Zarker, Washington State Department of Ecology

Washington State was pleased to host the 2012 Green Chemistry Roundtable at the Suquamish Clearwater Hotel on October 23-25.

Green Chemistry Workshops

The event kicked-off with two green chemistry workshops conducted in partnership with the ACS Green Chemistry Institute® (ACS GCI). Dr. Richard T. Williams, founder and president of Environmental Science & Green Chemistry Consulting, conducted the Introductory Green Chemistry 101 short course that helped the attendees understand the concepts of green chemistry. The afternoon session featured, Dr. Marty Mulvihill, Director of the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry at the University of California. Marty’s presentation provided attendees with a more in depth look at business case studies, metrics and tools for green chemistry.  The Roundtable plans to host the Advanced Course in 2013.

A Regional Assessment

The second day of the conference offered a regional assessment and opportunities to solve the toxic threats facing the Puget Sound and the Columbia River basin. Regional leaders from businesses, government and nongovernmental organization outlined strategies to address emerging contaminants, how toxics are impacting people and the environment, regional green chemistry initiatives and the latest in the development of Washington’s Toxics Reduction Strategy.

Green Chemistry Business Roundtable

The event concluded with the Green Chemistry Business Roundtable: Supply Chain Perspectives on Challenges and Opportunities. Ken Zarker of the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) kicked off the welcome with a presentation on the opportunities to advance regional collaboration to help advance business innovation and economic development through green chemistry.

Rich Williams provided a presentation on the business value for green chemistry and potential regional models for industry collaboration based on other initiatives around the U.S.

A fascinating case study panel followed with two excellent presentations on supply chain perspectives related to green chemistry. Joe David of Point 32 and Tom Schneider of Building Envelope Innovations provided insights into product reformulation efforts as part of the Living Building Challenge to meet the requirement for the new Bullitt Center in Seattle. Mickey Blake of Mt. Baker Bio, provided an inspiring presentation from the view of the entrepreneur working to advance green chemistry.

Richard Williams followed with a presentation on strategic approaches to greener manufacturing. His presentation provided insights to the use of tools and techniques that businesses are using to promote product innovation.

The afternoon session featured breakout sessions based on the following topics:

  • Group 1: Tools & Technical Assistance – This session was facilitated by Brian Penttila of the Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center (PRRC). It included a presentation of the development of alternatives assessment guidance by Alex Stone of Ecology and a demonstration of an automated “list translator” tool of the GreenScreen methodology by Cheri Peele representing Clean Production Action.

  • Group 2: Creating a Washington State Green Chemistry Center – This group was lead by Ken Zarker, Ecology and Marjorie Martz Emerson, Hewlett Packard (retired). The group discussed the opportunity to establish a regional green chemistry center and  public-private partnership to facilitate collaboration among industry, academia, government, and nongovernmental organizations.

  • Group 3: Identifying and prioritizing green chemistry research needs – Rob Duff of Ecology lead the discussion on opportunities to advance green chemistry research based on his experience with chemicals of concern to Puget Sound. Ecology recently launched a new, user-friendly website--the Puget Sound Toxics Assessment website, that explains what we currently know about toxic chemical pollution in the Puget Sound region. The website links what’s known about toxic contamination in Puget Sound to ongoing efforts to keep the contaminants out of the nation’s second-largest estuary. It also includes a frequently asked questions section about the comprehensive toxic chemical investigation. The group discussed the need to prioritize research needs to help bridge the gap between green chemistry and applied research needs that focus on product innovation and solutions.

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