Anastas: Oregon leads in green chemistry
By Christina Williams, Sustainable Business Oregon
Sustainable Business Oregon
Paul Anastas is the science adviser to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a onetime Yale professor. But he's probably best known for his honorary title, the "Father of Green Chemistry." And he thinks Oregon is a world leader in the green chemistry realm.
What sets the state apart? Excellent research. But in addition, Anastas admires how innovations in green chemistry — which emphasizes the use of minimally toxic, environmentally friendly chemicals and processes — in Oregon is coupled with an emphasis on education.
The Oregon Environmental Council is hosting Anastas in Portland next week for the Growing Green Chemistry in Oregon, an event set up to introduce business leaders to the potential of green chemistry research and materials.
We caught up with Anastas via email and asked him a few questions about his views on research, product innovation and the eventual extinction of green chemistry.
SBO: How would you describe the current state of the Green Chemistry industry in the U.S.? Is it still in its infancy or further developed than people might realize?
Anastas: Since its introduction, green chemistry has been adopted at an astounding rate, both in the United States and internationally. Green chemistry now impacts every industry sector that one can name—from the automotive industry, to energy, to materials, to agriculture, to basic chemicals and so on. But the best news is that all of this adoption—all of these accomplishments that have been recognized and rewarded for their contributions to reducing hazards to humans and the environment—these represent perhaps only one percent of the power and potential green chemistry. With further and more systematic adoption, green chemistry has the potential to move us toward a more sustainable society and economy at a level that is yet to be known.
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