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Industrial Biotechnology Meets the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge


The Federal Pollution Prevention Act of 1990 established policy tools and goals for environmental protection, specifically recommending “pollution should be prevented or reduced at the source whenever feasible..."

The law defines source reduction as any practice that:

• Reduces the amount of any hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant entering any waste stream or otherwise released into the environment (including fugitive emissions) prior to recycling, treatment, or disposal.
• Reduces the hazards to public health and the environment associated with the release of such substances, pollutants, or contaminants.

Biotechnology and Green Chemistry1

Green chemistry or sustainable chemistry aims to design and produce cost-competitive chemical products and processes that reduce pollution at the source.

Specifically, green chemistry minimizes or eliminates the hazards of chemical feedstocks, reagents, solvents, and products. Additionally, green chemistry prevents waste by using renewable feedstocks, increasing energy efficiency and working in real time to prevent pollution. U.S. EPA recognizes that industrial biotechnology meets these criteria of green chemistry.2

Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge

The annual Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards recognize novel technologies that provide significant environmental and economic benefits through chemical design, manufacture, and use.

EPA presents awards in six categories:

  1. Greener Synthetic Pathways
  2. Greener Reaction Conditions
  3. The Design of Greener Chemicals
  4. Small Business (for a technology in any of the three focus areas developed by a small business)
  5. Academic (for a technology in any of the three focus areas developed by an academic researcher)
  6. Specific Environmental Benefit: Climate Change (for a technology in any of the three focus areas that reduces greenhouse gas emissions)

To read in its entirety BIO's resource on indutrial biotechnology meeting the President's Green Chemistry Challenge, visit here.