Picture taken by Kim Clark, 2009

Hazardous Waste & Toxics Reduction

Green Chemistry at Ecology

What is green chemistry?

Green chemistry is a way to design chemicals and processes so they are safer, healthier, and more sustainable. It seeks to prevent pollution at its source by creating chemicals that are not toxic. This eliminates exposure to toxic chemicals for workers, consumers, and the environment. It also encourages using renewable ingredients, reducing energy use, and optimizing other factors that are better for human health and the environment. Learn more.

Ecology uses the principles of green chemistry to help Washington State businesses be more innovative, profitable, and competitive while protecting human health and the environment. It also supports educators by providing sustainable educational tools. Ecology’s initiative to Reduce Toxic Threats focuses on prevention strategies. The elimination of toxic chemicals in products is the surest way to avoid pollution.

If you would like more information about Ecology's green chemistry efforts, please subscribe to our email list.

Roadmap for Advancing Green Chemistry

Leaders from businesses, universities, nonprofit organizations, and government joined together to develop a strategy to promote safer chemicals and products. This resulted in the report, A Roadmap for Advancing Green Chemistry in Washington State. The report outlines a path or "roadmap" to help the state increase awareness and capacity for green chemistry over the next few years.

Creating a Center Focused on Green Chemistry
Northwest Green Chemistry Center logo

Ecology is working with industry and educational partners to develop a Northwest center to advance green chemistry science and technology through collaboration, research, education, and technical assistance. Some of the goals of the center are to:

  • Create solutions to chemicals of concern in products and processes.
  • Integrate and expand green chemistry into education and training.
  • Inform and inspire market driven solutions and innovations.
  • Make the Pacific Northwest a global leader in green chemistry and engineering.
Safer Chemistry Challenge
Safer Chemistry Challenge logo

The Safer Chemistry Challenge encourages Northwest businesses to use chemical ingredients that are as safe as possible in their products and manufacturing processes. Learn how your business can join the Challenge and show leadership in protecting the health of our communities.

Green Chemistry in Education

Ecology is working to integrate green chemistry principles into chemistry education to grow the next generation of green chemists. These future chemists will continue to develop safer, healthier products and production methods.

Selecting Safer Chemical Alternatives

Ecology is working to reduce toxic chemicals by identifying safer alternatives to current chemicals and processes. One way to do this is performing a chemical hazard assessment. We are also working with companies to replace toxic chemicals in their products through process design.

Working with seven other states, Ecology developed the IC2 Alternatives Assessment Guide to help business and industry identify safer alternatives to toxic chemicals.

In 2009, Ecology conducted an alternatives assessment to identify safer alternatives to the flame retardant decabromodiphenyl (Deca-BDE) ether in televisions, computers, and residential upholstered furniture, which resulted in the focus sheet Alternatives to Deca-BDE in Televisions and Computers and Residential Upholstered Furniture.

Preferred Alternative Materials for Universities, Colleges, and Vocational School Programs

Ecology works with schools to find preferred alternatives and best management practices to eliminate, reduce and prevent toxic wastes in departments and classes in universities, colleges, and vocational schools.

External Green Chemistry Resources

Lists of useful resources for the public, educators, and businesses.

For more information about Ecology's role in promoting green chemistry, contact Saskia van Bergen.


Videos, Guides, and Posters

Learn more about the Safer Chemistry Challenge (webinar, 32 minutes)

Green chemistry education, catalyzing sustainable innovation (webinar, 41 minutes)

Green Chemistry Webinars for High School Chemistry Teachers

Hazards on the Homefront a teacher's guide to hazardous household products and waste. Lessons for grades 4 – 12 explore health and environmental concerns.

Isoamyl Acetate and the Honeybee poster.

QCAT Hazard Assessment Tool webinar.

Services Promoting Sustainable Practices

Safer Chemistry Challenge

Technical Resources for Engineering Efficiency (TREE)

Lean and Green Project (Lean)

Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP)

Related Washington State Regulations

Antifouling boat paint, RCW 70.300

Better Brakes, Chapter 173-901 WAC

Bisphenol A, RCW 70.280

Children's Safe Product Act, RCW 70.240

Lead Wheel Weights, RCW 70.270

PBDE Flame Retardants, RCW 70.76

Toxics in Packaging, RCW 70.95G

Storm Water Pollution - Coal Tar, RCW 70.295