Education and outreach are an important piece of promoting greener labs. A number of organizations have provided curricula that can help green chemistry programs and shift chemistry teaching to practices friendlier to the environment and human health.


  • Promotion and dissemination of sustainability best practices
  • Implementation of processes and products that are sustainable at their inception
  • Enhancement of positive institutional image
  • Design of products and technologies with reduced pollution, fewer health and environmental hazards, increased efficiency and enhanced performance
  • Less costly end-of-pipe treatments
  • Improved product competitiveness

Tools and Resources

Tools are provided to help you match educational and communication resources to your laboratory needs and to facilitate:

  • Orientating new lab personnel to teach safety & sustainability best practices
  • Education through greener laboratory exercises and curricula
  • Micro-scale techniques for reducing materials use during laboratory exercises
  • Communication tactics

Orientation Tools

Green Labs Best Practices Checklist – A Campus Safety Health and Environmental Management checklist that brings users through energy efficiency, waste reduction, and chemical usage best practices. Source: Campus Safety Health and Environmental Management Association (CSHEMA)

Safe Products Made Safely – The business-directed guide provides a simple template of questions to help users begin the process of identifying goals for sustainability and toxics reduction, determining needs for hazard assessment tools, and to assist businesses in meeting their sustainability, toxics use reduction and supply chain management goals. Source: Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

Greener Lab Exercises and Curricula

American Chemical Society Student and Educator Resources – This provides educational resources, student awards, and ways to engage with peers and the broader scientific community. It contains a Green Chemistry Education Roadmap, webinars and videos, student award opportunities, and summer school programs.  Source: American Chemical Society

Beyond Benign – A nonprofit organization that promotes green chemistry to industry, academia, and the general public. Beyond Benign specializes in curriculum development, education, and training. Source: American Chemical Society

The Center for Sustainable Polymers (CSP) – This University of Minnesota site integrates sustainability issues that focus on the science and technology of polymeric materials into research, education, and public outreach initiatives. Members of the center concentrate their research efforts on harnessing the renewable, functional, degradable and non-toxic ingredients provided by Nature for tomorrow’s advanced plastics, foams, adhesives, elastomers, coatings and other macromolecular materials. Source: University of Minnesota

Green Chemistry Education Network (GC Ed Net) – This is a network of educators that integrates green chemistry into chemical education at all levels. GC Ed Net supports opportunities to research, develop, implement, and disseminate green educational materials. The GC Ed Net reaches out to all chemistry educators through collaboration and mentoring, facilitating professional growth, and fostering the synergistic integration of green chemistry in education. Source: University of Oregon

Green Chemistry Pocket Guides – Downloadable guides are available including the principles of Green Chemistry and a guide for the general public. Source: American Chemical Society

Greener Education Materials for Chemists database – Designed as a comprehensive resource of education materials including laboratory exercises, lecture materials, course syllabi and multimedia content that illustrate chemical concepts important for green chemistry. Source: University of Oregon

Michigan Green Chemistry Clearinghouse – Green chemistry educational laboratory materials, including lab experiments for K-12 and higher-ed, featured green chemistry journal abstracts, and laboratory videos.

The New England Consortium – The guide has links to Green Chemistry curriculum, training manuals & posters.

University of Scranton – Provides downloadable teaching modules that can be incorporated into coursework. It includes industrial chemistry as well as organic, inorganic, polymer, biochemistry, and toxicology.

Techniques for reducing materials use during laboratory exercises

Green Chemistry for Every Laboratory – There is online instruction on preventing waste in experiment planning and also on microscale work and wet chemistry elimination. Source: Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Management of Chemical Hazards

 Communication Tools and Tactics

Greening the Lab – Provides a foundation for greening labs at a university or college including how to talk to faculty members about making changes and “focus areas” for improvements. Source: American Chemical Society

Green Chemistry Tools

Green Alternatives Wizard – This MIT database provides information on alternatives to hazardous chemicals and processes. Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Case Studies

The ACS GCI, with financial support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, worked with business schools to produce a series of case studies that can be used to investigate important questions facing businesses as they work to implement sustainable solutions. Innovative approaches to product design, formulation, and manufacturing processes save companies money while helping them align with their sustainability and safety goals (American Chemistry Society).

  • Archer Daniels Midland Company                                                                              
    • ADM’s Archer RCTM is now considered a revolutionary innovation in substantially reducing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from coating products. In addition to the product’s environmental benefits, recent tests have indicated that it is superior to traditional paints and stains.
  • DuPont Cleaning Products Division                                                              
    • pondering the future direction of the division in light of growing concern over the environmental and social implications of the chemical ingredients of cleaning products.
    • developed expertise in life sciences, produced biomedical products and agricultural chemicals, and integrated chemistry and biotechnology. DuPont’s culture revolves around safety, business ethics, and respect for people.
  • Natureworks: Green Chemistry’s Contribution to Biotechnology Innovation, Commercialization, and Strategic Planning                                                              
    • prestigious Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its development of the first synthetic polymer class to be produced from renewable resources—specifically, from corn grown in the American Midwest.
    • The product was biomass material and held the potential to substitute a renewable feedstock (raw material) for petroleum-based polymers.
    • In addition to replacing petroleum as the material feedstock, PLA resins have the added benefit of being compostable (safely biodegraded) or even infinitely recyclable.
  • Pfizer Pharmaceuticals: Green Chemistry Innovation and Business Strategy                                                       
    • Pfizer won the U.S. Presidential Green Chemistry Award for Alternative Synthetic Pathways for its innovative manufacturing process for sertraline hydrochloride (HCl). Sertraline HCl was the active ingredient in the pharmaceutical Zoloft.
    • Pfizer dramatically improved the commercial manufacturing process of sertraline: through green chemistry improved workers and environment  safety.
    • The new commercial process (referred to as the “combined” process) offered dramatic pollution prevention benefits, including improved safety and material handling, reduced energy and water use, and double overall product yield.
  • SC Johnson and the GreenlistTM Challenge                                                               
    • patented Greenlist process formalizes the classification of raw materials used in the company’s products according to their impact on the environment and human health.
    • uses a process that assists with the continual improvement of the environmental profile of the company’s products.
  • Shaw Industries: Sustainable Business, Entrepreneurial Innovation, and Green Chemistry                                                               
    • won a Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award. The company earned the award by applying green chemistry and engineering principles with a cradle-to-cradle design2 (C2C) approach to create environmentally benign carpet tile, a first in the industry.
  • TerraCycle, Inc.                                                                    
    • turn worm poop and used soda bottles into a viable business that forces us to reexamine the way in which we do business.
    • triple-bottom-line company that becomes more profitable as a result of (and not in spite of) its environmentally conscious and socially responsible business model.
    • produces, markets, and sells plant fertilizers for consumer use that are produced and packaged entirely out of waste.

Understand the business development process behind green chemistry technologies (American Chemistry Society).

  • Buckman International, Inc.
    • Buckman’s Maximyze® enzymes modify the cellulose in wood to increase the number of “fibrils” that bind the wood fibers to each other, thus making paper with improved strength and quality — without additional chemicals or energy. Buckman’s process also allows papermaking with less wood fiber and higher percentages of recycled paper, enabling a single plant to save $1 million per year.
  • Codexis, Inc. & Dr. Yi Tang, UCLA
    • Simvastatin, a leading drug for treating high cholesterol, is manufactured from a natural product.
    • The resulting process greatly reduces hazard and waste, is cost-effective and meets the needs of customer.
  • Elevance Renewable Sciences, Inc.
    • Nobel-prize-winning catalyst technology to break down natural oils and recombine the fragments into novel, high-performance green chemicals that reduce greenhouse gases by 50%.

Works Cited

“2015 ECO EXPERIENCE.” Minnesota State Fair. Minnesota, n.d. Web. 07 Sept. 2015. <;.

“ACS Summer School on Green Chemistry and Sustainable Energy.” American Chemical Society. ACS, n.d. Web. 07 Sept. 2015. <;.

“Beyond Benign.” Beyond Benign : Green Chemistry. American Chemical Society, n.d. Web. 08 Sept. 2015. <;.

“Center for Sustainable Polymers.” Center for Sustainable Polymers. University of Minnesota, n.d. Web. 07 Sept. 2015. <;.

“Education Roadmap.” American Chemical Society. ACS, n.d. Web. 07 Sept. 2015. <;.

“Educational Materials for Chemist.” Greener Educational Materials for Chemists. University of Oregon, n.d. Web. 07 Sept. 2015. <;.

“The Energy and U Show.” Department of Chemistry. University of Minnesota, n.d. Web. 07 Sept. 2015. <;.

“Green Alternative Wizard.” Green Alternative Wizard. Massachusetts Institute for Technology, n.d. Web. 07 Sept. 2015. <;.

“Green Chemistry & Engineering Student Workshops.” American Chemical Society. ACS, n.d. Web. 07 Sept. 2015. <;.

“Green Chemistry Academic Programs.” American Chemical Society. ACS, n.d. Web. 07 Sept. 2015. <;.

“Green Chemistry ACS Student Chapters – American Chemical Society.” American Chemical Society. ACS, n.d. Web. 07 Sept. 2015. <;.

“Green Chemistry Education Network.” GCEdNet. University of Oregon, n.d. Web. 08 Sept. 2015. <;.

“Green Chemistry.” Green Chemistry. University of Scranton, n.d. Web. 07 Sept. 2015. <;.

“Green Chemistry Pocket Guides.” American Chemical Society. ACS, n.d. Web. 07 Sept. 2015. <;.

Green Lab Best Practices Checklist. Bloomington, IN: Campus Safety Health and Environmental Management, n.d. Pdf.

“Michigan Green Chemistry Clearinghouse.” Laboratory Resources | Michigan Green Chemistry Clearinghouse. Aquinas College Center for Sustainability, n.d. Web. 07 Sept. 2015. <;.

“The New England Consortium.” Green Chemistry Training Manual & Posters. University of Mass, Lowell, n.d. Web. 07 Sept. 2015. <;.

Safe Products, Made Safely: Green Chemistry Tools for Business. Minneapolis, MN: Great Lakes Green Chemistry Network, n.d. Pdf.

“Students & Educators.” American Chemical Society. ACS, n.d. Web. 08 Sept. 2015. <;.

“Summer Research Program.” Center for Sustainable Polymers. University of Minnesota, n.d. Web. 07 Sept. 2015. <;.

“Textbooks, Lab Manuals & Reference Materials.” American Chemical Society. ACS, n.d. Web. 07 Sept. 2015. <;.

“Webinars & Videos.” American Chemical Society. ACS, n.d. Web. 07 Sept. 2015. <;.