Beyond Benign

Why Chemists Invent Green

News – Why Chemists Invent Green

Chemistry is central. It is the molecular building blocks of all the products we use and consume. Everything around you (and in you!) has some type of chemistry in it – or even has a chemical process happening! Chemistry has historically had a bad reputation due to the unintended consequences of some chemical products and processes. Today, we are finding that chemistry is central to intentionally solving problems with health and environment in mind.

“Chemistry is the alphabet of science. The alphabet has 26 letters and you can take those 26 letters and you can write really nasty horrible stuff or you can write really beautiful poetry or novels. With the tools of chemistry, as the alphabet of science, you can either create something beautiful or you can create something hazardous. It’s a choice” – John Warner, Co-Founder of Beyond Benign and President & Chief Technology Officer of Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry (WBI)

Green chemistry gives scientists the framework to design  “something beautiful” using chemistry as a tool. By definition, green chemistry is the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use and/or generation of hazardous substances.

Learn more about the importance of green chemistry education in this short video from our past Beyond Benign Fellow Michael Shen from Northeastern University and join the community in making green chemistry just the way we do chemistry!

Our society is currently facing enormous environmental challenges, from a planet that is getting warmer every day, to the fact that there might be more plastics in the oceans than fish in a not-that-far-away-future. A sustainable future can only be achieved if the foundation of products around us are built sustainably, and that is where green chemistry comes in! Green chemistry invention has the power to improve people’s lives by intentionally designing more sustainable, safer, less-hazardous molecular building blocks and creating inherently safer products and processes. So how can we use chemistry to create beautiful products and processes that are beyond benign? By practicing sustainability through green chemistry!

Over the next four months, we are unveiling a Chemists Invent Green campaign to celebrate amazing scientists that are putting our environmental and societal health first. These scientists are incorporating green chemistry principles to invent solutions that are beyond benign. Besides designing solutions that are beyond being environmentally benign, these scientists are also designing inventions that have comparable or superior economics and performance, allowing for their inventions to be successful in the marketplace.  However, do not be mistaken: the process of inventing is not simple. It requires failure, teamwork, creativity, persistence, and the list goes on. New to invention education? Learn more here!

Chemists Invent Green will highlight the critical role held by chemists in the design and invention of products and processes that our society uses every day. Moreover, we hope our campaign will inspire the next generation to invent green!

Chemists in the laboratory invent new chemistry and materials, while the chemists and educators at Beyond Benign invent resources to pioneer the shift in science education to equip educators with the tools to teach and learn green chemistry with their students. Beyond Benign will launch a new invention education guide resource in February 2020. The first open-access sustainable invention student guide is being created in partnership with Lemelson-MIT, for teaching green chemistry and invention to K-12 students. The JVInvenTeams Sustainable Plastics student guide empowers students to invent sustainable products and processes through hands-on green chemistry activities based on developing bioplastics using renewable resources.

Follow our Chemists Invent Green campaign as we unveil our remarkable inventors leading up to the guides release in February!

Sign up for our newsletter to learn more about our community and how you can engage with us! Spread the word about Green Chemistry by posting this green chemistry infographic in your classroom and/or laboratory.

This infographic was created by Compound Interest in collaboration with The Green Chemistry Initiative at the University of Toronto, one of our 62 Green Chemistry Commitment signing institutions. 

About Beyond Benign

Beyond Benign, a world-renowned leader in green chemistry education, is pioneering a paradigm shift in science education to ensure the chemical building blocks of products used every day are healthy and safe for humans and the environment. Utilizing professional learning communities across the education continuum, we have empowered a community of educators, who are change-makers and innovators in their fields, to practice sustainability through chemistry.