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Green Chemistry

The Green Chemistry Initiative at the University of Toronto

April #WomenOfGreenChemistry

Tess Fennelly (@tessfennelly) is a founder of Remooble (@remooble) , a start-up aiming to provide cleaning products to consumers based on principles of safe and sustainable chemistry. Remooble products efficiently remove ink, adhesive, paint and polymers.

Tess Fennelly earned her bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Purdue and an MBA from Lehigh University, and has a strong background in sustainable chemistry. Tess began her career in sales and learned different facets of the chemical industry at industry giants like Stauffer, Air Products & Chemicals and American Cyanamid (now Cytec/Solvay). She was instrumental in commercializing green raw materials at two start-ups: GFBiochemicals and Segetis, and ran her own consulting firm for more than 10 years!

Tess speaks regularly about hurdles and opportunities in commercialising green chemistry, and is also an advisory board member for the Green Chemistry & Commerce Council and for GreenBlue. She received the 2017 Champion Award from the Green Chemistry and Commerce Council "in recognition of leadership in advancing safer chemistry and a healthier planet.
A pioneer in her field and a successful businesswoman, we would like to honour Tess for being an inspiring #WomanInGreenChemistry!

#WomenOfGreenChemistry #GreenChemistry #WomenInChemistry #WomenInSTEM

Textiles' True Colours: How Sustainable are they?

The rise of fast-fashion trends in our global economy has led to a booming textiles manufacturing industry. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, globally the industry consumes over 98 million tonnes of non-renewable resources per year. The majority of these items have seen less utilization compared with early 2000s. With an increasing consumer awareness of eco-friendly and sustainable practices in manufacturing, pressures at the consumer level have led to changes to these labour-intensive processes. Of note is the dyeing process, which historically has been a wet process. The dyeing, printing, and washing steps consume large amounts of energy and generate large volumes of wastewater, which contain the excess dyes, surfactants, and salts. In 2014 alone, coloration of textiles generated over 1.5 billion tons of wastewater. Much of this wastewater is neither environmentally benign nor biodegradable and requires further energy investment during the remediation step. Smaller eco-conscious manufacturers such as Ikeuchi Organic, a company located in Japan, have been tackling these issues by utilizing 100% wind power for their operations. The smaller scale allows for easier implementation of wastewater treatment and a final product which passes Class 1 certification as set by OEKO-TEX STANDARD 100, a global leader in textiles regulations. The underutilization of sustainable textiles dyeing processes on a large scale, however, continues to be a problem. The search for highly competitive, as well as energy and cost-efficient processes along with bridging the gap between laboratory and industrial scales to deliver the benefits of eco-friendly manufacturing is an ongoing goal in the textile research community.

Click here to check out our latest blog written by Brian Tsui to find out!

March #WomenOfGreenChemistry

Dr. Mary Kirchhoff is the Executive Vice President for the Scientific Advancement Division at the American Chemical Society (ACS @amerchemsociety) and is the Director of the ACS Green Chemistry Institute. She has been a longstanding advocate for highlighting the principles and practices of green chemistry and has worked to illustrate its role in achieving the global goal of sustainability.

Dr. Kirchhoff earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry from Russell Sage College and Duquesne University, respectively, and her Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of New Hampshire. She spent three years with the ACS Green Chemistry Institute before moving to the ACS Education Division, where she served as Director. As the recipient of an American Association for the Advancement of Science Environmental Fellowship, she worked with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s green chemistry program. Dr. Kirchhoff is currently a Fellow of AAAS and currently serves on the National Academies’ Chemical Sciences Roundtable.

With her experience in leadership and advocacy for green chemistry, we certainly need more people like Dr. Kirchhoff in positions of influence in order to ignite scientific and social change. Today being International Women’s Day, we would like to honour and appreciate Dr. Kirchhoff for being a dedicated, inspiring #WomanInGreenChemistry!

#internationalwomensday #WomenOfGreenChemistry #GreenChemistry #WomenInChemistry #WomenInSTEM

A Greener Future for Chemicals

Over the last four decades, the development of the chemical industry has transformed the global economy and provided a better quality of life for societies worldwide. However, the mass production and disposal of persistent chemicals has been a threat for the environment and the human health. Understanding the effect of chemicals in the environment is necessary in order to replace current harmful molecules with more benign ones. Fortunately, chemists have learned from negative past experiences and the next generation of chemicals are expected to cause less toxicity and be less environmentally persistent.

Click here to check out our latest blog written by Jose Jimenez Santiago to find out!


Dr. Mary Kirchhoff

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February #WomenOfGreenChemistry

February 11 is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. According to UNWOMEN, recent studies have found that women in STEM fields publish less, are paid less for their research, and do not progress as far as men in their careers.

Girls are often discouraged from pursuing studies in STEM and are made to believe that they are not as smart as men who have natural affinity for the field. Despite these challenges, numerous women have defied these stereotypes and lead ground-breaking research and innovation. Therefore, it is important that their talent and effort be acknowledged in order to bridge the gender gap in STEM.

Today we honour the inspiring women in green chemistry. Jane Wissinger, Amy Cannon, Heather Buckley, Fran Kerton and Anna Zhenova are among many other women who play active roles in advocating for sustainability in order to ensure a better, greener future for us all.

Let’s take a moment today to reflect on all the powerful women in science who have helped shape the world we live in- it’s the least we can do!

#WomenOfGreenChemistry #GreenChemistry #WomenInChemistry #WomenInSTEM

January #WomenOfGreenChemistry: Anna Zhenova

Anna Zhenova (@AnnaZhenova) is the founder and CEO of Green Rose Chemistry, a chemical consultancy based in York, UK. Green Rose is bringing a brand-new service to the EU in response to a growing market need, empowering companies to adopt greener solvents by providing unbiased expertise rooted in cutting-edge computational science. By making green solvents more accessible, Green Rose is accelerating the transition to a safer, bio-based economy.

Anna earned her Ph.D. from the University of York, where she took part in the industrially partnered RenewChem program at the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence (@GreenChemYork). Before beginning her Ph.D., Anna worked at the Green Chemistry and Commerce Council (@the_gc3), a non-profit consortium promoting proactive adoption of green chemistry in industry. Anna earned her M.Sc. from Carnegie Mellon University with research in low-cost ionic liquids for carbon capture, and her B.Sc. in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology, where she researched environmentally-friendly catalysis in the Grubbs Group.

Outside of work, Anna leads initiatives to support early-career sustainable researchers and promote green chemistry education. While at York, she co-chaired greenSTEMS (@greenstemsUoY), engaging students, staff, and the local community around sustainable science topics. While at the GC3, she directed communications and outreach at NESSE (@greenscientists), serving as part of the leadership team of an international community of early-career scientists. More recently, she has co-organized a symposium on waste-based feedstocks for the ACS GC&E conference, and won a Yale-UNIDO prize with her video explaining green chemistry research at the GCCE.

By applying her green solvents expertise and industrial knowledge, Anna is bringing chemistry out of the lab and helping companies move into the bio-economy. We want to honour Anna Zhenova for being an inspiring #WomenInGreenChemistry!

#GreenChemistry #WomenInChemistry #WomenInSTEM

December #WomenOfGreenChemistry: Fran Kerton

Dr. Francesca Kerton (@ChemMouse) is a Professor of Green Chemistry at Memorial University of Newfoundland, where she established the Centre for Green Chemistry and Catalysis at Memorial University in collaboration with Dr. Chris Kozak. Her research group explores environmentally-friendly chemistry through the development of catalysts, replacement of traditional solvents, and use of renewable feedstocks from biomass materials. Dr. Kerton’s research has received many awards, including the 2019 Canadian Green Chemistry and Engineering Award from the Chemical Institute of Canada!

Dr. Kerton earned a BSc in chemistry from the University of Kent. She then moved to the University of Sussex to earn her PhD in chemistry. Dr. Kerton completed her postdoctoral work at the University of British Columbia before returning to the U.K. for an academic position at the University of York. She joined the department of chemistry at Memorial University of Newfoundland as an assistant professor in 2005, with promotions to associate and full professor in 2010 and 2015, respectively.

Through designing greener chemical processes and finding innovative ways to incorporate renewable feedstocks and waste materials from the seafood industry, Dr. Kerton is leading the way in sustainable research. We want to honour Fran Kerton for being an inspiring #WomenInGreenChemistry!

#GreenChemistry #WomenInChemistry #WomenInSTEM

November #WomenOfGreenChemistry: Heather Buckley (@greensafewater_)

Dr. Heather Buckley (@greensafewater_) is an Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering and an Adjunct Professor of Chemistry at the University of Victoria. Her interdisciplinary research team tackles challenges at the interface of green chemistry, civil engineering, and public health, centering their efforts around creating tools for better monitoring of drinking water contaminants and the design of safer alternative technologies in water treatment. The GCI was excited to have Dr. Buckley as an invited speaker at the annual symposium in 2019!

Heather Buckley earned a BSc and MSc in chemistry from the University of British Columbia. She earned a PhD in inorganic chemistry from the University of California Berkeley as an International Fullbright Science & Technology Fellow. Dr. Buckley completed her postdoctoral work as the Associate Director of International Partnerships at the UC Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry, was a Green Talents Fellow at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy in Freiburg, Germany, and was an ITRI Rosenfeld Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She then joined the University of Victoria as an Assistant Professor in January 2018.

Through designing greener technologies and tools for environmental monitoring Dr. Buckley is helping communities and industrial partners ensure the safety of their drinking water. We want to honour Heather Buckley for being an inspiring #WomenInGreenChemistry!

#GreenChemistry #WomenInChemistry #WomenInSTEM

October #WomenOfGreenChemistry: Amy Cannon (@Amy_Cannon)

Amy Cannon is the co-founder and executive director of Beyond Benign (@beyondbenign), a non-profit organization dedicated to green chemistry education. Beyond Benign is transforming chemistry education through fostering a green chemistry education community which empowers and supports educators and students from elementary to graduate school to implement green chemistry and sustainable science into the classroom. A major project led by Beyond Benign is the Green Chemistry Commitment, a commitment for college and universities to implement and improve green chemistry and toxicology education for all chemistry students. This project has been incredibly successful, with 62 commitment signers from 7 different countries – including the chemistry department (@chemuoft) at University of Toronto!

Amy Cannon earned a bachelor’s degree majoring in Chemistry from Saint Anselm College, a M.S. in chemistry from University of Massachusetts Boston, and the world’s first Ph.D. in Green Chemistry from the University of Massachusetts Boston. She worked as an Assistant Professor of Green Chemistry and Director of Outreach and Community Education at the Center for Green Chemistry at the University of Massachusetts Lowell until 2007, before co-founding Beyond Benign. Amy was awarded the 2012 EPA New England Environmental Merit award for her leadership and work on green chemistry education. She also serves on the editorial board for the journal Green Chemistry Letters & Reviews.

Through outreach, resource development, training, and more, Amy has been leading the growth of a community of sustainable chemists and educators to improve the health of society and the environment. We want to honour Amy Cannon for being an inspiring #WomenInGreenChemistry!

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Women of Green Chemistry

The GCI and WICTO are excited to launch the #WomenOfGreenChemistry campaign, celebrating an influential and inspiring woman in the field of green chemistry education, technology, and research each month! Check back each month to learn more about these incredible women leading the way in green chemistry!

Introducing #WomenOfGreenChemistry

Our first highlight is Jane Wissinger fro the University of Minnesota. Click here to read more about it.

Green Marketing in the Plastic Era: Honesty or Hype?

The impact of human activity on climate and the environment has moved beyond a mainstream headline. It has come to the point where we are considered the dominant influence on our ecosystems and geology, so much so that there is a buzzword for it: ‘Anthropocene’. Within the Anthropocene, our greatest challenge is lessening the effects of our immense footprint on Earth, mainly caused by consumption of fossil fuels and our obsession with plastics. Consequently, there has been a considerable spike in eco-friendly or ‘green’ marketing of numerous products labeled as ‘organic’, ‘biodegradable’, or ‘sustainable’ ranging from fuels, cars, skincare, all the way to clothing. One common advertising theme for several everyday products is post-consumer recycled materials and their incorporation into the design and production of such commodities. But to what extent are the advertised claims legitimate and whether they allow for a circular economy (e.g. make, use, recover)? Here, we will cover the chemistry of popular sustainable alternatives to plastics and compare them to their non-sustainable counterparts to assess whether the ‘green’ hype is valid.

Click here to check out our latest blog written by Nina-Francesca Farac to find out!

2019 Symposium schedule now online!

Keep up to date with our 2019 GCI symposium titled “Frontiers in Green Chemistry: Challenges in the Anthropocene”. The symposium schedule is now online! Check it out here.

Announcing the 2019 Symposium!

The GCI is proud to announce our 2019 symposium titled "Frontiers in Green Chemistry" Challenges in the Anthropocene" will be held at the University of Toronto on May 16th and 17th. Also included is a crash source on the fundamentals of Green Chemistry. More information can be found here.

Inherently Safer Chemistry for Accident Prevention - Green Chemistry Principle # 12

The Green Chemistry Initiative explains how the choice of inherently safer chemistry can minimize the potential for chemical accidents.

Read the corresponding blog post and check out our other videos on the principles of green chemistry at our YouTube channel.

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Real-Time Analysis for Pollution Prevention - Green Chemistry Principle # 11

The Green Chemistry Initiative explains some real-time analytical techniques which can help reduce hazards in chemical reactions.

Read the corresponding blog post and check out our other videos on the principles of green chemistry at our YouTube channel.

Highlights of the 2018 GCI Symposium

Want to catch up on the 2018 GCI Symposium? One of our members, Rachel Hems, wrote a newsletter article for the Chemical Institute of Canada highlighting talks from invited speakers and interactive case studies. Click here to find out more.

Upcoming Seminar: Quantifying Environmental Contaminants at Environment and Climate Change Canada

On May 8th, 2018 Magali Houde from Environment and Climate Change Canada will be coming to the University of Toronto to discuss the development of analytic techniques to quantify environmental contaminants in aquatic systems. Case studies include threatened populations in the St. Lawrence River ecosystem as well as trends in chemical contamination in the Canadian Arctic. To learn more about the seminar please visit our seminar series page.

Early Bird Registration for the GCI Symposium is Extended!

Are you planning on attending the GCI Symposium but haven't finalized your plans? You are in luck, the Early Bird Registration has been extended to Sunday April 22nd, 2018! Register now here!

For full details, please visit our Symposium page.

Announcing the 2018 Symposium!

The GCI is proud to announce our 2018 symposium will be held at the University of Toronto this year, and will also include a crash source on the fundamentals of Green Chemistry. More information can be found here.