A new movement is getting ready to develop universal guidelines for determining whether chemical products and chemical processes are environmentally friendly.
C and EN Senior Correspondent Stephen Ritter notes that chemical companies are eager to produce greener products, but there are no standardized criteria for determining whether starting materials and chemical processes are environmentally friendly.
The standards, usually issued by companies themselves, tend to focus on only one or two product attributes, such as content of volatile organic compounds or percent of recycled content.
The American Chemical Society's Green Chemistry Institute (GCI) plans to create a "Greener Chemical Products and Processes Standard", which will allow anyone to evaluate the relative environmental performance of chemical products and their manufacturing technologies.
The next step could be an information label, similar to nutrition information labels now used on foods, that manufacturers can apply to product packaging to describe the product's eco-friendly attributes.
For business-to-business markets and for consumers, this should make choosing "greener" products a lot easier.
The article is published in Chemical and Engineering News (C and EN), ACS' weekly newsmagazine.