Green Chemistry

Building awareness for a sustainable society and lifestyle

April 23, 2021

Practicing a sustainable lifestyle

A young woman practices sustainable living purchasing bulk items in a store. (adobestock)

At UC Berkeley, students can teach classes called Decal to spread awareness and fun about the topics they are passionate about. Kelly Chou, currently a senior studying...

Circular plastic, the utopia of environmentalists, is a reality

March 3, 2020

plastic recycling

Plastic is a certainly versatile element. There is much we can do with it. Utensils, tools, parts for cars, technological devices. There is only one thing we do not know how to do with plastic: disappear when it is no longer useful. There the real headache begins and the enormous challenge of obtaining a circular or fully recyclable plastic is posed. Plastics contain various additives, such as dyes, fillers or flame retardants and very few of them can be recycled without loss of performance or aesthetics. The most recyclable plastic, PET (ethylene polyterephthalate), is only recycled at a rate of 20-30%. The rest generally goes to incinerators or landfills where it takes centuries to decompose.

UC Berkeley Greener Solution program receives EPA funding

September 25, 2020

Examples of green food packaging

UC Berkeley’s Greener Solutions program has been selected as one of the national grantees to receive EPA funding for a new program. This initiative partners students with companies interested in adopting sustainable chemistry. UC Berkeley’s $194,832 grant will help identify alternatives to chemicals of concern currently used in the carpet and food...

Chemistry instruction team builds new online lab program

July 6, 2020

BeArS@home lab demos

A new program called BeArS@home will customize interactive lab experiments that have historically been available only in the classroom for online learning by College of Chemistry undergraduate students this fall. When the COVID-19 pandemic kept students away from campus this spring, Berkeley’s Department of Chemistry had to scramble to keep the laboratory sections working. Now they are getting serious and building the real thing.

Trends in the chemistry of disinfecting

May 13, 2020

green disinfectants

With cleaning and sanitizing products flying off the shelves and handwashing jingles becoming ubiquitous, we'd like to consider the chemistry of micro-organism control. There are many ways to effectively remove pathogens, including coronavirus, from surfaces. Most of these products use one of three basic mechanisms to chemically control bacteria and viruses.

Learn about food packaging from this green chemist

February 26, 2020

martin mulvihill

Wondering which plastic containers to avoid and which are safe to eat from? How to learn about chemicals in food packaging? Or how to make sure you are buying BPA-free foods? Foodprint recently held a Twitter chat with Dr. Martin Mulvihill (Ph.D. ’09, Chem), researcher and advisor at the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry and general partner with Safer Made, a mission-driven venture capital fund that invests in companies that remove or reduce the use of harmful chemicals in products and manufacturing processes and asked that very question.

Integrating green chemistry into general chemistry

February 3, 2020

green chemistry

An injection of cash helped the University of California, Berkeley, reform its general chemistry lab instruction. Back in 2012, the College of Chemistry received a gift of money from the Dow Chemical Company Foundation. Most of the funds were used to completely renovate the teaching labs, adding new equipment and modern instrumentation. But, says Anne M. Baranger, UC Berkeley’s director of undergraduate chemistry, $1 million was earmarked for developing a new teaching curriculum to match the labs. And the focus was on sustainability.

Public Health and Chemistry join forces to reimagine chemistry education for sustainability

October 4, 2019

Team BuildingHow can the makers of Goretex produce waterproof gear without toxic perfluorinated chemicals? How might an enzyme found in plants and fungi help Levi Strauss & Co. keep their brand of khakis wrinkle-free? Is it possible to make an effective sunscreen that doesn’t damage coral reefs? A novel collaboration between the School of Public Health and the College of Chemistry through the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry (BCGC) is leading the nation in reimagining chemistry education to reduce waste, develop safer chemicals, and achieve sustainability.

UC Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab will one day make windows work like solar panels

January 29, 2018

Peidong YangA breakthrough by Peidong Yang could one day help tall buildings use dramatically less energy, by using their windows to generate electricity. For the full story visit ABC7 News.

Frances Arnold turns microbes into living factories

May 28, 2019

Frances Arnold. Photo by Erika Gerdemark for The New York Times.Instead of synthesizing new biochemicals from scratch, the Nobel Prize-winning chemist puts nature to the task — with astonishing results.

PASADENA, Calif. — The engineer’s mantra, said Frances Arnold, a professor of chemical engineering at the California Institute of Technology, is: “Keep it simple, stupid.” But Dr. Arnold, who last year became just the fifth woman in history to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, is the opposite of stupid, and her stories sometimes turn rococo.