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White House Proposes Definition for “Sustainable Chemistry”

White House

A White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) subcommittee published a report on sustainable chemistry with the goal of coordinating federal programs and activities in this area. The report, published August 23, 2023, includes a proposed definition for sustainable chemistry (shown below). 

Sustainable chemistry is the chemistry that produces compounds or materials from building blocks, reagents and catalysts that are readily available and renewable, operates at optimal efficiency, and employs renewable energy sources; this includes the intentional design, manufacture, use and end-of-life management of chemicals, materials and products across their lifecycle that do not adversely impact human health and the environment, while promoting circularity, meeting societal needs, contributing to economic resilience, and aspiring to perpetually use elements, compounds, and materials without depletion of resources or accumulation of waste.

OSTP worked with several federal agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy, to develop the definition. 

The report is intended to support implementation of the Sustainable Chemistry Research and Development Act of 2019.