Forget Going for the Gold; We’re Going for Green! How U.S. E.P.A. Programs Accelerate Innovation in the Chemical Enterprise

Read the full post from the American Chemical Society.

At this year’s Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference in Portland, OR, I had the opportunity to interview David Widawsky, Director of the Chemistry, Economics, and Sustainable Strategies Division at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). We discussed regulation, innovation, the future of green chemistry and much more.

Engineering Students and Alumni Recognized for Distinguished Achievement in Helping Businesses Save Energy and Money

Read the full story from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Have you ever wondered how American small manufacturers stay competitive in today’s global economy? Maybe not, but since 1976 the US Department of Energy has been supporting teams of experts who each day develop the resources needed and provide engineering technical support to these businesses. These teams provide recommendations to help manufacturers operate at the highest level of energy efficiency and productivity.

These experts are members of the Industrial Assessment Center (IAC) program that is administered through the Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) under the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the Department of Energy. Led by engineering faculty, students at the selected IACs perform on-site assessments at small- and medium-sized manufacturing business partners, and have directly assisted more than 17,000 businesses, saving 6.1M metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions and 481 MBtu saved in energy consumption.

Recently AMO announced this year’s recipients of the third annual IAC Outstanding Student and Distinguished Alumni Award, which recognizes students and alumni who have made a significant impact through their work in energy efficiency and outstanding accomplishments in promoting the practices and principles of energy engineering. Nominations were submitted for students and alumni. Though recognized for different achievements, one characteristic all awardees share is an exceptional ability as engineers and having advanced energy efficiency in the often hard to engage small and medium-sized manufacturing community.

EPA Establishes Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals and Seeks Experts to Serve

As directed by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, the Agency is establishing the Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC). The purpose of the SACC is to provide independent advice and expert consultation on the scientific and technical aspects of risk assessments, methodologies, and pollution prevention measures or approaches. Members of the SACC will have expertise in scientific and technical fields relevant to chemical risk assessment and pollution prevention. Members will also have diverse background and experiences, including professional experiences in government, labor, public health, public interest, animal protection, industry, and other groups.  EPA is seeking public comments and nominations. 

For more information, including how to submit comments or nominations to serve, please visit

U.S. EPA Region 1 offers webinar series on climate resilience for small business

U.S. EPA Region 1 is conducting a webinar series on climate change resilience for small businesses, especially those located in or near flood-prone areas that use hazardous chemicals.  This training takes a “source reduction first” approach to the training for these businesses. Participants will learn how to:

  • Assess pollution prevention/source reduction options
  • Use online maps to learn if they are in or near flood-prone areas
  • Comply with hazardous waste management regulations
  • Prepare a business continuity plan
  • Find out about how they can obtain energy audits and funding from the Massachusetts Small and Midsize Business Direct Install Program

Webinar 1: The Resilient Business: Strategies for Pollution Prevention & Financing Energy Efficiency

  • Session 1: Wednesday August 31, 10:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m. EDT – Register
  • Session 2: Wednesday, September 14, 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. EDT – Register

Webinar 2: The Resilient Business: Strategies for Pollution Prevention & Reducing Flood Risk

  • Session 1: Wed. Sept. 21, 1:00-2:30 p.m. EDTRegister
  • Session 2: Wed. Sept. 28, 11:00 a.m-12:30 p.m. EDT Register

For more information about the webinar series, contact: Roy Crystal, 617-918-1745,

Job announcement: Unit Supervisor, Hazardous Waste and Toxics Reduction (HWTR) Program, Washington State Dept. of Ecology

Protecting Washington State’s environment for current and future generations is what we do every day at Ecology. We are a culture that is invested in making a difference. If you want to join a team that is highly effective, collaborative, has leadership that embraces the value of people, and believes in the fun factor, Ecology is a good fit.

The Hazardous Waste and Toxics Reduction (HWTR) Program within the Department of Ecology is looking to fill a Unit Supervisor (WMS Band 1) position. This position is located in our Headquarters Building (HQ) in Lacey, WA.

The Unit Supervisor position reports to the Pollution Prevention and Regulatory Assistance (P2RA) Section Manager. This position is responsible for implementing actions in support of the agency’s Reducing Toxic Threats initiative, ensuring compliance with product safety laws and regulations, working to advance green chemistry/alternatives, assessments, and HWTR’s Toxics Evolution project.

The unit has 10 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff positions. This unit supervisor has delegated authority for making decisions granted by the Section Manager. This position requires managerial skills to support professional staff actions to implement statewide toxics reduction strategies, legislation, policies and programs that have significant impact on statewide environmental quality and public health. This position functions as a unit supervisor by assigning and managing unit resources, developing, promoting and implementing program initiatives. The unit supervisor is responsible for tracking day-to-day activities related to unit personnel, staff training and staff development. This position may also represent the Section Manager before elected bodies, other governmental agencies, interest groups, news media, and the general public.

We are looking for applicants who are able to lead technical staff to advance cutting-edge programs related to safer chemicals and products. Applicants should have the ability to work effectively across agency program areas to meet sampling preparation, testing and analytical results. We are looking for applicants who can work in a timely fashion to meet compliance and enforcement goals for product testing laws. Applicants should have the ability to work with diverse internal and external stakeholders to communicate and seek input in the rapidly advancing field consumer product safety, green chemistry, sustainability and alternatives assessments.

As an agency, we invest in our employees to create and sustain a working environment that encourages creative leadership, effective resource management, teamwork, professionalism and accountability. Maybe you’ve seen some of our recent stories on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or our blog.

To learn more about our agency, please visit our website at

The Hazardous Waste and Toxics Reduction (HWTR) Program is made up of people dedicated to fostering sustainability, preventing pollution, and promoting safe waste management. We do many different things in a coordinated approach to protect the people and environment of Washington from pollution from hazardous products and waste.

The Unit Supervisor position coordinates with Program and Executive Management for making decisions where precedents are not clear. This position requires analysis and strategic thinking in collaboration with the Section Manager. This work includes new and emerging legislative, regulatory and policy development that may have regulatory impacts at the state and national levels.

Several key functions include:

  • Coordinating the agency’s PBT strategy, including maintaining rulemaking and policy guidance.
  • Providing scientific and technical assistance support for Chemical Action Plans (CAPs), as required.
  • Ensuring compliance with the Children’s Safe Products Act (CSPA), Toxics in Packaging, Better Brakes law, and other product safety statutes and rules.
  • Developing and implementing the Product Testing Program Charter, including following agency requirements for QAPPs, coordination with EAP/Manchester Laboratory, database support, compliance and enforcement actions and product testing budget monitoring.
  • Planning and implementing Green Chemistry business assistance and education programs, including serving as a technical resource to Northwest Green Chemistry.
  • Implementing and expanding state and national use of alternatives assessments and chemical hazard assessment tools and guidance.
  • Providing statewide chemistry, scientific and engineering technical assistance support to internal and external partners.
  • Promoting sustainability reporting activities, including the agency’s Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) report.
  • Supporting HWTR’s Toxics Evolution initiative.

This recruitment will remain open until filled. The initial screening will be September 7, 2016.  In order to be considered for the initial screening, please submit an application on or before September 6, 2016. The agency reserves the right to make an appointment any time after the initial screening date.


Required Qualifications

A Bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences, chemical engineering, environmental management, green chemistry, green engineering, planning or public administration or closely allied field.


Four or more years of professional level work in an environmental field which included leading staff or supervising staff who are performing work in an environmental field.

Examples of professional level experience is defined as work performed at a journey or senior level. An environmental field of work includes work in such areas as environmental enforcement and inspections, scientific studies, surveys and analyses, environmental chemistry, interpretation of environmental policy and technical environmental assistance.

Preference will be given to candidates with experience in green chemistry, green engineering, chemical engineering, environmental analysis and control.

A Master’s degree in a field noted above may substitute for the Bachelor’s degree and two of the four years of professional experience.

Desired Qualifications

  • Five years of experience in management and/or supervision.
  • Knowledge of Washington State laws and regulations pertaining to consumer products, hazardous waste and pollution prevention.
  • Training in organizational development, crucial conversations or team leadership.

Supplemental Information

Application Instructions

Applicants MUST include the following documents as an attachment to your application:
  • A cover letter describing how your experience, skills and abilities meet the required qualifications of this position.
  • A copy of your resume.
  • Submit three to five professional references.

Please complete the applicant profile when applying for this position. Or, you may paste the text of your resume within the profile’s resume text field.

Please read the supplemental questions carefully and answer completely. Incomplete responses, including “please see resume” may disqualify you from further consideration.


New MOOC from UNEP: Wicked Problems, Dynamic Solutions The Ecosystem Approach and Systems Thinking

The United Nations Environmental Programme has developed a new MOOC entitled “Wicked Problems, Dynamic Solutions The Ecosystem Approach and Systems Thinking.”

It begins on September 12, 2016 and runs for six weeks (seven for the advanced certificate). The cost is free. Here’s more from the course web site:

About this course

We live in a complex and dynamic world. Many problems we face today involve interdependent structures, multiple actors, and are at least partly the result of past actions. Such problems are extremely difficult to tackle and conventional solutions have very often led to unintended consequences.

A systems thinking approach focuses on systems as a whole: how the parts interrelate and how interconnections create emerging patterns. Systems thinking tools allow us to map and explore dynamic complexity. With a better understanding of systems, we can identify leverage points that lead to desired outcomes and avoid unintended consequences. Environmental problems are often described as “wicked problems” to highlight their complexity and the difficulties they entail. Finding answers to current crises such as fisheries collapse, climate change, biodiversity loss, infectious diseases, and inequitable access to resources will be amongst the greatest challenges of our time. The ecosystem approach applies systems thinking to gain a better understanding of how ecosystems function. It can help us identify potential solutions to a myriad of problems inspired in part by the complex dynamics of ecosystems themselves.


  • The first MOOC focusing on the ecosystem approach and systems thinking
  • Case studies from around the world
  • Expert faculty and distinguished visiting lecturers
  • Open to all without restrictions
  • Develop an extensive global network with other students and professionals from around the world
  • FREE of charge, including access to all course material on a 24-hour online platform

What will you gain in this course?

  • a well-developed knowledge of the basic features of ecosystems, the ecosystem approach and systems thinking from an interdisciplinary perspective
  • an understanding of the distinction between reductionist and holistic thinking
  • the ability to apply critical systems thinking
  • enhanced knowledge of the inter-relationships between ecosystems and human systems:
    • critical ecosystem functions and services,
    • threats, drivers and direct and indirect impacts to human well-being and development, and
    • opportunities for the wider application of the ecosystem approach and systems thinking in other sectors
  • specific awareness of case studies selected from representative ecosystems and related global issues, demonstrating the benefits and challenges of integrated approaches for ecosystem management and beyond
  • the necessary basis for designing creative solutions to ecosystem management and governance problems

Course Options

Foundations: 40 hours of learning introducing the student to the basic concepts of the ecosystem and systems thinking approaches. This track consists of 10 modules geared towards university students, policymakers, managers and professionals who require an overview of the topic in order to integrate the concepts of the MOOC into their professions.

Advanced Certificate: 10 additional hours consisting of a final assignment for those who want to acquire more in-depth knowledge, insights and skills relating to the applicability of the ecosystem approach in their respective areas of specialization, in the larger framework of the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.

Students can obtain a certificate of participation after the completion of the Foundations component of the course, and may elect to take their studies further to obtain an Advanced Certificate.

New P2 Impact Column: Why water is more expensive than most companies think

In the latest GreenBiz P2 Impact column, Monique Dubos of MnTAP provides some tips for how manufacturers can save water. Read all of the P2 Impact columns here.