By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton
On August 3, 2023, the Joint Subcommittee on Environment, Innovation, and Public Health Sustainable Chemistry Strategy Team (Sustainable Chemistry ST) of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) published a report entitled Sustainable Chemistry Report: Framing the Federal Landscape. As reported in our January 19, 2021, memorandum, the fiscal year (FY) 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) included the text of the bipartisan Sustainable Chemistry Research and Development Act of 2019. It established an interagency working group led by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to coordinate federal programs and activities in support of sustainable chemistry. The report establishes the federal landscape and provides a high-level overview of relevant topical areas around sustainable chemistry. The Sustainable Chemistry ST notes that it is a state of science report that includes gaps and opportunities for the federal government. Following the report, the Sustainable Chemistry ST will develop a strategic plan for how the federal government can leverage these opportunities to make significant progress in addressing the identified data gaps.
The report includes the following definition of sustainable chemistry:
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.
More information and an insightful commentary are available in our August 28, 2023, memorandum.