Charlotte Mace's blog

Green Chemistry
Globally, the market for biobased chemicals is growing by leaps and bounds. According to a recent report published by the National Research Council, the U.S. is on track to experience an upsurge in biobased chemicals even larger than anticipated. According to the Council’s report, "Industrialization of Biology: A Roadmap to Accelerate the Advanced Manufacturing of Chemicals," advanced manufacturing of chemicals through biology can help address global challenges such as: • Climate change •...+ Read more
Nanocellulose (also called cellulose nano fibers or CNF) are tiny structural building blocks derived from biomass (like trees and plants). They have great potential for conversion to lightweight, high-strength, advanced materials. Research in and commercialization of nanocellulose is growing quickly in the U.S. and globally, with a 1,000 ton per day pilot facility at the University of Maine and the nation’s first commercial nanocellulose plant recently opened at PaperLogic in Turners Falls,...+ Read more
Plastic Cup
Earlier this year, Mike Belliveau, Executive Director of the Environmental Health Strategy Center, spoke at the Midwest Bioeconomy and Safer Products Summit . His panel, “Phthalates: Science, Policy, and Safer Alternatives” focused on finding alternative solutions to harmful chemicals through green chemistry and biobased materials. Phthalates are a large group of chemicals that are widely used in consumer products but have been scientifically proven to be harmful to humans, especially children...+ Read more
At Environmental Health Strategy Center, we work for healthy products in a healthy economy. By replacing everyday products made from oil and natural gas with products made primarily from plants, we can cut our carbon footprint and ensure better environmental health. But is “biobased” always better? Not necessarily. In this article , Executive Director Mike Belliveau explores how even biobased can be toxic if the rules of green chemistry and sustainability aren’t followed.+ Read more
We agree with the Portland Press Herald’s recent article, “Biobased products seen as vital for Maine’s growth,” (6/21/15) which reported that Maine has the third-highest concentration of jobs in the “biobased products” industry, according to a recent USDA Report. The report is part of USDA’s campaign to promote the biobased products industry, which as the article points out, is just perfect for Maine, where we need to grow good manufacturing jobs using our abundant natural resources. The...+ Read more
Earlier this week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized this year’s winners of the Presidential Green Chemistry Award . Green chemistry (also known as sustainable chemistry) means designing processes and research in a way that minimizes the use and generation of hazardous substances. In other words, is there a way to make this without using hazardous chemicals and generating hazardous waste? It’s no surprise that several of the winners this year are biobased manufacturers,...+ Read more
The LEGO Group is investing approximately $148 million for a new LEGO Sustainable Materials Center to be established between 2015 and 2016 with a goal of replacing current materials with sustainable alternatives by 2030. LEGO pieces (they’re called “elements”) are currently made from acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) resin. LEGO makes 6,000 tons of ABS plastic each year for its products . According to LEGO, “there is no common definition of a sustainable material,” but perhaps LEGO should...+ Read more
U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), who serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, recently announced a $3.5 million provision in the 2016 Agriculture Appropriations bill for forest products research. A portion of this funding will support University of Maine research to improve innovation and maintain a sustainable and globally competitive domestic forest products industry. According to Senator Susan Collins in her press release , “Maine has a thriving agricultural sector, and this bill...+ Read more
According to the recent Bloomberg article, “Biomaterials May Be Next Growth Engine for Paper Industry,” pulp and paper companies world-wide are becoming more profitable by going biobased. Instead of traditional writing papers and newsprint, companies are finding new, high-value uses for wood. There is a global shift from traditional pulp and paper products to biomaterials – advanced packaging, biobased chemicals, advanced biofuels, and other high-profit products. So what about Maine’s pulp and...+ Read more