Greener Solutions

Greener Solutions

The Greener Solutions program is a project based class that partners students with companies, non-profits, and/or government agencies interested in promoting the adoption of more sustainable chemistry. Every year we recruit teams of graduate students and advanced undergraduates to work closely with our partner organizations on interdisciplinary projects that leverage students’ knowledge in a real-world context.

The goal of these interdisciplinary projects is to understand and characterize the opportunities for the adoption of safer chemicals and materials within the partner organizations. While many of the solutions that our students describe will take many more years of research to develop, others may be built on existing solutions in other sectors. The resulting “opportunity map” creates a guide for the partner organization and UC Berkeley researchers to continue the problem-solving after the end of the initial semester-long project. Many of the projects started in the Greener Solutions program have grown into larger initiatives at Berkeley or within our partner organizations.

The Greener Solutions program has been supported by the California Department of Toxic Substance Control, a Pollution Prevention Grant from Region 9 of the US Environmental Protection Agency, and contributions from our partner organizations.

Past Projects

Greener Solutions 2022: Safer Nail Polish Solvents & Formulations

In partnership with the California Dept. of Toxic Substances Control and L’Oreal, this student team was tasked with identifying safer alternatives to previously used “bad actor” chemicals, such as toluene, in nail polish formulations.

Final Report Final Presentation Slides Recording of final...

Greener Solutions 2022: PFAS-free Fire Fighting Turnout Gear

Students were challenged to identify safer alternatives to the PTFE laminate moisture barrier currently approved by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1971 Standards, which certify firefighter turnout gear. The student team was partnered with the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF), a labor union made up of firefighters and scientists, representing firefighters and paramedics in the United States and Canada.

Final Report and...

Greener Solutions 2022: Moisture Barrier for Seaweed-base Poly Mailers

This project focused on identifying potential strategies that Sway, a San Francisco Bay Area startup developing seaweed-based films, could implement to enhance the moisture resistance of their seaweed-based poly mailers, while also maintaining optimal mechanical performance, biodegradability, and compostability.

Final Report Final Presentation Slides...