Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry

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Greener Solutions

2014-09-04 13.32.02

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.


Apply to be involved

2021 Greener Solutions Course Student Application

Partner Organization Application 

Past Projects (from oldest to newest)

Establishing a proactive approach to address emerging contaminants in the informal e-waste sector with HP(2012).

Identifying new biomimetic strategies for cotton finishing with Levi’s (2013).

Identifying a range of safer alternatives to address the use of free isocyanates in spray foam insulation with General Coatings (2014).

Designing next generation chemical preservatives for personal care and home care products with Method, Beautycounter and Seventh Generation (2014).

Developing a safe low-temperature laundry detergent for oily clothes with Method (2015)

Establishing biologically-based strategies for better performing and safer resins for stereolithography printing with Autodesk (2015)

Designing non-toxic mosquito repellency for polyester clothing with Patagonia (2016)

Identifying strategies for “modular polymers in manufacturing” using safer colorants for a polypropylene chair as a test case with Steelcase (2016)

Providing bio-based alternative colorants for use with PHA biopolymer coatings for marine buoys with Mango Materials (2016)

Identifying alternatives to perfluorinated compounds for durable water repellency in outdoor clothing with WL Gore (2017).

Identifying methods to increase the performance of mushroom-based leather with MycoWorks (2017).

Greener Solutions for Thermoplastic Polyolefin Polymer Membrane Roofing Additives with The Oakland EcoBlock Project (2018)

Safer Sunscreens Nature’s Approach to UV Protection with Method (2018)


Partner Organizations (in alphabetical order)



CA Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), Region 9

General Coatings


Levi Straus and Company

Mango Materials




Oakland EcoBlock Project


Seventh Generation


WL Gore

XT Green

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