Our societies are rapidly designing new materials and technologies. These emerging technologies could offer great benefits if they are designed to fit within natural ecological cycles and pose no new threats to human health or the environment.
Clean Production Action is developing tools to integrate life cycle thinking into plastics production and use. We are also keeping a watching brief on nanotechnology.
Plastics ScorecardThe Plastics Scorecard is a tool for evaluating the environmental and human health performance of plastic materials across their life cycle -- from the growing or extracting of raw materials to manufacturing and using the plastic to managing it at the end of its life. The Plastics Scorecard grades products from F to A+ depending on their life cycle performance.
Biopolymers are seen as a potentially greener alternative to petroleum based plastics which are non-biodegradable, have devastating effects on animal and ocean life and for the most part have an inherently toxic life cycle from production system through to disposal. However the life cycle of bio-polymers can be just as problematic.
Nanotechnology and other emerging technologies demand criteria that will ensure no harm for future generations or the environment. However the commercialization of this technology has advanced in the absence of government oversight, hazard assessment testing or an understanding of the repercussions of released nanomaterials to human health, the environment, or the political and social impact this will have globally. We are making the same mistakes with this technological rollout in the 21st century that the chemical industry made in the second half of the 20th century. Click here for more information.
In 2007 a coalition of concerned groups drew up the Principles for the Oversight of Nanotechnologies and Nanomaterials
A small community of scientists are advancing the Principles of Green Chemistry within nanotechnology design and attempting to integrate these design criteria within the global nanotechnology roll out. Visit http://www.greennano.org