The Age of Plastics: A Chemical Introduction

graduate-plasticsI just want to say one word to you— just one word.

Yes, sir.

Are you listening?

Yes I am.


Exactly how do you mean?

There’s a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?

Yes, I will.

Enough said. That’s a deal.

Ubiquity & Mystery

When it comes to plastics, there are typically two narratives that dominate the conversation: one of ubiquity and one of mystery. Hopefully, this blog post will eradicate the latter.

This comical 1967 scene from The Graduate takes place after plastics had already penetrated many different industries like the textile industry. The commercialization of plastics occurred much earlier during World War II when natural sources of latex, wool, silk, and other materials were cut off, making the use of synthetics critical. During this time period, we saw the use of nylon, acrylic, neoprene, SBR, polyethylene, and many more polymers take the place of natural materials that were no longer available. Yet this scene capitalizes on the overwhelming feeling that plastics’ potential is exceedingly endless. (more…)


Cassie-ColorAn Announcement by Cassie Johnson, P.E., Green Seal’s Environmental Engineer II

Green Seal is planning revisions to our paints and coatings standards, GS-11 and GS-47, in the near future. We intend to expand the scope of these standards to add new product categories. We are also evaluating the potential of combining these two standards into one and considering updates to some of the criteria.

Our current review has been focused primarily on identifying product categories that could be added to the scope of these standards, mainly those that are similar in purpose or chemistry to those included in the current scope. The criteria in GS-11 effectively exclude clear, tinted, and transparent architectural coatings, and floor coatings other than latex paint. These products are not included in scope of GS-47, since it includes only products intended for use on wood or metal surfaces.

We are currently considering the following product categories for inclusion in the scope, for both interior and exterior use:

  • Permanent floor coatings (e.g., coatings for tile, stone, terrazzo, and vinyl floors)
  • Concrete sealers (non-breathable)
  • Concrete guards (breathable)
  • Clear wall coatings (e.g., anti-graffiti)
  • Masonry sealers
  • Coatings intended for fire resistance (e.g., intumescent paints)

As a preliminary step prior to our revision process, we are seeking your suggestions for any additional categories that could be added to the scope of Green Seal’s paints and coatings standards. Feedback can be provided either through Green Seal’s online forum or by e-mailing us.

Please provide your feedback by Thursday, August 7, 2014.

To Provide Feedback through the On-Line Forum

To Provide Feedback by E-Mail

If you have any questions regarding this commenting process, please e-mail Cassie Johnson at, or call (202) 872-6400.

Thank you for your interest and assistance with this process!

Cassie Johnson, P.E.

Environmental Engineer

World Cup Stadium Food and Sustainability

Photo CroppedWritten by GS Summer Intern Sundara Bhandaram

Luis Suarez, the Uruguayan soccer player, has taken a few bites out of his rivals….[meanwhile]…. soccer fans in Brazil have been taking more acceptable bites out of tambaqui con fritas, or fish and chips. Over nine million fans at the twelve different stadiums have had the chance to try local Brazilian foods, as well as international favorites. As you can imagine, daily food consumption is tremendous.

And with great food consumption comes great responsibility. Food waste is a big problem at international sporting events. Most of the waste is kitchen waste, the result of over purchasing, or the lack of proper disposal bins. This is a big issue because the decomposition of food in a landfill produces methane [PDF] which is a greenhouse gas twenty one times stronger than carbon dioxide.

Sustainability GOOAAAAlDuring the 2010 FIFA event in South Africa the games attempted to reduce their environmental impact. All of the events were hosted in zero-emission green buildings to lower carbon emissions. Metro transportation was established to reduce congestion and promote a more eco-friendly transportation system.

There were also recyclable waste bins which collected over 200 tons of waste. However the problem with the waste collected was that the waste management companies were overwhelmed by the quantity generated and dumped food waste into landfills. Overall the South Africa FIFA games made an effort towards sustainability but did not meet their potential in this specific sustainability category. (more…)

We’re in THE NEWS.

BeachHappy July Green Seal Community!

Below are news articles from June that feature or mention Green Seal. As you can see, we’re referenced in so many different contexts: sustainable food services, tire research, virtual internship programs, and health care. Over the last twenty-five years we’ve elbowed our way into quite a large number of industries, and we’ll continue to keep up the good work.

How can my office be greener?

Headshot Dec 2013By Ben Walsh, Green Seal Project Coordinator

Have you ever wondered whether you could recycle that yogurt cup or pizza box?

Have you ever noticed a colleague throwing soda cans into the trash day after day?

Maybe you’ve wondered if the computers in the office were the most energy efficient. As a former office manager, I often asked those questions and maintained this curiosity when I came to Green Seal. What are the best ways I can make my office and our operations more sustainable?

Whether you own your office space or lease it, as an office manager you make operational and purchasing choices every day that can significantly reduce the footprint of your office and provide a cleaner, healthier environment for your staff. That’s where the Green Seal™ Green Office Partnership Program comes in. We are proud to announce the launch of this brand new pilot program.


Summer Interns Dive Into Sustainability Research

GS InternsEach term – Fall, Winter, and Summer, Green Seal welcomes undergraduates, graduate students, young, and transitioning professionals to help us pursue our mission of….GREENING THE MARKETPLACE. We recruit interns to join us in our three offices (Washington, DC, Madison, Wisconsin, and Lexington, North Carolina), and, thanks to modern technology, we are also able to welcome several “Virtual Interns” to work independently from their locations. This summer, we are thrilled to welcome this talented team:

Green Seal’s Summer 2014 Interns

Virtual Interns: Molly, Kate, Celina, and Keri.

Washington, DC Interns: Mac, Ruben, Talia, Lauren, and Sundara.

Madison Intern: Allison.

Check out our Green Seal Interns web page to read about these driven sustainability wonks-in-training.

Our interns are tasked with assignments regarding marketing research, technical/sustainability research, client outreach support, blog post development, social media support, copy editing, video development, and much more.