The Age of Plastics: A Chemical Introduction

LN Headshot2By Lisa Nash, Green Seal Administrative Assistant




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. – The Graduate (1967)

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…)

A day in the life of your trash

ImageBy Summer 2013 Intern Jen Crino

A week ago, I was finally able to convince my parents to start composting.

To my surprise, my whole family was incredibly enthusiastic to learn about the process. This sparked the question, though – where did all of these food scraps and organic matter go before we had started composting?

As a college student studying environmental processes, I was bothered that I could only give them a bare-bones description of landfills and the different procedures that occur there, so I decided to do some research. (more…)

An Intern’s Search for Knowledge – Reflective Coatings

Jake's HeadshotBy Jake Anderson, Green Seal Summer 2013 Intern

One day as I was reading up on Green Seal’s standard for paints and coatings (GS-11), it struck me that there is so much I don’t know about the paint industry. GS- 11 lays out environmental, health, and performance requirements that must be met by wall, anti-corrosive, and reflective coatings and floor paints that bear the Green Seal of certification. Surely, this all sounds good to me and other environmentally conscious consumers, but my first question is: What on earth is a reflective coating? 


Controversy Case Study: “BPA”


By Cassie Johnson, Green Seal Environmental Engineer II

During visits to my local grocery store and pharmacy, I find myself bombarded with chemical claims on the packaging of my favorite products.  “BPA-Free” claims have become increasingly common in recent years, especially on plastic water bottles.  What is BPA, what products might it be found in, and why are people concerned about it?  Here’s a quick overview. (more…)

Hold the VOCs, Please


By Mary Swanson, Green Seal’s Vice President of Certification

MaryEditors’ Note: This is the first in a series about how we look at chemicals and chemical products.

Like people, chemicals have character traits, including whether they are calm and easy going or volatile. Volatile people are more likely to fly off the handle; volatile chemicals are more likely to fly off into the air. (more…)