Science Café - "Comparing the Environmental Impact of Common Household Items"

Tue, 03/14/2017 - 7:00pm - 8:15pm

Comparing the Environmental Impact of Common Household Items
What Life Cycle Assessments Tell Us About the Sustainability of the Products We Use Every Day

Dr. David Tyler, Charles J. and M. Monteith Jacobs Professor of Chemistry, University of Oregon

7:00 PM, Tuesday, March 14th, 2017
Room 110, Harned Hall, Saint Martin’s University

Every day we are confronted with choices that impact our environment:  Local or shipped produce?  Incandescent bulb, compact fluorescent light, or LED?  Paper, plastic, or reusable tote bag?  Disposable plastic cup or reusable ceramic mug?  Biodiesel, gasohol, or gasoline?  Recycling or incineration?  Paper towels or warm-air hand dryer?  How do we really know what’s best for the environment?   Learn more about how we use life cycle assessments to evaluate the environmental impacts of common household items and the ordinary activities we carry out daily.  Warning: your intuition about environmental impacts is not always right!

David R. Tyler is part of the pioneering green chemistry group at the University of Oregon.  He received Bachelor of Science degrees in chemistry and mathematics from Purdue University and a Ph.D. degree from the California Institute of Technology.  He has been at the University of Oregon since 1985. 

Tyler’s current research interests are in photochemically degradable plastics, the development of greener catalysts, and photochemistry.  He has absolutely no interest in administration, having served as department head from 1995-1998.  Tyler is the author of over 240 research publications, and he has patents on a type of photodegradable plastic and on a method for removing sulfur from diesel fuel.  In collaboration with his colleagues, he has developed a popular course for non-science majors on the chemistry of sustainability.  

Science Cafe of Olympia meets each month on the second Tuesday.  It provides an informal atmosphere where people with and without scientific background can meet to deepen their understanding on interesting topics in science and technology.  After a presentation by an expert in the field, the meetings are opened for discussion.  Science Cafes are found nationwide and are loosely affiliated with the U.K.- based Cafe Scientifique, an international organization promoting public engagement with science.

Driving directions to Saint Martin’s: Coming from the north: From Interstate 5 southbound, take exit 109 Martin Way. Turn right off the exit onto Martin Way. At the first traffic light, turn left onto College Street*. Turn left onto Abbey Way/6th Avenue SE, and then then turn right on Baran Drive. Drive through the woods, past the dorms and Recreation Center, then turn left into lot “M”.

Coming from the south: From Interstate 5 northbound, take exit 108 Sleater Kinney Road/College Street. After exiting, stay to the left toward College Street. Continue on 3rd Avenue SE. Turn right onto College Street*. Turn left at the next traffic light onto Abbey Way, then turn right on Baran Drive. Drive through the woods, past the dorms and Recreation Center, then turn left into lot “M”.