Science Pub Eugene: Life Cycle Assessments

OCT 11, 2018 | 6:30-8:30PM

Life Cycle Assessments:  Evaluating the Environmental Impacts and Comparing the Sustainability of the Products We Use Every Day

With David Tyler, PhD, Charles J. and M. Monteith Jacobs Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oregon

October 11, 2018 | 6:30-8:30PM; Doors open @ 5PM | $5 Suggested Donation

As a consumer have you ever wished there was a reliable guide to choosing the most environmentally sustainable product?  Or, maybe you are confused by all the contradictory information about the most sustainable way to carry out a task.  Fortunately, reliable information about environmental impacts is becoming available in the form of life cycle assessments (LCAs).  This talk will introduce the concept of life cycle assessments and then give examples of LCAs relevant to everyday life.  What will make this talk fun is that the results of LCAs are frequently counterintuitive and therefore thought-provoking.  For example, LCAs sometimes tell us that government or corporate decisions to ban certain items actually end up doing more harm than good. Both fun and serious examples of recent LCAs will be presented with an emphasis on the products we use every day and the tasks that we carry out every day. The counterintuitive LCA results are guaranteed to provoke discussion and anxiety, especially among those wanting to make choices that are best for the environment.


David Tyler is a professor in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department 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. His current research interests are in degradable plastics, the development of greener catalysts, and photochemistry. In collaboration with his colleagues, he has developed a popular course for non-science majors on the chemistry of sustainability. 


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