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Green Chemistry

green chemistry
Green chemistry enables design of safer products and processes

Green chemistry is a science-based approach that involves a set of principles for reducing or eliminating the use or generation of hazardous substances in the design, manufacture or application of chemical products. While the concept of green chemistry originates in principles designed to guide the synthesis of new molecular structures, it has evolved, largely through adoption by industry, to apply to processes and technologies.

The use of green chemistry at the industrial scale is a powerful approach toward creating a safer and more sustainable process and products. For a green technology to be adopted by industry it must:

  • be more environmentally benign than alternatives;
  • be more economically viable than alternatives; and
  • functionally outperform the alternatives

These considerations are also the fundamental elements of toxics use reduction planning as well as the process increasingly used by companies and governments worldwide, commonly referred to as alternatives assessment.

The Twelve Principles of Green Chemistry*

1.  Prevention (source reduction)
2.  Atom Economy (use all materials in product)
3.  Less Hazardous Chemical Syntheses
4.  Designing Safer Chemicals
5.  Safer Solvents and Auxiliaries
6.  Design for Energy Efficiency
7.  Use Renewable Feedstocks
8.  Reduce Derivatives
9.  Catalysis
10. Design for Degradation
11. Real-time analysis for Pollution Prevention
12. Inherently Safer Chemistry for Accident Prevention

*Anastas, P. T.; Warner, J. C. Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice, Oxford University Press: New York, 1998, p.30. By permission of Oxford University Press.