Green Chemistry: What it’s All About!

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What’s all this hype about Green Chemistry? Read below:

What is it?

Green chemistry is the design, development, and implementation of chemical products and processes to reduce or eliminate the use and generation of substances hazardous to human health and the environment.

What are the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry?*

1. Prevention
It is better to prevent waste than to treat or clean up waste after it has been created.
2. Atom Economy
Synthetic methods should be designed to maximize the incorporation of all materials used in the process into the final product.
3. Less Hazardous Chemical Syntheses
Wherever practicable, synthetic methods should be designed to use and generate substances that possess little or no toxicity to human health and the environment.
4. Designing Safer Chemicals
Chemical products should be designed to effect their desired function while minimizing their toxicity.
5. Safer Solvents and Auxiliaries
The use of auxiliary substances (e.g., solvents, separation agents, etc.) should be made unnecessary wherever possible and innocuous when used.
6. Design for Energy Efficiency
Energy requirements of chemical processes should be recognized for their environmental and economic impacts and should be minimized. If possible, synthetic methods should be conducted at ambient temperature and pressure.
7. Use of Renewable Feedstocks
A raw material or feedstock should be renewable rather than depleting whenever technically and economically practicable.
8. Reduce Derivatives
Unnecessary derivatization (use of blocking groups, protection/ deprotection, temporary modification of physical/chemical processes) should be minimized or avoided if possible, because such steps require additional reagents and can generate waste.
9. Catalysis
Catalytic reagents (as selective as possible) are superior to stoichiometric reagents.
10. Design for Degradation
Chemical products should be designed so that at the end of their function they break down into innocuous degradation products and do not persist in the environment.
11. Real-time analysis for Pollution Prevention
Analytical methodologies need to be further developed to allow for real-time, in-process monitoring and control prior to the formation of hazardous substances.
12. Inherently Safer Chemistry for Accident Prevention
Substances and the form of a substance used in a chemical process should be chosen to minimize the potential for chemical accidents, including releases, explosions, and fires.

So, what can you do?

Spread awareness and volunteer! For ideas, visit the ACS Green Chemistry Institute

The above information was taken from the ACS Green Chemistry Institute.

*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.

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