Understanding the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry

Green chemistry is a method of chemistry devoted to the principles of securing eco friendly, green alternative chemical concoctions that can be used in place of the hazardous, toxic chemicals still used by industrial businesses that harm both people and the environment. Speaking of principles, there are twelve principles involved in green chemistry that speak to the improvement of knowledge for those involved with industrial companies, who might come to realize the chemicals their company has in operation is hazardous, and therefore should transition to green alternative chemical solutions, which derive from the ideals of green chemistry. The following will list the twelve principles, and provide insight into what each principle means.

  1. Prevention: Always try to prevent waste instead of relying on methods of waste cleanup. Prevention is always the best choice, every time.
  2. Atom Economy: This involves the idea that synthetic methods can be designed to help optimize the incorporation of all components in use, so that there is no waste when the final industrial product is being formed.
  3. Less Hazardous Chemical Synthesis: Synthetic methods for waste prevention should always generate substances that produce little to no toxins that could potentially harm people and / or the environment.
  4. Designing Safer Chemicals: Chemicals should be developed with maximum efficiency and for optimal safety, ensuring minimization and elimination of toxins.
  5. Safer Solvents and Auxiliaries: All auxiliary and supplemental substances should be reduced as close to zero as possible, and if used, should be close to one hundred percent innocuous as possible.
  6. Design for Energy Efficiency: chemicals with energy requirements are considered dangerous, and therefore should not be relied on, and should be eradicated by any means possible.
  7. Use of Renewable Feed stocks: Raw materials, also called ‘feed stocks,’ should not be designed to deplete, and should be labeled renewable whenever possible.
  8. Reduce Derivatives: The use of derivative substances and components should be minimized, or all together avoided because it requires additional steps, consequently leading to more waste.
  9. Catalysis: Catalytic reagents are superior to stoichiometric reagents.
  10. Design for Degradation: All chemical products should be developed with materials that can easily break down and dissolve, or safely erode, once its lifecycle ends, with no negative environmental affect.
  11. Real Time Analysis for Pollution Prevention: Analytics and methodologies need to be maximized and enhanced to allow for current, up to date, even real time monitoring, which allows for immediate control and regulation, subsequently leading to the prevention of hazardous substance formation.

Inherently Safer Chemistry or accident Prevention: All substances that could be chosen for a chemical process should have an element, or high degree of chemical accident prevention specifically designed within its makeup.