Green chemistry (also called sustainable chemistry) is a type of chemical research and engineering. It supports the design of products and processes that use as little dangerous substances as they can. Environmental chemistry is the chemistry of the natural environment and of pollutant chemicals in nature. But green chemistry wants to reduce and prevent pollution at its source. In 1990, the Pollution Prevention Act was passed in the United States. This law sought original and new ways to handle pollution. It aims to avoid problems before they happen.
Green chemistry applies organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, biochemistry, analytical chemistry and even physical chemistry. While green chemistry seems to focus on just industrial applications, it does apply to any chemistry choice. Click chemistry is often said to be a style of chemical synthesis that has the same aim as green chemistry. Green chemists reduce the hazards and increase the efficiency of any chemical choice. It is distinct from environmental chemistry which focuses on chemical phenomena in the environment.
The 12 principles of green chemistry
1. Prevent waste
Create products without or with minimal wastes so that the wastes do not need to be taken care of afterwards.
2. Design safer chemicals and products
Design chemicals to have little or no toxicity, without affecting effectiveness.
3. Design less hazardous chemical syntheses
4. Use renewable raw materials
Use renewable raw materials, like plant materials, other than depleting ones, such as Fossil fuels.
5. Use catalysts, not stiochiometric reagents
6. Avoid chemical derivatives
Chemical derivatives generate wastes that can be avoided.
7. Maximize atom economy
Make sure that a greater percentage of the atoms present in the reactants of a chemical reaction are used in the products that are also usable.
8. Use safer solvents and reaction conditions
Avoid using harsh solvents, but if that cannot be avoided, then use benign chemicals.
9. Increase energy efficiency
10. Design for degradation
Design materials to breakdown into benign substances by bacterial or other environmentally sound ways.
11. Analyse in real time to prevent pollution
Monitor and control the formation of by-products during a reaction.
12. Minimize the potential for accidents
Design chemicals to minimize the potential for accidents.
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