Go Green with Green Chemistry

Author: Carole A. LeBlanc
Green Chemistry is the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use and generation of hazardous substances. It is also known as Sustainable Chemistry, whereas, environmental chemistry is the chemistry of the natural environment.
Importance of Green Chemistry
GC appears to be a common sense approach and yet, the U.S. EPA Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) reveals that we are still releasing tons of pollutants to air, land, and sea. But, we are only tracking approx. 650 of 80,000 chemicals!Almost all of our technological and policy efforts as a society have been focused on end-of-pipe solutions. Lots of money is spent here, including plant infrastructure and jobs.
12 Principles of Green Chemistry
The twelve principles of Green Chemistry are prevention, atom economy, less hazardous chemical syntheses, designing safer chemicals, safer solvents and auxiliaries, design for energy efficiency, reduce derivatives, catalysis, use of renewable feedstocks design for degradation, real-time analysis for pollution prevention, and inherently safer chemistry for accident prevention.
Observations on GC
GC cuts across many industries, pharmaceuticals, household products and industrial chemicals. GC involves diverse stakeholders and concerns.
Challenges for GC
Some simple one-to-one replacements haven’t gone ‘green’ enough. For example, some solvent substitutions may just be shifting risks. It’s no longer enough to minimize hazards through regulatory approach, so it is better to maximize the Green Chemistry through proactive approach.
GC Institutes
Green Chemistry Institute (GCI) is founded as an independent, non-profit organization (NGO). It promotes green chemistry through research, education, information dissemination, conferences, and symposia. It was established as a research, education, and development center in which a holistic approach to green or sustainable chemistry is being developed, focused on pollution reduction.
GC Conferences
GRC provide an international forum Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference (GC&E), for the presentation and discussion of frontier research in the biological, chemical, and physical sciences, and their related technologies of which, GC is one focal point.

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