Green chemistry is the design of chemical products and processes that reduce the generation of hazardous substances. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has attempted to speed up the implementation of this revolutionary and diverse discipline. Green chemistry has led to a strengthened economy, significant environmental benefits, and innovation.
- prevents pollution at the molecular level
- is a philosophy that relates to all areas of chemistry
- results in source reduction because it prevents pollution
- applies advanced scientific solutions to real-world environmental issues
- designs chemical products and processes to reduce their intrinsic hazards
- declines and sometimes removes hazard from existing products and processes
- decreases the harmful impacts of chemical products and processes on human health and the environment
- aims to design and produce cost-competitive chemical products and processes that reach the greatest level of pollution-prevention hierarchy by reducing pollution at its source
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the hierarchy looks like this-
1.Source Reduction and Prevention of Chemical Hazards-
- Designing chemical products to be less hazardous to human health and the environment*
- Making chemical products from feedstocks, reagents, and solvents that are less hazardous to human health and the environment*
- Designing syntheses and other processes with reduced or even no chemical waste
- Designing syntheses and other processes that use less energy or less water
- Using feedstocks derived from annually renewable resources or from abundant waste
- Designing chemical products for reuse or recycling
- Reusing or recycling chemicals
2.Treating chemicals to render them less hazardous before disposal
3.Disposal of untreated chemicals safely and only if other options are not feasible
Differences from cleaning pollution-
- Green chemistry reduces pollution at its source by minimizing or eliminating the hazards of chemical feed stocks, solvents, reagents, and products. Therefore, it keeps hazardous materials out of the environment in the first place.
- Cleaning up pollution includes treating waste streams or cleanup of environmental spills and other releases. The clean up of pollution includes separating hazardous chemicals from other materials, then treating them so they are no longer hazardous. Most pollution clean-up activities do not involve green chemistry, they remove hazardous materials from the environment; on the other hand.
- If a certain technology reduces or eliminates hazardous chemicals that are used to clean up environmental contaminants, then this technology would be considered a green chemistry technology.
*Chemicals that are less dangerous to human’s health and the environment are:
- Less toxic to organisms
- Less harmful to ecosystems
- Not persistent or bioaccumulative in organisms or the environment
- Naturally safer to handle and utilize because they are not flammable or explosive
For more information, click here.