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What is green chemistry: definition, principles and examples

The green chemistry is synonymous with health and environmental sustainability. Basically, green or organic chemistry is aimed at finding new ways to synthesize chemicals to achieve chemistry that is more friendly to health and the environment. Its reason for being, the aim pursued with green chemistry, -also called sustainable or organic chemistry-, is to find alternatives to those proposed by traditional chemistry, which on so many occasions represents a danger to health and also to the environment. environment.

The simple fact of taking into account the possible impact that a new substance may have, whether at an environmental or human level, is a key difference from conventional chemistry. In this type of chemistry, from the very design and development phase of new substances, the potential impact represented by traditional formulas is taken into account to offer healthier and / or sustainable alternatives.

Next, in AgroCorrn we explain what green chemistry is, its definition, principles and examples .

You may also be interested in: What is biotechnology and what is it for?

Green Chemistry Environmental Compatibility

The alternatives seek to eliminate these harmful effects or, at least, minimize them, with which their contribution opens a window of hope, in this world of ours, colonized by chemistry as a polluting agent that also threatens the health of people from the most important places. everyday and at the same time unsuspected.

As Kenneth Doxsee, a researcher at the University of Oregon, in the United States, explains, organic chemistry helps prevent contamination thanks to scientific solutions that have endless applications.

By offering alternatives of greater environmental compatibility, compared to the products or processes currently available whose danger is greater and that are used by both the consumer and in industrial applications, green chemistry promotes the prevention of contamination at the molecular level.

The concept of green or sustainable chemistry reveals a much kinder side to chemistry, above all, thanks to its revolutionary approach, which helps to save resources and also to preserve them, to obtain benefits from it that allow us to lead a longer life. healthy in a healthier environment, -lower use of water and energy, reducing the environmental impact of chemicals once used and making production processes more sustainable- and, among other sectors, it can also transform the pharmaceutical industry.

Although there is still a long way to go, there is a growing commitment from scientists, investors and institutions to help its development. The Green Chemistry Institute stands out, whose objective is to promote the use of green chemistry in favor of a more sustainable world and also a protector of human health by using this new concept of organic chemistry.

The 12 principles of green chemistry

The principles of green or sustainable chemistry were formulated by Paul Anasta and John Warner in their book “Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice”, and are as follows:

  1. Avoiding waste will always be better than having to treat or dispose of it later.
  2. The finished product in the synthesis designs has to incorporate the maximum possible of materials used during the process.
  3. Minimizing toxicity in the design of synthetic methods should be a priority. Ideally it should not have any, and in practice it should always be minimized as much as possible.
  4. Preserving efficacy must be compatible with reducing or eliminating toxicity.
  5. Minimum use of auxiliary substances (solvents, adsorbents, etc.), always opting for the most innocuous.
  6. Apply processes at ambient pressure and temperature preferably to achieve energy efficiency.
  7. Renewable materials will always be a priority.
  8. Avoid bypasses where possible, such as blocking groups or, for example, check-in and check-out steps.
  9. Replace stoichiometric reagents with catalytic reagents whenever possible.
  10. Design products so that they are biodegradable.
  11. Monitor the process to prevent hazardous substances from being formed.
  12. Reduce the risk of accident also through the selection of processes and substances.

Examples of green or sustainable chemistry

These are some examples of sustainable or green chemistry that can clarify this concept and that today are already applied on a day-to-day basis in various manufacturing processes and in the final products themselves:

  • Green extinguishers – use biodegradable surfactants that serve to create extinguishing foams for fires.
  • Polyctic acid: it is another sustainable component used in green chemistry to design biodegradable materials of different types.
  • Products to reduce lead: biofuels, catalysts in automobiles and unleaded gasoline, etc.
  • Supercritical CO2: mixed with a humectant, it is perfect for removing grease from fabrics, used in dry cleaners as a substitute for perchlorethylene, which is harmful. If mixed with peracetic acid and water it is a good sustainable product to achieve the sterilization of materials at low temperatures.
Maria Anderson

Hello, I am a blogger specialized in environmental, health and scientific dissemination issues in general. The best way to define myself as a blogger is by reading my texts, so I encourage you to do so. Above all, if you are interested in staying up to date and reflecting on these issues, both on a practical and informative level.

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