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Twelve Principles of Green Chemistry*

In 1998, Paul Anastas and John Warner gave definition to the term green chemistry: “Green Chemistry is the utilization of a set of principles that reduces or eliminates the use or generation of hazardous substances in the design, manufacture and applications of chemical products." See Dr. Anastas explain the twelve principles in this short video (8 min.)

Green chemistry applies the following principles.

1. Prevent waste: Design chemical syntheses to prevent waste, leaving no waste to treat or clean up.  View a video on Vimeo.
2. Maximize atom economy: Design synthetic methods to maximize the incorporation of all materials used in the process into the final product.  View a video on Vimeo.
3. Design less hazardous chemical syntheses: Design syntheses to use and generate substances with little or no toxicity to humans and the environment.  View a video on Vimeo.
4. Design safer chemicals and products: Design chemical products to be fully effective, yet have little or no toxicity.  View a video on Vimeo.
5. Use safer solvents and auxiliaries: Avoid using solvents, separation agents, or other auxiliary chemicals. If these chemicals are necessary, use innocuous chemicals.  View a video on Vimeo.
6. Increase energy efficiency: Run chemical reactions at ambient temperature and pressure whenever possible.   View a video on Vimeo.
7. Use renewable feedstocks: Use raw materials and feedstocks that are renewable rather than depleting. Renewable feedstocks are often made from agricultural products or are the wastes of other processes; depleting feedstocks are made from fossil fuels (petroleum, natural gas, or coal) or are mined.  View a video on Vimeo.
8. Avoid chemical derivatives: Avoid using blocking or protecting groups or any temporary modifications if possible. Derivatives use additional reagents and generate waste. View a video on Vimeo.
9. Use catalysts, not stoichiometric reagents: Minimize waste by using catalytic reactions. Catalysts are used in small amounts and can carry out a single reaction many times. They are preferable to stoichiometric reagents, which are used in excess and work only once. View a video on Vimeo.
10. Design chemicals and products to degrade after use: Design chemical products to break down to innocuous substances after use so that they do not accumulate in the environment. View a video on Vimeo.
11. Analyze in real time to prevent pollution: Include in-process real-time monitoring and control during syntheses to minimize or eliminate the formation of by-products. View a video on Vimeo.
12. Minimize the potential for accidents: Design chemicals and their forms (solid, liquid, or gas) to minimize the potential for chemical accidents including explosions, fires, and releases to the environment. View a video on Vimeo.

*Paul Anastas and John Warner, 1998. Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice, Oxford University Press: New York. Used with permission from the author.