Green chemistry is the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use and generation of hazardous substances. According to experts Paul Anastas and John Warner, the 12 principles of green chemistry are as follows:

1. Prevention
It is better to prevent waste than to treat or clean up waste after it has been created.

2. Atom Economy
Synthetic methods should be designed to maximize the incorporation of all materials used in the process into the final product.

3. Less Hazardous Chemical Syntheses
Wherever practicable, synthetic methods should be designed to use and generate substances that possess little or no toxicity to human health and the environment.

4. Designing Safer Chemicals
Chemical products should be designed to effect their desired function while minimizing their toxicity.

5. Safer Solvents and Auxiliaries

The use of auxiliary substances (e.g., solvents, separation agents, etc.) should be made unnecessary wherever possible and innocuous when used.

6. Design for Energy Efficiency

Energy requirements of chemical processes should be recognized for their environmental and economic impacts and should be minimized. If possible, synthetic methods should be conducted at ambient temperature and pressure.

7. Use of Renewable Feedstocks
A raw material or feedstock should be renewable rather than depleting whenever technically and economically practicable.

8. Reduce Derivatives
Unnecessary derivatization (use of blocking groups, protection/ deprotection, temporary modification of physical/chemical processes) should be minimized or avoided if possible, because such steps require additional reagents and can generate waste.

9. Catalysis

Catalytic reagents (as selective as possible) are superior to stoichiometric reagents.

10. Design for Degradation

Chemical products should be designed so that at the end of their function they break down into innocuous degradation products and do not persist in the environment.

11. Real-time analysis for Pollution Prevention
Analytical methodologies need to be further developed to allow for real-time, in-process monitoring and control prior to the formation of hazardous substances.

12. Inherently Safer Chemistry for Accident Prevention
Substances and the form of a substance used in a chemical process should be chosen to minimize the potential for chemical accidents, including releases, explosions, and fires.

Excerpt from: Anastas, Paul T. and John C. Warner. Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice. Oxford University Press: April 2000.


Center for Green Chemistry, U. Mass Lowell
ACS Green Chemistry Institute
EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards
Green Chemistry Network, Royal Society of Chemistry (UK)

Selected Articles
Green (safer) Chemistry – Governors Directive
Ecology Center
Michigan public health and environmental leaders applauded a precedent-setting initiative signed by Governor Granholm that will make the state a national leader in the fast-growing field of green chemistry. Granholm's Green Chemistry Executive Directive promotes safe technologies and innovations aimed at lowering health risks and preventing harmful chemical pollution at the source. The Executive Directive will help the s tate devise strategies to promote green chemistry and engineering education, development, and the production of bio-materials, chemicals, and catalysts that reduce or eliminate the use or generation of hazardous substances.

Dr. Paul Anastas, Green Chemistry advocate wins $250,000 Heinz Award
Dr. Paul Anastas, chemist and founder and director of the Green Chemistry Institute, was one of six recipients of the 12th Annual Heinz Awards. Known as the “father of green chemistry”, Dr. Paul Anastas has helped advance pollution prevention through cleaner, cheaper and smarter chemistry. In order to help build momentum for his vision, Dr. Anastas convinced the Clinton Administration in 1996 to sponsor the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award, which has since become the only presidential-level award in the chemical sciences. It has inspired hundreds of companies to embrace his “Twelve Principles of Green Chemistry,” outlined in his book (co-authored with Dr. John Warner), Green Chemistry, Theory and Practice.

Study Asks if Green Chemistry Drives Profits … or Just Good PR
Initially motivated by government regulations and public relations concerns, more companies are now turning to "green" chemistry as a way to increase the bottom line. A newly proposed market study from Kline & Company will seek to quantify this development in the chemicals industry. “The obvious benefits of green chemistry are good PR and the avoidance of fines for pollution offenses, but there's little industry data to indicate really to what extent companies are benefiting financially," says Mitch Halpern, director in Kline's Chemicals and Materials consulting practice. Kline’s study will examine chemical processes, end products, and conservation of carbon in determining how green chemistry practices will affect the bottom line.

The Green Chemistry Mandate
Joel Makower, Clean Edge, Inc.
The search for greener chemicals has, in just a few short years, moved from a mission to a mandate. Spawned by a confluence of regulations, litigation, competitive pressures, and corporate missions, the world of "green chemistry" seems to be going mainstream. And -- as with alternative energy and other clean technologies -- the United States is falling behind its European and Asian brethren, which are more aggressively pushing green chemistry agendas.

Unintended Consequences
John Warner, Professor, Plastics Engineering and Community Health and Sustainability Director, Center for Green Chemistry, University of Massachusetts Lowell
In this article, John Warner explores the question “Why do we have toxic materials in our society?” The answer lies in what Warner refers to as a “knowledge gap.” While manufacturing companies try to limit their workers’ exposure to hazardous materials, they do not always have nontoxic alternatives at their disposal. Chemists do not currently know how to create non-toxic substitutes to replace existing toxics. The evolving field of green chemistry seeks to fill this gap.

California “Green Chemistry” Report
A University of California research team assembled by the State Legislature has recommended the State adopt a “modern, comprehensive chemicals policy” as a key strategy to place California on the path to sustainability. Two Senate and Assembly committees commissioned the report to obtain advice on what role California should play in regulating toxic compounds. The report is the first in the nation to establish a state framework for a move toward "green chemistry.”

U.S. Legislation
Michigan Green Chemistry Directive
Executive Directive No. 2006-6: Promotion of Green Chemistry for Sustainable Economic Development and Protection of Public Health
Bill signed: October 17, 2006
Bill sponsor: Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm (MI)
Full text of bill

H.R. 1215 [109th]: Green Chemistry Research and Development Act of 2005
To provide for the implementation of a Green Chemistry Research and Development Program, and for other purposes.
Bill introduced: March 10, 2006
Bill sponsor: Rep. John Gingrey (R-GA)
Bill status: Passed House. This bill was proposed in a previous session of Congress. Sessions
of Congress last two years, and at the end of each session all proposed bills and resolutions that haven't passed are cleared from the books. This bill never became law.
Full text of bill

S. 1270 [109th]: Green Chemistry Research and Development Act of 2005
A bill to provide for the implementation of a Green Chemistry Research and Development Program, and for other purposes.
Bill introduced: June 20, 2005
Bill sponsor: Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME)
Bill status: Introduced. This bill was proposed in a previous session of Congress. Sessions of Congress last two years, and at the end of each session all proposed bills and resolutions that haven't passed are cleared from the books. This bill never became law.
Full text of bill