Green Chemistry

Green Chemistry Definition

Continuous degradation of the environment and pollution is the leading cause of green chemistry. In simple terms, green chemistry (or also known as sustainable chemistry) can be defined as an area of chemistry focused on designing products and processes that eliminate or minimize the use and generation of hazardous substances. It provides a unique forum for the development of alternative green and sustainable technologies. 

Since there is an increase in the use of fertilizers and pesticides to become self- sufficient in terms of food generation. The over-exploitation of soil and the use of excessive pesticides and fertilizers have deteriorated soil, air, and water quality. We can look for methods which will help reduce pollution Since we can't stop the methods of development necessary for our subsistence. Hence, the concept of green chemistry comes in the picture. 

What do you Mean by Green Chemistry?

Green chemistry is the process of thinking and utilizing the existing skill and knowledge to reduce the harmful effects of pollution on the environment. During any production process, by-products are generated, which are mainly harmful, and if not appropriately utilized, they cause environmental pollution. To make the environment clean and pure green chemistry is playing a vital role. The utilization of knowledge to decrease chemical hazards with development activities is the foundation of green chemistry or sustainable chemistry.  

Green Chemistry is an Alternative Tool for Reducing Pollution: Twelve Principles of Green Chemistry-

This is true that green chemistry is an alternative tool for reducing pollution. Following principles justify the same:

1. Prevention: Preventing waste is better than cleaning up debris. It helps inefficient use of resources and prevents waste.

2. Atom Economy: Innovation of synthetic methods to maximize the incorporation of all materials used in the process into the final product. It will result in less generation of wastes.

3. Less Hazardous Chemical Syntheses: Synthetic techniques should avoid using or producing toxic substances to human health or the environment. 

4. Designing Safer Chemicals: Chemical products should be made to achieve their desired function while being as non- toxic as possible. Minimizing toxicity, while simultaneously maintaining function and efficacy, maybe one of the most challenging things in designing safer products and processes.  Achieving this goal requires an understanding of not only chemistry but also the principles of toxicology and environmental science. 

Chemists often used these highly reactive chemicals to manufacture products. Therefore, complete knowledge with excellent skills is required to design safer chemicals.

5. Safer Solvents and Auxiliaries: Auxiliary substances should be avoided wherever possible, and as non-hazardous as possible when they must be used.

6. Design for Energy Efficiency: Energy requirements should be recognized according to their environmental and economic impacts, and efforts should be made to minimize them. 

Energy processes should be conducted at ambient pressure and temperature whenever possible.

7. Use of Renewable Feedstocks: Renewable feedstocks or raw material should always be preferred to non- renewable whenever technically and economically practicable. 

 Making all our future fuels, chemicals, and materials from renewable feedstocks or that never deplete is a critical concept to focus on. 

8. Reduce Derivatives: One of the vital principles of green chemistry is to reduce the use of derivatives and protect the groups in the synthesis of target production. Unnecessary use of derivatives such as using protecting groups should be avoided if possible; such steps require additional reagents and may produce extra waste. 

9. Catalysis: As compared to the stoichiometric reagents, Catalytic reagents (as selective as possible) are superior to them. It can be used in smaller quantities to repeat a reaction that is superior to stoichiometric reagents.

10. Design for Degradation: Chemical products should be designed so that it does not have any harmful impact on the environment. Chemical products should be broken into non- toxic products. Green Chemistry practitioners try to optimize the commercial function of a chemical while minimizing its risk. 

11. Real-time Analysis for Pollution Prevention: Further development of analytical methodologies must be made to allow for real-time, in-process monitoring, and control before 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 carefully chosen to minimize the potential for chemical accidents, including releases, explosions, and fires.

Green chemistry is promoting a healthy and green environment for human society and making the citizens responsible that we all should follow this. A world free from pollution will improve the living conditions and increase the age of life on this planet. 

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. What are the Uses of Green Chemistry?

Uses of Green Chemistry- 

Green Chemistry many applications are our day to day life. Following are the uses of green Chemistry-

  • It is used in the process of coating, consumer products, pharmaceuticals, preservatives, etc.

  • Dry cleaning of clothes- In the early years, we used tetrachloroethylene as a solvent for dry cleaning. This compound is carcinogenic and also pollutes the groundwater. Nowadays, liquefied carbon dioxide with suitable detergent is used for this purpose of dry cleaning. It generates liquid carbon dioxide as a by-product, which is less hazardous and hence causes less pollution.

  • Bleaching of paper-  Chlorine gas was used initially for this purpose, but now it has been replaced by hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is used along with a suitable catalyst that promotes its bleaching action. 

  • It is also used in electronics and in many other electrical devices.

Q2. What is the Main Aim of Green Chemistry?

The history of green chemistry clearly depicts its aim to society. India has developed various eco-friendly techniques of irritation, farming, and obtaining edible quality seeds, etc. Since there is an increase in the use of pesticides and fertilizers to become self-sufficient in terms of food generation. 

The main goals of green chemistry are to inherently safer design of molecules and materials,  reduce the waste generated from the production process, eliminate the hazardous products to impact the environment, minimize the dangerous materials used in various methods, which leads to environmental exploitation and optimum utilization of resources.