The Principles of Green Chemistry (see Anastas and Warner, Green Chemistry Theory and Practice, Oxford University Press, 1998) were created from a diverse set of practices and research that focused on reducing hazards and impacts at the design and process level when practicing chemical research and development. The set of principles encompass a holistic approach to thinking about how chemists approach their work. Each of the principles are not meant to be used in isolation – but, rather the collection of principles together guide chemists towards best practices in reducing hazards and impacts of their trade. The twelve principles are listed below.
1 Prevent Waste
It is better to prevent waste than to treat or clean up waste after it is formed.
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 Synthesis
Wherever practicable, synthetic methodologies should be designed to use and generate substances that possess little or no toxicity to human health and the environment.
4 Safer Chemicals
Chemical products should be designed to preserve efficacy of function while reducing 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 Energy Efficiency
Energy requirements should be recognized for their environmental and economic impacts and should be minimized. Synthetic methods should be conducted at ambient temperature and pressure.
7 Renewable Feedstocks
A raw material of feedstock should be renewable rather than depleting wherever technically and economically practicable.
8 Reduce Derivatives
Unnecessary derivatization (blocking group, protection/deprotection, and temporary modification of physical/chemical processes) should be avoided whenever possible.
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 do not persist in the environment and break down into innocuous degradation products.
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 so as to minimize the potential for chemical accidents, including releases, explosions, and fires.