Green chemistry, also called eco-friendly chemistry, is a branch of chemistry. This is geared towards developing synthetic methods or procedures which cause the least possible damage to the environment. It has been developed from a growing concern over pollution and environmental damage caused by chemical manufacturing industries and associated laboratory procedures.
This branch of chemical research has not only found success in controlling pollution but also directing it away from natural habitats such as water sources and soil. This can be achieved with sustainable processes for feed stocks production, indirect waste treatment, or biorefinery approaches that integrate energy production, materials recycling and air purification in one plant.
What are some benefits?
Green Chemist labs often have less need for safety equipment because they have redesigned the process to be more efficient and require fewer steps than traditional methods. For example, the amount of hazardous waste produced in the laboratory is reduced. The process of handing out hazardous chemicals is also streamlined and safer for the environment since labs do not use sodium hydroxide and sulfuric acid.
Green chemistry research is also beneficial to pharmaceutical companies because it can help increase drug production by offering shorter production time and less health risks involved with the manufacturing process.
Green chemists often have better methods for experimenting as well. With new chemical reactions being tested, it can be easier to hone in on target reactions if there are fewer side reactions.
How does green chemistry work?
The most important goal of this branch of chemistry is to remove or limit the use of hazardous substances in the production cycle. Substances that are part of this process may include heavy metals, carcinogenic substances, and other corrosive materials.
Chemists who work with green chemistry use new catalysts that help speed up reactions while also introducing less side-reaction. With newer types of laboratories and machinery invented for green chemists, it can be easier to find causes when there are problems.
What are some issues?
Practitioners of green chemistry must put away their natural ability to recognize hazards when working with new techniques or materials. They must develop a new set of skills because they are designing these processes to minimize or eliminate the use of hazardous chemicals. Green chemists must also be sure they do not introduce dangerous pollutants to the environment.
A few issues with green chemistry today include cheap but harmful chemical making agents being used in laboratories and hospitals. There are also several laboratory techniques that are used that have not been fully tested by the Environmental Protection Agency.