Green Chemistry

In the chemical industry, green chemistry represents a major paradigm shift that focuses on environmental protection at the design stage of product and manufacturing processes. It is an innovative way to deal with chemicals before they become hazards, with the goal of making chemicals and products “benign by design.” In the academic world, green chemistry means focusing on reducing, recycling, or reducing the use of toxic chemicals in our programs and by finding creative ways to minimize the human and environmental impact without stifling scientific progress.

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Montclair State University are dedicated to the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry:

  1. Prevent waste rather than treating it or cleaning it up.
  2. Incorporate all materials used in the manufacturing process in the final product.
  3. Use synthetic methods that generate substances with little or no toxicity to people or the environment.
  4. Design chemical products to be effective, but reduce toxicity.
  5. Phase-out solvents and auxiliary substances when possible.
  6. Use energy efficient processes, at ambient temperature and pressure, to reduce costs and environmental impacts.
  7. Use renewable raw materials for feedstocks.
  8. Reuse chemical intermediates and blocking agents to reduce or eliminate waste.
  9. Select catalysts that carry out a single reaction many times instead of less efficient reagents.
  10. Use chemicals that readily break down into innocuous substances in the environment.
  11. Develop better analytical techniques for real-time monitoring to reduce hazardous substances.
  12. Use chemicals with low risk for accidents, explosions and fires.

Paul T. Anastas and John C. Warner, Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice (New York, NY: Oxford University Press Inc., 1998)

Green chemistry represents a philosophy of chemistry as opposed to a sub-discipline of chemistry like organic or physical chemistry. The Department has introduced green chemistry in our teaching laboratories and our faculty subscribe to the principles of green chemistry in their research. We have introduced the philosophy into our curriculum and have taught Green Chemistry as a specific course, CHEM330.