Skip to content

Year of Science Question of the Month: What is Green Chemistry?

2009 November 4

For each month in 2009, the Year of Science — we pose a question related to science. Please let us know your thoughts as comments, and feel free to respond to earlier comments, or post new ideas.

The Year of Science theme for November is Chemistry. Green chemistry—also known as sustainable chemistry—is the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use or generation of hazardous substances. It applies across the life cycle, including the design, manufacture, and use of a chemical product.

If you could be a green chemist, what would be the first product you would want to invent or develop?

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

9 Responses leave one →
  1. Uva_Be permalink
    November 4, 2009

    Safe plant based wax to replace oil / paraffin on milk and juice cartons, with the ultimate goal to have cardboard & wax cartons to replace all plastic tubs, plastic bags, coffee cups and many plastic bottles.

    Plant based wax + the renewable resource cartons & tubes could prevent a lot of oil production products from ever being made. We shouldn’t be using oil to make garbage & paraffin at this point of the oil age.

    go green chemistry !

  2. armansyahardanis permalink
    November 4, 2009

    We must agree, in the developing countries these problems are not considered. Look in their lifestyle that always used many elements of chemical for their activities. Example, they always used many plastics for food materials, and there are that element chemical for mixed some food, tools and cosmetics.

    So, green chemistry are not heard in there yet. For them, not go green but go to hell !!!

  3. November 4, 2009

    Green chemistry is also knowledge of the compounds which are considered harmful or pollutants. The EPA is well aware of these and has regulations for amounts of harmful compounds that a company or city can emit before the levels become unsafe to human health or the environment. Chemistry professionals and chemical engineers are important contributors to reduce emissions of these compounds and to help enforce the EPA regulations for compound emissions. Here is an example of a list of harmful compounds: http://www.americanecotech.com/Libraries/Air_Toxics_Brochure_Library/Compounds_Analyzed_by_AirmOzone_System.sflb.ashx

  4. Nijel Puliccal permalink
    November 5, 2009

    As a Green Chemist , my first step will be to stop or drastically reduce the production of hazardous mosquito insectides and repellent for the following reasons :-

    From past experiences the world knows it is impossible to completely destroy the breeding sites of mosquitoes and therefore the mosquitoes themselves.
    So, if we want to protect ourselves from mosquito bites and the mosquito transmitted diseases, we have to adopt other means like the mosquito nets. To be completely effective the entire house must be covered with nets. The benefits are the following:-
    1. Cost effective. In comparison with individual window nets for all the rooms, one net hanging from the top covering all the open sides of the house will be cheaper as cost of frames for each window can be avoided.
    2. Mosquito proof. This will make the entire house mosquito proof as the open verandas will also be covered.
    3. Very effective in villages. Generally the houses in villages never keep the doors closed during the day time. The practice gives the mosquitoes a free passage into the houses until at night when the doors are closed before the inmates go to sleep. Although generally the mosquitoes start moving into the houses by the evening only, those which are already hiding inside the houses may bite the inmates any time during the day as most of the inmates will be resting while inside the houses. Therefore covering the entire house with mosquito nets will be very effective in the villages.
    Why don’t we try the nets in the villages throughout the world? Definitely it will save the lives of a lot of people and a lot of money under Medicare (1) by effectively preventing mosquito bites and thereby saving the people from mosquito transmitted diseases like Malaria, Yellow fever etc (2) by saving the environment from tons and tons of hazardous mosquito insect ides/repellents and (3) by protecting the world from the carbon footprints in connection with the production of such insecticide

    ( You may visit nijelpk.blogspot.com)

  5. Garimahoudhary97@yahoo.com permalink
    November 5, 2009

    My first step will definitely goes towards the discovery of any substance which can destroy the organic wastes in water & any chemical which can absorb harmful gases from atmosphere. This quite necessary because large oil spills in oceans & transfer of organic waste through rivers are destroying our natural flora & fauna, also it creates imbalance in food chain & reduces the oxygen content in water. Secondly, some chemical which can absorb gases like SO2, CO etc. from env. will help us to reduce the pollution created by some unwanted incidents like the burning of oil tanks in Jaipur (India) & some large forest fire. So, if anybody is green chemist please do some thing!

  6. Jackenson Durand permalink
    November 5, 2009

    In my concern, I perceive “Green Chemistry” as new human future life style on Earth.
    Chemists have been inventing incredible methods, trashes transformations on oil, as a recent example.
    In this same ideological order, if I should be a green chemist, I should take biofuels development as my area of expertise.

  7. EWG permalink
    November 5, 2009

    Hi! I noticed that you write about [families] going green and environmental health. So does the Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org). In fact, EWG just released a report this week about the toxic chemicals we found in school cleaners, including a bunch of downloadable tools to help parents and schools work together to green their cleaning. We have a 1-page tip sheet for safer home cleaning, too. Please feel free to spread the word – on Facebook, your blog, Twitter (we’re @enviroblog), however you like.

    The report is here: http://www.ewg.org/…
    Our blog about it for consumers is here: http://www.enviroblog.org/…

    Thanks!

    Lisa Frack, EWG

  8. Lisa permalink
    November 6, 2009

    I do not agree with your thoughts there. In the developing countries they are and have “developed” the concept and habits of chemical elements because of what the “developed” countrys are showing them. Working together that can all change! Going green will come more naturally to countrys that are not as developed!

  9. Michael E. Bailey permalink
    November 9, 2009

    I do think that one of the most important green chemistry objectives must be cleaning up our drinking water including ground water. There are water bodies in the Los Angeles area listed as seriously impaired by chemical pollution from factories and railroad operations near the water sources, While in Riverside County Methane from dairy cows finds its way into the Santa Ana River to provide pollution. And in another nearby area dumped rocket fuel is polluting ground water. So water cleanup would be a top priority. Best wishes, Michael E. Bailey.

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS