12 Principles of Green Chemistry with Examples | PDF

The 12 principles of green chemistry with examples have been outlined and discussed in this blog post which you can use as a reference for essays, assignments, or projects.

Green Chemistry, also known as Sustainable Chemistry, is a concept established in 1990 by Paul Anastas and John Warner. The principles emerged to curb the issues that chemicals and chemical processes can sometimes cause. It is also an important way to reduce both the environmental impact and the potential negative health effects of chemicals and chemical synthesis.

Green chemistry is the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use or generation of hazardous substances. Its application stretches across the life cycle of a chemical product, including its design, manufacture, use, and ultimate disposal.

While environmental chemistry focuses on the effects of polluting chemicals on nature, green chemistry focuses on the environmental impact of chemistry, including reducing consumption of non-renewable resources and technological approaches for preventing pollution. Green chemistry applies to and impacts many fields ranging from pharmaceuticals and biotech to household items and agro-allied products.

The principles also go on to cover the following concepts:

  • The design of processes to maximize the amount of raw material that ends up in the product
  • The use of renewable material feedstocks and energy sources
  • The use of safe, environmentally benign substances, including solvents, whenever possible
  • The design of energy-efficient processes
  • Avoiding the production of waste, which is viewed as the ideal form of waste management


How many basic principles are there in green chemistry?

There are 12 basic principles of green chemistry.

Without further ado, let’s get into the 12 principles of green chemistry with examples.

12 Principles of Green Chemistry with Examples

There are 12 principles of green chemistry with examples, correctly outlined in the right order, and discussed below.

  1. Waste Prevention
  2. Atom Economy
  3. Less Hazardous Chemical Syntheses
  4. Designing Safer Chemicals
  5. Safer Solvents and Auxiliaries
  6. Design for Energy Efficiency
  7. Use of Renewable Feed Stocks
  8. Reduce Derivatives
  9. Catalysis
  10. Design for Degradation
  11. Real-time Analysis for Pollution Prevention
  12. Inherently Safer Chemistry for Accident Prevention

#1 Waste Prevention

Prevention is the first of the 12 principles of green chemistry, and in this context, it simply expresses that the synthetic cycle ought to be optimized to deliver the base measurement of waste conceivable. A measurement, known as the E factor or environmental factor, was created to check the measure of waste a cycle made and is determined by essentially isolating the mass of waste the creation interaction produces by the mass of item acquired, with a lower E factor being better.

The production of drug processes throughout history had very high E factors, but yet the use of a portion of the green chemistry principles can assist with diminishing this. Different techniques for surveying measures of waste, like contrasting the mass of the crude materials to that of the item, are likewise utilized.

It is better to prevent waste than to treat or clean up waste after it has been created.

#2 Atom Economy

Atom Economy is number two on the 12 principles of green chemistry. Chemical procedures should be designed to reduce the incorporation of materials used in the process into the final product.

It is the measure of the number of atoms from the beginning material that are available in the valuable items toward the end of a synthetic cycle. Side products from reactions that aren’t useful can lead to a lower atom economy and more waste.

From various perspectives, molecule economy is a preferred proportion of response productivity over the yield of the reaction; the yield compares the amount of useful product obtained compared to the amount you’d theoretically expect from the computations. Consequently, measures that amplify atom economy are preferred.

#3 Less Hazardous Chemical Synthesis

Less Hazardous Chemical Synthesis is number three on the list of 12 principles of green chemistry.

Ideally, we want the chemical manufactured by us, for whatever purpose, to not pose a risk to human health and life. Also, we produce these chemicals to be as safe as possible, so the point is to abstain from using unsafe chemicals as beginning stages if more secure options are accessible.

Furthermore, having dangerous waste from compound cycles is something we need to keep away from, as this can cause issues with removal. Wherever practicable, chemical methods should be designed to use and generate substances that possess little or no toxicity to human health and the environment.

#4 Designing Safer Chemicals

Chemists must strive to create chemical products that not only perform their intended function, whether medical, industrial, or otherwise, but also have low human toxicity. Knowing how chemicals function in our bodies and in the environment is necessary for designing safer chemical targets. In some circumstances, animal or human toxicity is unavoidable, but other options should be explored.

Designing safer chemicals is the fourth green chemical principle and should be abided by chemists.  Synthetic products should be designed to preserve the efficacy of function while reducing toxicity.

#5 Safer Solvents and Auxiliaries

Many chemical reactions necessitate the use of solvents or other substances to speed up the process. They can also come with a variety of risks, including flammability and volatility. Although solvents are unavoidable in most processes, they should be chosen to minimize the amount of energy required for the reaction, have low toxicity, and be recycled wherever possible.

Utilizing auxiliary materials and substances such as solvents, separation agents, etc. should be made unnecessary wherever possible and, innocuous when used.

#6 Design for Energy Efficiency

Design for energy efficiency is the 6th principle of green chemistry and this principle requires that energy requirements should be recognized for their environmental and economic impacts and should be reduced. Chemical processes should be conducted at ambient temperature and pressure.

In green chemistry, energy-intensive procedures are discouraged. It is preferable to utilize as little energy as possible to make the chemical products by performing reactions at room temperature and pressure. Removal of solvents or methods to remove impurities might increase the amount of energy required and hence the process’s environmental impact.

#7 Use of Renewable Feed Stocks

This is number seven of the 12 principles of green chemistry and here, it advises chemists that material or feedstock should be renewable rather than depleting whenever technically and economically practicable.

This theory is mostly concerned with petrochemicals, which are chemical compounds made from crude oil. They’re employed as starting materials in a variety of chemical processes, but they’re non-renewable and can run out. Renewable feedstocks such as chemicals produced from biological courses can be used to make processes more sustainable.

#8 Reduce Derivatives

Reduce Derivatives is number eight on the 12 principles of green chemistry and here is what it states.

Protecting groups are commonly utilized in chemical synthesis because they can protect certain sections of a molecule’s structure from changing during a chemical reaction while enabling other parts of the structure to undergo transformations.

These stages, on the other hand, necessitate additional chemicals and increase the quantity of trash generated by the process. The use of enzymes as a substitute has been investigated in various procedures. Enzymes can target certain sections of a molecule’s structure without the usage of protecting groups or other derivatives since they are highly selective.

#9 Catalysis

Catalysts allow for higher atom economies in reactions. Chemical operations do not deplete catalysts, therefore they can be recycled multiple times and do not add to the trash. They may enable the use of reactions that would not take place under normal circumstances yet causes less waste.

#10 Design for Degradation

Chemical products should ideally be designed to break down into harmless products when they have served their purpose and have no harmful environmental consequences. Persistent organic pollutants are chemical substances that do not degrade and can accumulate and stay in the environment; the most well-known example being DDT. Compounds that are more easily broken down by the water, UV light, or biodegradation should be used instead of these chemicals wherever possible.

#11 Real-time Analysis for Pollution Prevention

Pollution prevention is the eleventh of the 12 principles of green chemistry and it guides chemists to monitor chemical reactions as it happens to help prevent accidents. Accidents or unanticipated reactions can lead to the discharge of harmful and polluting substances, therefore monitoring a chemical reaction as it happens might help prevent this.

Warning indicators can be detected via real-time monitoring, and the reaction can be prevented or handled before a disaster happens.

#12 Inherently Safer Chemistry for Accident Prevention

Working with chemicals is inherently dangerous. The risk can, however, be reduced if hazards are properly handled. This principle is obviously connected to several other principles that deal with dangerous items or reagents.

Hazard exposure should be minimized from processes whenever possible, and where this is not practicable, procedures should be designed to minimize risk. This is the 12th principle of green chemistry and should be abided by by everyone who works with chemicals.

Green Chemistry Examples

This blog post is about the 12 principles of green chemistry with examples, and since the 12 principles have been listed and explained above, concluding it without the examples would make this work an incomplete one. So, here, I have completed the 12 principles of green chemistry by providing the examples in this section for further provision of help to make your assignment, essay, or project work a complete one.

The examples of green chemistry are:

  • Computer Chips
  • Medicine
  • Biodegradable Plastics
  • Paint

Computer Chips

Many chemicals, a lot of water, and a lot of energy are needed to make computer chips. The industrial estimate of chemicals and fossil fuels required to build a computer chip was 630:1 ratio in 2003 research. That indicates that only to create one chip, 630 times the chip’s weight in source materials is required. When compared to the 2:1 used in the production of an automobile, this is a significant difference.


The pharmaceutical industry is always looking for new ways to manufacture drugs with fewer hazardous side effects and to use less toxic manufacturing procedures.

Biodegradable Plastics

Several firms have been working on developing biodegradable, renewable polymers.


Large volumes of volatile organic chemicals are released by oil-based “alkyd” paints (VOCs). As the paint dries and cures, these volatile compounds evaporate, and many of them have one or more environmental consequences.

These are the examples of green chemistry, listed and explained accordingly. This brings an end to the 12 principles of green chemistry with example and I hope this has helped to answer a few of your questions.