The 12 principles of Green Chemistry are outlined in Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice by Paul Anastas and John Warner:
- Prevent waste: Design chemical syntheses to prevent waste, leaving no waste to treat or clean up.
- Design safer chemicals and products: Design chemical products to be fully effective, yet have little or no toxicity.
- Design less hazardous chemical syntheses: Design syntheses to use and generate substances with little or no toxicity to humans and the environment.
- Use renewable feedstocks: Use raw materials and feedstocks that are renewable rather than depleting. Renewable feedstocks are often made from agricultural products or are the wastes of other processes; depleting feedstocks are made from fossil fuels (petroleum, natural gas, or coal) or are mined.
- Use catalysts, not stoichiometric reagents: Minimize waste by using catalytic reactions. Catalysts are used in small amounts and can carry out a single reaction many times. They are preferable to stoichiometric reagents, which are used in excess and work only once.
- Avoid chemical derivatives: Avoid using blocking or protecting groups or any temporary modifications if possible. Derivatives use additional reagents and generate waste.
- Maximize atom economy: Design syntheses so that the final product contains the maximum proportion of the starting materials. There should be few, if any, wasted atoms.
- Use safer solvents and reaction conditions: Avoid using solvents, separation agents, or other auxiliary chemicals. If these chemicals are necessary, use innocuous chemicals.
- Increase energy efficiency: Run chemical reactions at ambient temperature and pressure whenever possible.
- Design chemicals and products to degrade after use: Design chemical products to break down to innocuous substances after use so that they do not accumulate in the environment.
- Analyze in real-time to prevent pollution: Include in-process real-time monitoring and control during syntheses to minimize or eliminate the formation of byproducts.
- Minimize the potential for accidents: Design chemicals and their forms (solid, liquid, or gas) to minimize the potential for chemical accidents including explosions, fires, and releases to the environment.
Some states have concluded that advancing Green Chemistry is a key component in stimulating economic development, in advancing a clean technology economy, in creating educational opportunities, and in achieving a safe and healthy environment for its people. They consider Green Chemistry a powerful mechanism that enables consumers, businesses and manufacturers to minimize exposure to toxic chemicals without stifling economic or scientific progress. The Environmental Council of the States passed a resolution on the promotion of green chemistry for sustainable economic development and protection of public health and the environment. In addition, California and Michigan have been Green Chemistry agendas:
In 2010, the General Assembly enacted legislation to establish a Chemical Innovation Institute at the University of Connecticut Health Center. The Institute is charged with fostering green job growth and safe workplaces through clean technology innovation and green chemistry and providing technical assistance to organizations that seek to utilize safer alternatives to hazardous chemicals.
In April 20, 2007 Governor Schwarzenegger launched the California Green Chemistry Initiative, an ambitious cradle-to-grave approach to the management of chemicals. The Initiative seeks to transform the way that chemicals and products are designed in order to reduce or eliminate the hazards to health and the environment that they cause. It advocates a systematic approach to chemical regulation where experts assess the health effects and risks of chemicals of concern and recommend safer alternatives.
This initiative was followed in September 2008 by AB 1879 and SB 509. AB 1879 gives the California Department of Toxic Substances Control sweeping new authority to design a process for: (i) identifying and prioritizing chemicals or chemical ingredients for consideration as "chemicals of concern"; (ii) analyzing alternatives to chemicals of concern; and (iii) determining how to best limit exposure to, or reduce the level of hazard posed by, a chemical of concern. The law empowers the agency to take a wide variety of actions with regard to chemicals of concern in consumer products upon completion of this risk and alternatives analysis, including the imposition of restrictions or bans on use of a chemical, labeling requirements, recycling or disposal requirements. SB 509 requires the DTSC to establish a Toxics Information Clearinghouse for the collection, maintenance and distribution of specific chemical hazard traits and toxicological end point data. This online web-based database will increase consumer knowledge about the toxicity and hazards of thousands of chemicals used in California every day.
Taken together, California's Green Chemistry Initiative and the 2 pieces of legislation signal a shift to a more comprehensive, science-based approach wherein scientists and policy makers will play prominent roles in determining the risks that chemicals present to consumers and the steps needed to protect consumers. The goal of the legislation is to ensure that chemicals of concern can be removed from every product in the design stage; protecting people's health and the environment.
In October 2006, Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm issued Executive Directive No. 2006-6 (Directive), "Promotion of Green Chemistry for Sustainable Economic Development and Protection of Public Health." The Directive established the first state policy encouraging the use of safer, less toxic, or non-toxic chemical alternatives to hazardous substances and the research, development, and implementation of Green Chemistry in Michigan. In September 2008 the Department of Environmental Quality released an action plan to promote research, development, and commercialization of innovative and practical technologies that prevent pollution through cleaner, cheaper, smarter chemistry.
In May 2009, 3 bills passed the House that expand the definitions in Michigan’s economic development statutes to advance Green Chemistry. HB 4817 amends the Michigan Strategic Fund Act, which deals with state economic development programs focusing on high technology and on new and developing energy sectors, in order to make companies engaged in the development of Green Chemistry eligible for grants, tax credits, and other benefits that are available to participants in the programs. HB 4818 amends the Michigan Economic Growth Authority Act, which deals with state economic development programs focusing on high technology and on new and developing energy sectors, in order to make enterprises engaged in the development of Green Chemistry eligible for grants, tax credits, and other benefits that are available to participants in the programs. HB 4819 amends the Michigan Strategic Fund Act, which deals with state economic development programs focusing on high technology and on new and developing energy sectors, in order to make enterprises engaged in the development of Green Chemistry eligible for grants, tax credits, and other benefits that are available to participants in the programs.