What is 'green chemistry' or 'sustainable chemistry'?


Green chemistry is based on 12 principles, all of which have the same objective: to preserve the planet and save natural resources. Photo: AFP

One of the principles of "green chemistry", a concept developed in the 1990s by American chemists Paul Anastas and John C. Warner of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, involves recovering waste from biomass – such as organic matter from plants, animals or water – to give it a second life.

Increasingly important in the context of the climate crisis, green chemistry, also known as "sustainable chemistry", responds to 12 principles, all of which have the same objective: to preserve the planet and save natural resources, which implies, for example, reducing atmospheric pollution, cutting down on food waste, conserving energy, etc.

It also implies thinking about preserving the environment right from the design stage of products and processes by ensuring that they emit as few toxic substances as possible.

Many examples of green chemistry are taking place in recent years around the world. More and more scientists are working on producing creations that incorporate food waste.

For example, a team of American researchers has succeeded in creating a battery prototype using crab shells to replace lithium.

Vanillin, a key component of the vanilla bean, is also being studied by researchers at Bowling Green University in Ohio, the United States, to make bioplastic.

Their work is the subject of a recent publication in the journal Angewandte Chemie. The development of cellular meat, which has become increasingly popular in recent years, is also considered green chemistry as it uses scientific processes to reduce the carbon footprint of meat consumption.

According to estimates by the World Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), livestock production accounts for more than 15% of global CO2 emissions, while NGO Greenpeace is responsible for 65% of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, according to the NGO Greenpeace. – AFP Relaxnews

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