Green Chemistry

- Prevent Waste

What is the principle?

The principle of the prevention of waste states that it is better to prevent waste than to treat it and clean it up after its been created. It is the ability of chemists to transform the way they create chemicals in order to minimise the generation of toxic wastes. It is seen to be one of the most important principles of the 12 and the other principles are there in order to help achieve it. The principle is put in place as it is much easier to not make the waste at all as wastes produced in chemical reactions are hazardous and toxic to the environment and life on earth and eventually overtime, if we continued to produce this waste, it would kill our ecosystem. By preventing the generation of wastes, we are minimising the hazards that are associated with waste storage and treatment.

An Example of Its Application

In order to apply this principle, scientists created the idea of "recycling." Recycling is the process whereby the wastes that would have been produced in a reaction are converted into new materials that are able to be used and are not hazardous. Recycling of chemical materials has become common over the past 10 years or so and has resulted in a great reduction in the wastes generated in the scientific industry. Some processes include:

- Using polymers as fuels

- Converting polymers into monomers

- Recycling of basic chemicals such as hydrochloric acid and sulphuric acid

Benefits of This Method

Environmental

Recycling hazardous wastes fulfils the goals of the RCRA by reducing the consumption of raw materials and by reducing the volume of waste materials. Reducing the waste materials means less water, air and soil pollution. It also reduces the emissions of green house gases.

Economical

By reducing waste production, we increase product efficiency and reduce the costs of associated with purchasing raw materials. A business may also benefit by having a green image or being associated with reducing, reusing and recycling as a mean of distinguishing themselves from their competitors.