The 12 principles of green chemistry

The principles for green chemistry can guide any professional in the cleaning and hygiene industry to pick a product that helps support a greener future. Some of these principles are already being applied to show their positive impact on the environment.


It’s been a while since the industry started making efforts to produce environment-friendly cleaning products sustainably. The goal is to reduce the chemical-related impact on human health besides the prevention of pollution. 


For green chemistry, the following 12 principles have been established that are generally accepted in all industries – as Interclean lists. So, next time when picking a product it is worth looking deeper into the manufacturer’s background so we can contribute to a greener future as facility managers.


12 principles of green chemistry

  • Prevention: Avoid waste production as much as possible.
  • Atomic Economy: Using the raw materials as efficiently as possible, so the end product contains as many atoms as possible of the substances used.
  • Less harmful processes: Where possible, design production methods that harm people and the environment as little as possible.
  • Less harmful chemicals: When developing products, make sure they do what they are supposed to do, with the least possible damage to people and the environment.
  • Safer solvents: Avoid using solvents during production as much as possible.
  • Energy-efficient design: Decrease the energy to carry out a reaction, thus reducing costs and environmental damage.
  • Renewable raw materials: Raw materials must be renewable as much as possible.
  • Responses in few steps: Avoid many steps in a reaction, because that also means that more starting materials are needed and therefore more pollution is produced.
  • Catalysis: Catalysed reactions are more efficient than non-catalysed reactions.
  • Design with a view to demolition: Design chemical products that, when decomposed, produce substances that are non-toxic and do not accumulate in the environment.
  • Prevention of environmental pollution: Design analytical methods that ensure that environmentally polluting products are detected as soon as they are released.
  • Less risky chemistry: Choose the substances in a chemical process in such a way that the risk of chemical accidents is as small as possible.


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