The future of the world is dependent on ‘going green’, we cannot agree any less. The need of the hour is environmental consciousness.
The revolution has begun at a consumer level, and as manufacturers we need to be aware as well. How often have we asked our ‘sellers’ while buying our soaps and shampoos or while shopping heavily dyed apparels or ever intervened our doctors who prescribe us medicines- “what is the ecological footprint of my choice”, or to simply put what is the e-factor of the product in my shopping cart. E-factor is one of the most obvious matrices, which helps calculate the Kgs of waste that got generated while manufacturing one Kg of the finished product. How often to we want to know about the toxicology of the chemicals that have gone into the making of our detergents, plastics, foam?
This awareness will bring us closer to the world of Green chemistry. It may sound dichotomous at first but it is possible. Green Chemistry ensures that our manufacturing process uses environmentally friendly, sustainable chemicals and processes. The aim is reduced waste, non toxic outputs, and zero or at least highly reduced pollution and of course, hopefully, zero environmental damage. Green chemical processes is the now and the future. It innovates and encourages products and processes that can sustain the environment while enabling us to make inherently safe choices.
Yes, as a buyer, we can drive what is being sold to us and thus demand our priorities, which must include environmental safety and ecological inclusiveness. The processes that are used for the manufacture of generic APIs or Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients and its intermediates already generate substantial pollution. This pollution is what leads to an unhealthy environment and therefore unhealthy human beings. This leads to the need for newer types and quantities of APIs that consequently result in more pollution! The cycle needs to be stopped and even reversed! More and more companies are now legally and morally obliged to uphold the principles of green chemistry, but there is rarely a formal policy. So are we truly on a path to achieve sustainable green chemistry practices?
The way forward to encourage implementation of green chemistry in real world conditions requires it to work closer with real world engineering.
Safer practices and products will give manufacturingan edge when it comes to
- Reducing the cost of waste management
- Simplifying compliance with environmental law
- Creating safer workplaces, and
- Curbing pollution.
Imagine the energy that can be saved, the water that will not get wasted, the tonnes of waste that will not be created. To cause this, we simply have to ask and voice our choices.