Industrial Green Chemistry World

Profitability from Industrial Green Chemistry and Engineering

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Imagine yourself looking at the earth from the outside, like seeing the first picture of the earth from the moon. We can see the earth as a globe of land and oceans with hovering clouds.

First View of Earth From Moon: On Aug. 23, 1966, the world received its first view of Earth taken by a spacecraft from the vicinity of the Moon. Image credit: NASA

Now zoom in.

Image credit: Wikipedia

You can now see continents and probably can figure out which of the continents is this one. Zoom in a little more and if you are with me you’ll see Papua New Guinea’s Manam Volcano releasing a thin, faint plume.

Image credit: Flickr user gsfc

Let’s come back down to earth. We are surrounded by a myriad of animate and inanimate things, species, people, insects, trees and may be flamingos. Not to mention the computer you are reading this on. This computer is made up of several things like chips, glass, plastic, silicon, 7,7,8,8-tetracyanoquinodimethane, copper, aluminum, gold, zinc and alloys. Mind you, this is not the entire list. Perspective helps, just hang on. We are painting a really big picture here, stay and have your mind boggled if it is not already.

To be surrounded by synthetic chemicals easily escapes one’s mind. A pen, such a simple thing, that one uses probably on a daily basis, is made of various chemicals. Say, a fountain pen, its cap; barrel; cap; nib; cartridge, ink, all are chemicals. The nibs are usually made of stainless steel or gold alloys. The ink is a dye. The casing is a metal. Moreover, we do not always think about how these are made and question if its manufacture has any detrimental effects on our ecosystem. A chemical process industry transforms one chemical into some other chemical that is valuable. The metal industry and the dye industry work together to make that fountain pen you use and this is just one of the many chemical products we consume. Each of such dependent industries produces chemical products via a step process. In general, its feedstock first needs to be treated if purity is a concern. Once a chemical reaction takes place, the product usually needs to be separated from the reaction mixture and further purified. During this entire process, each of these industries emits waste (effluents). Managing these effluents is a whole different process. Although it seems costing to the industry, there are ways to convert this waste into wealth.

Basically, you are surrounded by chemicals, natural or synthetic. We use them in ways many of us do not examine. Our basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter have been upgraded to a list of other things such as education, health and entertainment. We live a lifestyle that thrives on consumption. Our material needs come from chemical and allied industries. We are in a constant cycle of consuming and discarding. The problem is that we discard it in a way that comes back and bites us. We pollute our very own home, our land, our soil, our air. Since the dawn of humans, our consumption and our needs have changed. The consequences of which have accumulated and have created a havoc on environment and ultimately on us humans and other species.

This had to worry someone and it did. It was evident from the enactment of The Air Pollution Control Act in 1955 in United States of America. The Water (Prevention And Control Of Pollution)Act was enacted in India in the year 1974 followed by enactment of The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act in 1981.

Pollution control acts and rules in India:

·The Water (Prevention And Control Of Pollution)Act,1974
·The Water (Prevention And Control Of Pollution)Rules,1975
·The Air (Prevention And Control Of Pollution)Act,1981
·The Air (Prevention And Control Of Pollution)Rules,1982
·The Environment (Protection) Act,1986
·The Environment (Protection)Rules,1986( With Amended Notification )
·The Municipal Solid Wastes (Management And Handling )Rules,2000
·Bio-Medical Waste (Management And Handling) Rules, 1998( With Amended Notification )
·The Noise Pollution (Regulation And Control) Rules, 2000
·The Recycled Plastics Manufacture And Usage Rules,1999( With Amended Notification )
·Environmental Impact Assessment( Eia) Notification, 1994( With Amended Notification )

We need to do more, help make our environment free from pollution and hazards. We welcome you to IGCW-2013 where people interested in doing so meet.

Any questions? Feel free to ask. Please contact Anuja Sawant at
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For inquiries regarding IGCW contact Krishna Dave at:

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Green Chemistry for the common man

On an average day, we come in contact with many chemicals. It may seem like a strange fact to a common man, but most of the things around us and the products that we use are made up of chemicals. As an average person, we don’t really think about what we’re using, much less about what it is composed of and how it is manufactured. It’s best articulated by Annie Leonard through her Story of Stuff Project shares what she’d learned about the way we make, use and throw away Stuff. It is a must watch ‘20-minute cartoon about trash.

There are many chemical processes used in the manufacturing of products, that can cause short term and long term harm to us and our environment. Many industries use chemical processes, but that’s not the issue in contention here. The fact is that chemicals can’t be avoided but its manufacturing can be made safe for all concerned and that’s where intervention of green chemistry and engineering practices is called for.

Green chemistry is defined as the invention, design and application of chemical products and processes to reduce or to eliminate the use and generation of hazardous substances.  It is evident from the definition that the science is not merely a preventive one, but actively seeks to stop or at least minimize any chemical pollution. There are a set of rules that define the science and make it a holistic science that can be applied to all levels of production to achieve the final goal of controlling toxicity in the environment. A common (mis)conception is that green chemistry technologies will dramatically alter the process and product manufacturing, affect the profit margins and cause additional expenses. But the truth is that we often fail to see that what goes out as waste in form of hazardous effluents is nothing but an amalgamation of our starting raw material.

Green Chemistry and engineering practices assures us of efficient application of our raw material, identify environmentally benign feedstock, Recyle@Source TM Technologies and integration of such next-generation technologies.

Over a decade ago, Prof. Paul Anastas & Dr. John Warner introduced the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry and Engineering which have become the guide-map for making the chemical industry greener and sustainable. The principles overall promote that any physical, toxicological, or global hazard can be prevented in the processes and can thus minimize hazard across all stages of a chemical life-cycle from raw materials to manufacturing and end-of-life.

If we as a consumer become more aware of the products we use, and what impact it has on our mother Earth, we can demand environmentally benign means of manufacturing of the products that we use.