Problem: As many chemists turn to greener options in the lab, they face the challenge of properly evaluating the “greenness” of a chemical or process. The 12 Principles of Green Chemistry— developed by Paul Anastas and John Warner—provide a global framework that helps scientists learn about green chemistry and how to design or improve materials, products, processes, and systems. These complementary principles focus on resource efficiency, energy efficiency, and risk minimization (e.g., human health and environmental), while targeting a life-cycle perspective (e.g., raw materials extraction, chemical production, and end-of-life bioaccumulation and biodegradation). While these principles lay a solid foundation, they are only conceptual and do not provide a quantitative framework for scoring green products or processes.
A variety of approaches to quantifying greener processes and products have been proposed, yet there is no unifying set of metrics in place. These options lack transparency and require a high level of effort, data that is not readily available, and access to specialized or proprietary data sets. Additionally, some methods integrate the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry, but focus on a subset of stewardship practices rather than capturing the full suite.
Solution: Chemists can now measure just how green a chemical or process is using a unique quantitative green chemistry evaluator known as the DOZN™ quantitative green chemistry evaluator. Developed by MilliporeSigma, this web-based greener alternative scoring matrix is advantageous over existing approaches as it 1) provides metrics that are inexpensive to implement with readily available data; 2) is based on generally accepted industry practices when available; and 3) enables easy communication of the method and results to customers.
This approach is unique when compared to others, as it scores products based on metrics for each of the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry. To calculate a green score, the tool leverages generally accepted industry practices—such as the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling Chemicals (GHS)—as well as manufacturing inputs and Safety Data Sheets (SDS) information. The 12 Principles of Green Chemistry are then grouped into three categories—improved resource use, increased energy efficiency, and reduced human and environmental hazards.
No other alternative green chemistry evaluation method offers the combined strategy of using readily available data to comprehensively, transparently, efficiently, and quantitatively evaluate chemical and process alternatives according to all of the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry. While other approaches may provide a gate-to-gate assessment of products and processes, the DOZN™ system allows chemists to set assessment boundaries depending on the flexibility of available information, such as expanding the boundaries to include product use or disposal.
The DOZN™ system will soon be expanded (DOZN™ 2.0) so that users can screen their products and processes to get DOZN™ system scores—allowing them to select the greener products for their research/manufacturing and, in the process, promote sustainability.
For more information, please visit www.sigmaaldrich.com/chemistry/greener-alternatives/matrix-scoring.html
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