Design chemical syntheses to prevent waste. Leave no waste to treat or clean up.
Design syntheses so that the final product contains the maximum proportion of the starting materials. Waste few or no atoms.
Design syntheses to use and generate substances with little or no toxicity to either humans or the environment.
Design chemical products that are fully effective yet have little or no toxicity.
Avoid using solvents, separation agents, or other auxiliary chemicals. If you must use these chemicals, use safer ones.
Run chemical reactions at room temperature and pressure whenever possible.
Use starting materials (also known as feedstocks) that are renewable rather than depletable. The source of renewable feedstocks is often agricultural products or the wastes of other processes; the source of depletable feedstocks is often fossil fuels (petroleum, natural gas, or coal) or mining operations.
Avoid using blocking or protecting groups or any temporary modifications if possible. Derivatives use additional reagents and generate waste.
Minimize waste by using catalytic reactions. Catalysts are effective in small amounts and can carry out a single reaction many times. They are preferable to stoichiometric reagents, which are used in excess and carry out a reaction only once.
Design chemical products to break down to innocuous substances after use so that they do not accumulate in the environment.
Include in-process, real-time monitoring and control during syntheses to minimize or eliminate the formation of byproducts.
Design chemicals and their physical forms (solid, liquid, or gas) to minimize the potential for chemical accidents including explosions, fires, and releases to the environment.