For best experience please turn on javascript and use a modern browser!
You are using a browser that is no longer supported by Microsoft. Please upgrade your browser. The site may not present itself correctly if you continue browsing.
In a paper in One Earth, a Cell Press publication, associate professor Chris Slootweg presents an integrated view of a fully sustainable future chemistry by bringing together the three underlying paradigms: green chemistry, circular chemistry, and safe-and-sustainable-by-design (SSbD). Molecules and materials must be produced green, materials and products should be used circularly, and at all times the substances must be safe for humans and the environment.
Image: OneEarth / CellPress

The chemical industry’s traditional ‘‘take-make-waste’’ model poses significant socio-environmental challenges, emphasizing the urgent need for a shift toward sustainability. Addressing these challenges, frameworks have been developed such as green chemistry (focussing on reducing waste and pollution); circular chemistry (emphasizing resource efficiency and recycling); and safe and sustainable-by-design (SSbD, prioritizing product life cycle safety and sustainability).

Slootweg acknowledges that the effectiveness of these three key concepts is suboptimal when applied separately, hindering the realization of a fully sustainable and circular chemical industry. In his paper, he delves into the specifics of green chemistry, circular chemistry, and SSbD, highlighting their individual contributions. More importantly, he recommends a novel approach to integrate these frameworks. Using a few striking examples, he showcases how their synergistic application can overcome existing barriers and significantly enhance the sustainability profile of the chemical industry. The paper forms a comprehensive guide that aims not only to inform but also to inspire actionable change, emphasizing the chemical industry’s critical role in fostering a sustainable, resilient, and thriving future.

Paper details

J. Chris Slootweg: Sustainable chemistry: Green, circular, and safe-by-design, One Earth (2024), DOI: 10.1016/j.oneear.2024.04.006

See also