Introduction to Green Chemistry |

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Introduction to Green Chemistry

Welcome to Green Chemistry at Carolina. In our continuing efforts to make your lab safer, we've created this Web page with information, resources, and product suggestions you can use. Look here first for tips on how to make your lab greener for you and your students.

What is Green Chemistry?

Green Chemistry is a set of principles to help you minimize the hazardous substances used in chemical processes or that result from chemical processes.

What are the principles?

For your convenience, we are reprinting here (with permission of Oxford University Press) the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry.

How do I start?

The principles provide a new perspective on the use of chemicals. Use the 12 principles as your guide when developing new procedures or choosing products for your classroom. In addition, reconsider your existing procedures within the context of the principles. Look for opportunities to change how you perform a procedure, or perhaps consider a different procedure to illustrate the same concept. If you can't change your procedure, think about switching to less hazardous reagents. To make your job easier, we've identified products consistent with the principles of Green Chemistry.

Our suggestions

  • Buy chemicals in quantities you will use in a year.
  • Choose procedures that require chemicals you often use, rather than add a chemical only for that procedure.
  • Perform procedures on the smallest scale possible.
  • Use the health, flammability, and reactivity data we provide in our chemical listings to select the least hazardous option.
  • If the solute dissolves in water, use an aqueous solution rather than an alcohol solution.
  • Use the lowest concentration of solution that works.

See the table below for direct replacements:

Direct Chemical Replacements
Common Use
Dense metal for density studies
Chlorinated solvents
Ethyl acetate, acetone, or ethanol
Polar, organic solvent
Diethyl ether
Non-polar, organic solvent
Dense metal for density studies
Mercury thermometer
Alcohol thermometer
Lab thermometer
Polar, organic solvent
Nitrate salts
Chloride salts
Water-soluble metal salts
Petroleum ether
Non-polar, organic solvent

Please see the table below for a complete list of green chemical replacements by substance:

Green Chemical Replacements by Substance
Replace with
Aluminum nitrate
Aluminum sulfate
Ammonium nitrate
Ammonium chloride
Calcium nitrate
Calcium chloride
Ethyl acetate
Cobalt nitrate
Cobalt chloride
Diethyl ether
Lithium nitrate
Lithium chloride
Magnesium nitrate
Magnesium chloride
Methylene chloride
Ethyl acetate
Lauric acid
Potassium nitrate
Potassium chloride
Sodium nitrate
Sodium chloride
Strontium nitrate
Strontium chloride
Zinc chloride
Zinc acetate
Zinc nitrate
Zinc acetate

A special note about our furniture

Two of Carolina's manufacturers, Diversified Woodcrafts, Inc. and Shain Solutions, are launching a green initiative to further enhance the steps they are already taking in caring for our environment. Read more at New Green Initiatives.