The 12 Principles for the 21st Century


The twelve principles came to prominence in 1998 [1] and since then the field of green chemistry has grown significantly.  In this video James Clark at the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence, University of York traces the development of the twelve principles, and discusses how there is now a greater awareness of green issues across the full lifecycle including raw materials and end products, rather than focussing mainly on the processing stage.


Misunderstandings of Green Chemistry

It is helpful when learning about the foundations of modern green chemistry to look at some common misconceptions and how chemists in the area are working to counteract them. In a 2012 article, James Clark at the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence, University of York highlighted some of the ways in which the traditional principles have been misunderstood.[2] 

In this video, he focuses on biodegradability (principle 10: design for degradation), in particular its tension with newer recycling techniques (born out of principles 1 and 2), illustrating that a naïve understanding of the twelve principles is not sufficient in modern green chemistry thinking.

  1. P. T. Anastas and J. C. Warner, Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice, Oxford University Press, 1998.
  2. J. Clark, The 12 Misunderstandings of Green Chemistry (Last accessed: October 2, 2015).