Sustainability refers to the ability to meet current needs without putting in jeopardy the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The development of sustainable technologies has been dealt with in several ways, one of which is the application of the principles of green chemistry to various processes. As a mature and versatile field, the polymer industry plays a significant role in our society as polymers have become ubiquitous.
Marc A. Dubé and Somaieh Salehpour (University of Ottawa) in their present work review the 12 principles of green chemistry and specifically their application to polymer production. Examples of how each of these principles relates to current practice in polymer reaction engineering and which areas show the greatest potential impact for implementation of these principles are discussed.
It is concluded that there is not a single, unique approach for the transformation of polymerization processes into more sustainable ones. Only a coordination of several steps can result in an environmentally friendly polymerization process.