Green Chemicals : The Green Evolution of the Chemical Industry


The Oil and Gas sector has been one of the most dominant supply verticals within the chemical industry. However, the total market has been shifting towards sustainable raw materials due to which the market for green chemicals has been booming during the past decade. The overall chemical sector has been returning to its bio-roots.

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The environmental degradation caused by the chemical industry

Our modern-day appliances and daily requirements are majorly composed of chemicals. Hence the demand for chemicals across consumer products and other B2C as well as B2B verticals has been growing. The number of man-made chemicals has been recorded to be 154,220 and the global chemical production is noted to be roughly 870 Billion. The improper disposal of chemically hazardous waste calls for ecological degradation and in turn causes biological disruption. Medical waste accounts for a major segment in the value chain for the chemical industry. Hospitals solely account for 5.9 million tonnes of medical waste within the United States. However, roughly 85% of waste generated from the healthcare sector is regarded to be non-hazardous.

Regulatory Bodies and their Impact on Global Chemical Disposition

The effluents and chemical disposition of waste are regulated by bodies such as the EPA (Environment Protection Agency) for the US. In 2019, the EPA noted recorded voluntary disclosure and certified corrections of violations at more than 1,900 facilities. Between 2018 and 2019, the rise in the number of cases for environmental violations was accounted to be 20%. According to the EPA, in 2019 the number of criminal cases opened for improper disposal of chemicals was noted to be 170. Additionally, roughly USD 471 Million was collected via judicial civil penalties and combined federal administrative.

The release of chemicals into water bodies is regarded to be one of the key forms of pollution. In the year 2014, it was noted that Freedom Industries released crude 4-Methylcyclohexanemethanol into the Elk River due to which roughly 300,000 residents were without access to clean waters. The long-term effects of water pollution caused by the release of chemicals into bodies include mutation and endangerment of underwater life. The inception of the blue baby syndrome is one fine example of environmental degradation affecting the life around the water body. The main cause of the disease was water contaminated by nitrates.

Green Chemists and their role in increasing the sustainability of the chemical sector

The first Green Approach was adopted to Industrial Chemistry was initiated by Ernest Solvay in the 1860s. The Belgian chemist, Ernest Solvay introduced the concept of a continuous process to industrial chemistry where the waste products from the first process were recycled back to the first stage. Chemists and chemical engineers have also derived processes to strip away the toxic chemical constituents towards the initial stage of the process. Processes like extraction and stripping have been introduced into chemical processes to curtail the percentage of effluents released into the environment.

As per market research tools, the use of chemical fertilizers is also noted to be one of the key factors that cause land pollution. Biofertilizers are noted to be one of the key innovations of the green chemicals market. The use of these biofertilizers is noted to reduce the absorption of chemicals into the soil. Moreover, the minimum residue level on the reaped crops is noted to be lower owing to the use of biofertilizers.

The introduction of chemicals derived from biological sources is also anticipated to increase sustainability across chemical processes. The process of bioengineering is employed to achieve green chemistry goals. Thus reducing the overall carbon footprint for raw materials associated with a process.

What are Green Chemicals?

Green chemicals provide higher performance as well as functionality while being environmentally viable throughout their entire life cycle. Some of these chemicals are degradable, they disintegrate into innocuous products and can be recovered for further use. One of the key examples of green chemicals is green solvents. They are derived from crops and are regarded as environmentally friendly alternatives to petrochemical solvents. One of the key examples of green solvents is Ethyl Lactate which is used for the processing of corn. The growth in overall adoption of sustainable chemicals is poised to boost the surge in demand for green chemicals. The instating of government regulations is also expected to support the burgeoning growth of the green chemicals market.

Global Market Database is noted to be one of the key market research tools that can be used to identify the key market trends. The overall growth dynamics for the green chemicals market and the chemical industry’s market size can be procured using the same.