Green Chemistry

“Green chemistry is the selection of less hazardous, more sustainable chemicals, and/or the design of chemical products or protocols involving chemicals that aim to reduce or eliminate the use or generation of hazardous substances.” – My Green Lab 

The 12 principles of Green Chemistry focus on reducing hazards (to human health and the environment), materials, and waste. There are many ways you can start to easily incorporate Green Chemistry in to your lab (even in non-chemistry labs). See below for details. For many more ways to practice Green Chemistry in your lab, check out our Green Labs Manual.

Always consult the Principal Investigator (PI) of the lab before implementing any changes.

  • Utilize the Green Labs Surplus Chemical program to donate usable chemicals your lab no longer needs or request chemicals for your lab free of charge.
  • When possible, use less hazardous chemicals. You can use the resources listed under Additional Resources  below to help identify safer chemical alternatives.
  • If you find a mercury thermometer in your lab, be sure to dispose of it properly through Environmental Health and Safety.
  • If you have multiple bottles of the same chemical, use the bottle closest to expiring first.
  • While it can be tempting to purchase chemicals in large quantities, buy the smallest volume of chemicals needed to help prevent unnecessary waste.
12 principles of green chemistry


If you find a green alternative for a chemical process, tell us about it!  We want to recognize your efforts and make this information available to the Green Labs community. There are likely other labs who perform the same procedure, and we want to encourage them to go green too.

Additional Resources

Identifying Hazardous Chemicals and Alternatives