Difference Between Green Chemistry and Environmental Chemistry

Chemistry is a vast subject that includes several fields in it and people often study chemicals, industries, factors affecting pollution, and alternative ways that are environment friendly, etc.

Two such fields of Chemistry are Green Chemistry and Environmental Chemistry. These two fields have their similarities, differences, and interconnection with each other.

Green Chemistry vs Environmental Chemistry

The main difference between Green Chemistry and Environmental Chemistry is that green chemistry is a chemical technique used for better environmental health whereas environmental chemistry is a discipline in which the chemical processes of nature are analyzed. Both green and environmental chemistry are the main branches of chemistry that deal with nature.

Green vs Environmental Chemistry

Green Chemistry is the area of chemistry in which various organizations and bodies focus on finding alternative use of resources to eliminate or minimize the use of hazardous substances that have been proved to severely harm the environment.

Green Chemistry is also known as Sustainable Chemistry.

Environmental Chemistry is the area of chemistry in which we deeply study the biochemical processes in the environment and the impacts of industries and pollution of it.

The study includes all possible sources of environmental contaminants. This field is divided into several sub-categories to find the interconnection of chemistry between aquatic life, soil, and air.

Comparison Table Between Green Chemistry and Environmental Chemistry

Parameters of ComparisonGreen ChemistryEnvironmental Chemistry
Refers toA chemical technique.A discipline.
AimTo prevent hazardous effects on the environment.To study and analyze chemical and biochemical phenomena.
PrinciplesIt includes 12 principles.It doesn’t include principles but various other parameters.
VastnessIt is limited to only specific studies.It is a vast field focusing on all environmental aspects.
PollutionIt contributes to reducing the pollution at its source. It doesn’t contribute to reducing the pollution at its source.

What is Green Chemistry?

Green chemistry emerged in the 1990s from various research efforts to control the various hazardous factors causing harm to the environment.

It is the area of chemistry that focuses on finding alternative methods for use of resources to eliminate or minimize the use of hazardous resources that are severely harmful to the environment. Green chemistry is also known as Sustainable chemistry.

In 1998, to practice green chemistry, a set of principles were published on which the whole foundation is based.

There were a total of 12 principles covering aspects such as renewable resources, energy efficiency, waste management, design for degradation, and methods for pollution prevention, etc.

Several international attempts have also been made to signify the greenness of the environment, and green chemistry is now considered a valuable tool for a sustainable environment.

Furthermore, green chemistry has developed impactful alternatives that have also proven to be economically viable in the long term.

Green chemistry is practically applied with the help of green chemistry tools such as green solvents, dry media synthesis, and catalyst-free reactions in organic synthesis, energy synthesis, etc.

The conceptual idea of green chemistry can also be linked with related concepts including environmental chemistry and its works following it.

What is Environmental Chemistry?

Environmental Chemistry is an interdisciplinary scientific study that includes air, water, and soil quality. This study includes various chemical and biochemical processes that take place in nature.

Quantitative chemical analysis is a common procedure of environmental chemistry and various analytical techniques include atomic spectroscopy, AAS, Tandem Mass spectrometry, and various electrochemical methods.

Environmental Chemistry first works on all the contaminations that occur in the surroundings. It then identifies the source of contamination, the nature of the problem, how it affects the environment, etc.

After the study presents satisfactory conclusions, other studies including green chemistry work on finding a solution for the problem. Thus, environmental chemistry is one of the most important studies as it gives birth to many other studies.

Unlike green chemistry, environmental chemistry doesn’t work on published principles but rather on the measurement of various parameters including pollutants, contaminants, and radiochemicals, etc., that affect the quality of air, water, and soil.

The real-world applications of environmental chemistry include working on heavy metal contamination by industries, PAHs in large water bodies, pollutants including hydrocarbon compounds and metals, etc.

The detailed study of environmental chemistry is used by various environmental protection agencies, public analysts, and various other research bodies, etc.

Main Differences Between Green Chemistry and Environmental Chemistry

  1. Green chemistry is a chemical technique whereas environmental chemistry is a discipline.
  2. While green chemistry is limited to only specific goals, environmental chemistry covers all the aspects of the environment.
  3. Green chemistry directly results in pollution reduction at its source whereas environmental chemistry doesn’t.
  4. Green chemistry is based on principles whereas environmental chemistry is based on various parameters that decide the quality of air, soil, and water.
  5. Green chemistry is applied in green solvents, synthetic techniques, etc., whereas environmental chemistry is applied in organometallic compounds, urban runoff of pollutants, and PAHs, etc.
Difference Between Green Chemistry and Environmental Chemistry


Chemistry is considered to be one of the major causes of environmental quality degradation.

Various factories, chemical industries, manufacturing, resourcing, etc., have been a major drawback regardless of the facilities that humans have because of such methods.

Therefore, the study of such factors and finding an alternative to them becomes necessary for a future-proof sustainable environment.

Green chemistry and environmental chemistry are two interrelated terms and hence, they can often sound confusing.

While environmental chemistry is a much broader concept, green chemistry is only a practice to save the environment from hazards.

Even though the two terms have distinct meanings, green chemistry and many other subjects depend on conclusions made by the studies of environmental chemistry.

Many global companies only use green chemicals such as Avantium N.V, AbengoaAura Biotechnologies, etc. As people are getting aware of the hazards in the environment, Green Chemicals Market is expected to rise in the future.

Green chemistry is a relatively newer concept developed only a few decades ago to control the ever-increasing environmental hazards most of which are caused by humans.

Environmental chemistry, on the other hand, has always existed and is the root to identify every aspect that affects the environment, both positively and negatively. However, both of the two fields work hand-in-hand.


  1. https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/mono/10.1201/9781315160474/environmental-chemistry-stanley-manahan
  2. http://ccc.chem.pitt.edu/wipf/Frontiers/Zhiyong.pdf

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