The E factor at 30: a passion for pollution prevention
The introduction of the E Factor in 1992 focussed attention on the problem of waste generation, defined as everything but the desired product, in chemicals manufacture and gave rise to a paradigm shift in our concept of efficiency in chemical processes, from one based solely on chemical yield to one that assigns value to eliminating waste. Thirty years later, it has become clear that waste is the underlying cause of the major global environmental problems, from climate change to plastic pollution and that the solution to this ubiquitous waste problem is pollution prevention at source enabled by green and sustainable chemistry. The role played by (bio)catalysis, alternative solvents, the emergence of a carbon neutral circular economy based on renewable resources and the electrification of chemicals manufacture based on renewable energy in the drive towards pollution prevention and sustainable industries is delineated.
- This article is part of the themed collection: 2023 Green Chemistry Reviews