KEYNOTE – Green Chemistry & Cosmetics

Time: 09:00 - 09:30

Date: Thursday 5 September


Green Chemistry and Cosmetics
The drive for improved sustainability credentials in cosmetics fuelled both by consumer interest and the potential impact of future legislation around, for example micropollutants, is well-known.

Several current topics of research in the field of green chemistry – that is chemistry focussed of the design of products and processes that minimise or eliminate the use and generation of hazardous substances – will be explored.

What makes a solvent green? One can consider many aspects. Perhaps a full lifecycle analysis, or a balance of health hazards, whether or not it is bio-based, or biodegradable, whether it gives rise to VOC emissions, or has an aquatic impact,  whether it is flammable or explosive, or otherwise reactive and indeed the impacts those solvent properties may have on the processes in which it is used, or products in which it is a component.

Some existing solvents currently in use in cosmetics will be critiqued – including instances where they have been applied in other fields after cosmetics led the way, and some newer biobased solvents, potentially of relevance to application in cosmetics, will be profiled.

Polymers in Liquid Formulations
Polymers in liquid formulations have an estimated global value of $1.3 trillion pa, with 36 million tonnes being made annually: enough to fill Wembley Stadium 32 times over. As part of an EPSRC/BBSRC Prosperity Partnership collaboration between Croda, the University of Nottingham and the University of York, we have recently been preparing a library of novel bioderived monomers, making those monomers into polymers and are working towards exploring their biodegradability as it is critical that we understand the wider sustainability credentials of these materials and how they might compare with current products.

Solid phase peptide synthesis is traditionally highly wasteful – requiring large volumes of undesirable solvent.  We are working to explore both more sustainable solvent choices – and more efficient coupling conditions compatible with those choices.


  • Prof. Helen Sneddon Professor in Sustainable Chemistry & Director of the Green Chemistry - University of York

« Back