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Book Review Chemistry of Waste Minimization. Edited by J. H. Clark

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coverage. in the thoroughness of the theoretical treatment, and in the skill of presentation.
Frank van der Ven died in March this
year. His death is a painful loss for the
many people who knew Frank. His scientific ability and, not least, his skill in
teaching others in the field of NMR spectroscopy were outstanding. This book is
an eloquent testimony to the deep understanding, sharp reasoning, and care that
characterized his research.
Christian Griesinger
Institut fur Organische Chemie
der Universitlt Frankfurt (Germany)
Chemistry of Waste Minimization.
Edited by J. H . Clark. Blackie, Glasgow, 1995. 554 pp., hardcover
E 89.00.-ISBN 0-7514-0200-6
Attitudes towards caring for the environment are currently undergoing a shift
in many sections of society, away from
correcting damage towards preventing it
in advance. In order to move towards a
sustainable pattern of development that
safeguards the future environment, the
habits of both producers and consumers
must change. and this will require some
fundamental changes of attitude and also
cause some others. For the chemical industry the future will demand a changeover to an ecologically orientated chemistry. The book Chemislry of’ Waste
Minimixtion is an important contribution on this topic, in which J. H. Clark of
the University of York has brought together 22 authors from universities and
the chemical industry in Great Britain to
cover this complex subject in 16 chapters
of widely differing content.
In the introductory chapter T. Lester
develops some general principles for the
book as a whole. and defines the subject as
follows: “Waste minimization involves
any technique, process or activity which
either avoids. eliminates or reduces a
waste at its source, usually within the confines of the production unit, or allows
reuse or recycling of the waste for benign
In the second chapter W Braithwaite
examines the industrial aspects of waste
minimization, emphasizing that wherever
possible this should be achieved in the
production process itself, i.e. at the
source. Of course the generation of waste
products can never be completely eliminated. but wherever possible they should
be recycled. Disposal of wastes into the
environment should only be considered in
cases where they can be treated in such a
A n g m Chetn. lnr. Ed. Engl. 1996, 35. No. 16
way that they have no harmful effects on
ecosystems. The waste disposal costs must
always be taken into account in the economics of the process. A process that at
first sight seems expensive may then be
found to be actually cheaper than one that
generates a lot of waste which is costly to
dispose of. Here it is important that
chemists and chemical engineers should
work closely together.
In Chapter 3, by P. J. Kinley, the environmental legislation in Great Britain,
Europe, and the USA is described, and its
effects on the chemical industry are discussed.
After these introductory chapters
which are of a fairly general nature, we
move on to chemistry. What contributions can chemistry offer in this area?
There are undoubtedly many, and the selection presented in Chapters 4- 16 often
strikes one as rather arbitrary.
Catalysts which allow one to carry out
a chemical reaction more selectively can
make an important contribution. Chapter 4, by K. Smith, C. V. Fry, and M. Tzimas, deals with clays, zeolites, and other
types of catalyst supports, and with the
reagents used in this form and their applications to various reactions. As one expects, the examples are chosen on the basis that they are more environmentally
friendly than conventional processes.
However, no quantitative comparisons
are made, nor are there any examples of
processes that are already being operated
Chapter 5 (S. J. Tavener and J. H.
Clark) describes the principles and applications of phase transfer catalysis. The
authors state that “Phase transfer catalysis clearly has an important role to play in
a cleaner future”, but regrettably they d o
not support this by citing quantitative
studies o r giving an example.
Chapter 6, by D. C. Sherrington, contains a detailed description of the design
and application of polymer supports for
solid state syntheses. In Chapter 7, B. M.
Adger reviews methods for synthesizing
chiral compounds and describes several
interesting examples of industrial applications. G. Webb and J. M. Winfield then
examine in Chapter 8 the alternatives to
chlorofluorocarbons and halogenated fire
Chapter 9 (W. R. Sanderson) is an excellent survey of the use of hydrogen peroxide as an environmentally friendly oxidizing agent for treating chemical wastes
and as a reagent in syntheses, including
many examples of industrial applications.
Chapter 10, by T. J. Mason and S. S.
Phull, is concerned with sonochemistry,
including sonoelectrochemistry, and the
(3 VCH
Verlagsgese/l.rchq/r mhH. 0-69451 Weinheim, 1996
use of these methods in synthesis and in
waste water treatment. Chapter 11 (K.
Scott) describes the many different applications of electrochemistry in treating
chemical wastes; these include the recovery of metals from aqueous effluents, the
treatment of effluents containing harmful
substances such as cyanides, phenols, or
organochloro compounds, and the removal of SO,, H,S, NO,, or CI, from gas
emissions. However, electrochemical syntheses are only treated briefly. In Chapter 12, J. H. Atherton and I. K. Jones discuss the problem of choosing the best
solvent for a reaction.
Chapter 13, by M. J. Ramsden, discusses the problem of polymer recycling, then
in Chapter 14 P. H.Walton deals with the
important question of the precipitation of
metals from aqueous wastes (already
partly covered in Chapter 1 l ) , and here
includes also biological methods. The topical theme of the decomposition of waste
substances in supercritical water is discussed by A. A. Clifford in Chapter 15. In
the last chapter A. J. Butterworth, S. J.
Tavener, and S. J. Barlow describe some
further examples of the use of catalysts in
the synthesis of fine chemicals. Enzymes
are treated briefly, but more space is again
devoted to zeolites and montmorillonite
The appearance of this multiauthor
work is to be welcomed. It should be
available in every library and industrial
chemical plant. Practitioners of applied
chemistry will find in it many useful ideas
for applying to their own operations, and
it will help synthetic chemists involved in
basic research to devise new synthetic
routes that are more environmentally acceptable.
Jiirgen Metzger
Fachbereich Chemie, Organische Chemie
der Universitat Oldenburg (Germany)
Fifty Years of Free Radicals. (Series:
Profiles, Pathways, and Dreams. Series editor: J. I. Seeman.) By C.
Walling. American Chemical Society,
Washington, DC, 1995. XXVI,
141 pp., hardcover $24.95.-ISBN
“Cheves Walling is one of the founding
Fathers of radical chemistry. He helped set
the parameters twenty years before the explosive growth of the field. His work pervaded the thinking in radical chemistry ...
Radicals are not in general very selective,
they are unusually reactive; but they are
quite valuable in the craft that is synthesis.
It just took many years for synthetic
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