# What's the difference between the 'Sustainability' tag and 'Green Chemistry' tag?

I'm wondering what the difference is between the tags and .

The explanation of the tag says

Green chemistry, also known as sustainable chemistry, is a philosophy intended to reduce the environmental impact of chemical industry and research.

But I'm a bit puzzled by the description of the tag:

For questions dealing with sustainable living, including questions about better fuels, pollution reduction, CO2 capture and recycling (CCR), the chemistry of photovoltaics, photochemical splitting of water, catalysts for hydrolysis of water and other routes to hydrogen generation.

The confusing words here are 'sustainable living'. Sustainable Living is an entirely different topic that has it's own StackExchange website. Could it be that the author meant to say 'sustainable chemistry'?

If so, shouldn't the sustainability and green-chemistry tags be merged?

• I am in favour of merging these two tags. – bon Jul 18 '16 at 13:10
• I think there is a subtle difference, especially in the context of process chemistry and large scale chemistry, but I'd agree with @Bon that for use on Chem.SE, having one tag as an umbrella term is probably sufficient. – NotEvans. Jul 18 '16 at 18:32
• I suggest merging sustainability into green-chemistry, keeping it as synonym, and adding the examples in the usage of the latter to the tag wiki of the former. – Martin - マーチン Jul 21 '16 at 8:09
• I've added the sustainability tag wiki examples to the green-chemistry tag wiki. While I was at it I made a some other minor improvements. – THelper Jul 21 '16 at 9:08

I have performed the merge. All questions that were tagged with belong now to , while keeping the former as a synonym. I have extended the tag wiki excerpt a little and it reads now:

Green chemistry, also known as sustainable chemistry, is a philosophy intended to reduce the environmental impact of chemical industry and research. A discussion of possible modifications of the process to reduce the production of the hazardous material should be tagged as green-chemistry. A question concerning the environmental interactions of hazardous chemicals should rather be tagged with environmental-chemistry.

I'd say the difference, if there is one, is that would be for doing chemistry in a sustainable, eco-friendly manner, but is for using chemistry to achieve a sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle.

For example, questions about how to re-engineer the synthesis of a pharmaceutical would be , but questions about $\ce{CO2}$ capture and storage would be . That is, the ultimate goal of is the sustainability itself, where the ultimate goal of is something else, but the process is intended to be sustainable.

That said, there's likely to be enough overlap - and few enough questions - that it might be a distinction without a difference.

• In total theres only 20 questions with either of these tags (I also just discovered an 'environmental chemistry' tag), with multiple of them having two of the three tags being discussed. Given the lack of use and general difficulty in defining (the areas dont seem as well defined as, say, physical vs inorganic) it seems like one umbrella tag would work just fine (until such a time as theres an influx of questions about green processes ;) ) – NotEvans. Jul 21 '16 at 19:24
• @NotNicolaou Are you proposing to merge both green-chemistry and sustainability into the environmental-chemistry tag? This meta post argues that environmental-chemistry and green-chemistry are sufficiently distinct to have their own tags. – THelper Jul 22 '16 at 8:10
• I think it makes sense given how infrequently used they are. Or at the very least we should go through All the posts currently tag and re tag based on the definitions given above – NotEvans. Jul 22 '16 at 8:19
• @NotNicolaou I'm not sure retagging questions is necessary. Sustainability seems to fit well within the green-chemistry tag and it's my understanding that retagging occurs automatically if a tag is defined as a synonym of another tag. – THelper Jul 22 '16 at 8:28