Dirty, unclean, unenvironmentally friendly, spewing waste products - these are many descriptions most people in the general public would use about the chemical industry.
Yet many areas of the industry are highly regulated to reduce waste products and harm to the environment.
As raw ingredients become more and more expensive and elusive, the industry is trying to find other methods of making more sustainable products.
In giving a product the label of 'sustainable' or 'environmentally friendly' you need to ensure that the whole process, from obtaining the raw ingredients, to recycling the product at the end of its useful life, is as green as possible.
The scientists are also facing pressure from the manufacturers and consumers of such goods, to make these processes cleaner.
Gerry Northam goes in search of the scientists, politicians and manufacturers who are turning the chemical industry around to face the 21st century as a green network.