Three methods are described, in the context of the guiding principles of green chemistry, for the catalytic oxidation of alcohols. The first employs a recyclable oligomeric TEMPO catalyst (PIPO) and sodium hypochlorite as the oxidant in a bromide-free and chlorinated hydrocarbon solvent-free system. The second involves a ruthenium/TEMPO catalyst and oxygen as the oxidant. The third consists of a recyclable water-soluble palladium-diamine complex in conjunction with air as the oxidant in an aqueous biphasic system. The mechanisms of the ruthenium/TEMPO- and palladium-catalyzed oxidations are discussed, and the mechanism of the former is compared with that of the analogous copper/TEMPO catalyst.