Saturday, November 15, 2008

Day 207 of our Green Year: No Aerosol Cans

One of the biggest success stories for the environment has been banning of CFCs. During the Montreal Protocol in 1987, the decision was made to ban CFCs in an effort to help repair the ozone layer. Originally signed by 25 countries, 168 are now part of the accord. This caused the gradual phase out of CFCs.

While this is a big success story, it is by no means a perfect story. Two big culprits in ozone depletion with CFC is methyl bromide and hydrochloroflourocarbons. While Methyl Bromide was supposed to be phased out by 2005, many companies have won exceptions to the ban. Hydrochlorofluorocarbons are not going to be phased out until 2020.

That being said, many companies have made great headway to eliminate CFCs in aerosol cans, but the problem with aerosol does not stop there. The following reasons are why Layla and I will be banning CFCs in our home, courtesy of Montgomery County.
  • Ounce for ounce, spray on product sold in aerosol cans is about twice the cost of bulk product. You pay for propellants in every aerosol can (10 to 15 percent by weight).
  • Carbon dioxide, propane and butane are commonly used aerosol propellants that are also "greenhouse gases" that contribute to global warming and smog formation.
  • Aerosol cans of solvent-based brake cleaners contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that contribute to ozone and smog formation and harm worker's health.
  • Used aerosol cans that are not empty may be considered hazardous waste. Under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), aerosol cans may only be recycled or disposed of as non-hazardous wastes if they have been emptied through normal use or punctured and drained to remove significant liquids. (Shops are responsible for properly managing any captured wastes recovered from puncturing and draining.)
We don't buy hairspray, mouse, deodorant (in aerosol form, we usually use a baking soda deodorant), and we will not be buying any other products that use aerosols