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Carbon Dioxide-spewing factories ... cars ... those giant cans of hairspray from the 80s: These are things we know are bad for the environment. They deplete the ozone layer, lead to climate change, etc: all-around bad for the environment. While society is making great strides in some directions with things like zero-emission cars and super-efficient solar cells, Matt Lieberman finds five common products--some of which you might even use on a daily basis--that are in need of serious eco-makeovers.
Take for example your gas-powered lawn mower: running one emits as much pollution as ELEVEN CARS. When you consider that Americans alone use 50 million of these a week, environmental scientists think they may contributed to as much as 5% of air pollution in the U.S. And that's just the tip of the (melting) iceberg: a 2011 study found that most hand-held leaf blowers emit almost 299 times the amount of hydrocarbons as a pick-up truck. In their report "Good Up High, Bad Down Low", the EPA warned about the environmental dangers air conditioning units: The CFCs they give off cause a build-up of ozone in our lower atmosphere which, in turn, causes smog build-up. The other items discussed in this episode of DNews might surprise you.
So why haven't engineers figured out how to build versions of these items that don't wreck the environment? Maybe it's just a matter of time ... but until then, are you going to think twice about using them? Let us know down below in the comments.
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How bad are lighters for the environment? (GreenAnswers.com)
"A typical lighter releases about 237 milligrams of carbon dioxide per minute."
Generators that relieve power grid worsen ozone pollution (Phys.org)
"Cornell engineers have found that firing up diesel backup generators in non-emergency situations triggers rising atmospheric ozone concentrations due to additional nitrogen oxide emissions."
The Effect of Home Air Conditioners on the Environment (e-How.com)
"Air conditioning in the home is probably one of the signature marks of an industrialized nation."
How bad for the environment are gas-powered leaf blowers? (Washington Post)
"To most people, falling leaves are a beautiful sign of the changing seasons."
Cleaner Air: Gas Mower Pollution Facts (PeoplePoweredMachines.com)
"Each weekend, about 54 million Americans mow their lawns, using 800 million gallons of gas per year and producing tons of air pollutants."