Are air fresheners bad for the environment?
We are a nation that love to have our homes, cars, or workplaces smelling nice and pleasant. And who could blame us! Walking into a nice smelling home is great. But what do we really know about those products we buy to make it smell nice? Most of us will have bought an air freshener at some point in our lives. Yet, something that isn’t really talked about too much is the effects that these products have on our environment.
What makes air fresheners so bad for the environment?
Contributes to indoor air pollution
- Despite what air fresheners set out to do, they actually emit and generate a range of potentially hazardous air pollutants that can impair air quality.
- Air fresheners can emit over 100 different chemicals, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which contribute to indoor air pollution.
- VOCs that are released from air fresheners can then react with compunds that already exist in the air, such as ozone, to create secondary pollutants. This adds even more chemicals to the air, causing even more air pollution.
- And this doesn’t just stop indoors. These chemicals can also migrate outside and add to outdoor air pollution, through things such as photochemical smog.
- Don’t be fooled by these ‘green’ or ‘eco friendly’ air fresheners. They also emit harmful air pollutants and have a negative impact on air quality.
They tend to be made of plastic
- Most of us know that plastics have a really bad impact on our planet. They’re usually single use, they don’t break down, they’re in our oceans and soils, and we’re making far too much of it.
- Air fresheners are just another part of this problem. They’re typically single use items, unless you’ve opted for a plug in or refillable product. We use them and throw them away, and this waste then ends up in overflowing landfills or in our environments.
- Even with the refillable products, the refills will most likely come in single use plastics. Plastics that can probably be recycled, but even then it’s still creating unecessary waste.
What are the alternatives?
Here are some of the things you can do instead to keep your space smelling nice and clean:
- If there’s a bad smell you’re trying to get rid of, find the source instead.
- Open up your windows to bring in new and fresh air.
- Make sure your appliances are well ventilated – especially the smelly food ones!
- Ensure your space is cleaned regularly to avoid any bad smells developing in the first place.
Or it might also be worth considering air sterilisers. These are nifty devices that use a technology which creates UV light, ozone, and negatively-charged ions. These all exist in the environment already, so are safe, and are quite powerful methods of disinfection. They eliminate bacteria, viruses, mould, and can break down those unwanted chemicals and smells.
Having an air steriliser really helps in cleaning the air around you, and can even go towards reducing the likelihood and risk of COVID-19 being and staying present in your space.