Sunday, January 24, 2010

What is made from Oil

In the quest to reduce our dependence on oil, many people think only of conserving gasoline. When people discuss the threat of an oil crisis; transportation, and the impact of the of inhibited transportation on our society, are discussed as the primary impact. However, there are many other products we use in our daily life that would be scarce if our oil supply dwindled. Also, the consumption of these products increases each of our carbon footprints. Here are a few:

1. Plastics
2. Synthetic Fabrics: rayon, polyester, acrylic, nylon, etc.
3. Laundry Detergent
4. Soap
5. Cosmetics
6. Hand and Body Lotion
7. Candles
8. Carpet and Linoleum flooring
9. Ink
10. Crayons
12. Deodorant
13. Glue and adhesives of all types.
14. Tape
15. House Paint
16. Building Materials
17. Insulation
18. Tires
19. Shoes
20. Auto parts
21. Nail polish
22. Medications - Aspirin, Antihistamines, Cortisone and the capsules containing medication
23. Food preservatives
24. Shaving cream
25. Toothpaste
26. Eyeglasses
27. Solvents
28. Roofing materials
29. Balloons
30. Umbrellas

Recycling petroleum products is, at best, a partial solution. Plastics can only be recycled a limited number of times. Soap, shampoo, laundry detergent, health and beauty products and many other products can not be recycled.

Corn or plant based plastics are also only a partial solution. Not all of the products named can be made from plant plastics. The environmental impact of growing enough crops to replace all of these products would be enormous.

The bottom line is that the environmental problems of our time are complex and the solutions imperfect. The best solution is to reduce consumption these products, reuse and repurpose what we can, and hope for the best.

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