August 10, 2011 • Electricity, Emerging Technology, Perspectives

On the road with eco plastics

by Sarah McKee

Jeff Bridges as "The Dude"

My car (a ’99 Honda Accord with 175,000+ miles) has been paid off for several months now and with all the new entries in the market, I’m officially shopping for a new car.   (The Dude, Jeff Bridges, is quite convincing about the new Hyndai Sonata.)  Fellow WaterCooler blogger, Eric Bickel is also making me see fuel economy in a whole new way.  Now, the question is, do I go hybrid and put into practice a personal sustainability strategy?

According to MotorTrend, there are 35 new hybrid vehicles on the market, ranging from $108,800 (Lexus) to $15,455 (Honda).  While not all of these are in my price range, there are a lot of options to consider.  One notable vehicle, the Lexus HS 250h, uses carbon-neutral ecological plastic materials in its passenger compartment.  It also is the first vehicle to use eco plastics in its trunk area covering.   Plastics definitely get a bad rap just for being plastics, but now with the onset of environmentally-friendly plastic alternatives, dubbed “eco plastics,” maybe there’s hope for plastic yet!

Traditional plastics made from petroleum products take a very long time to decompose in landfills.  Not only does eco plastic offer a way to reduce the environmental impact of products that contain it, but it also reduces greenhouse gas emissions, emitting 20% less carbon dioxide.

I’m not sure if the Lexus HS 250h is the next car for me, but I’ll certainly take another look at it and all the other options out there.  Here’s hoping that by the end of the year, I can make His Dudeness proud.

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