Green Products Possible – They Just Suck
Responding to Kevin Drum‘s observation that no-phosphate dishwashing detergent suddenly became possible when regulation demanded it, proving that theretofore “The industry just didn’t feel like doing it,” Megan McArdle retorts, “when I look back at almost every ‘environmentally friendly’ alternative product I’ve seen being widely touted as a cost-free way to lower our footprint, held back only by the indecent vermin at ‘industry’ who don’t care about the environment, I notice a common theme: the replacement good has really really sucked compared to the old, inefficient version.” She offers several examples, ranging from low flush toilets to ‘energy efficient’ clothes driers.
She concedes — as do I — that these tradeoffs may in fact be worthwhile if the “good” existing product is truly dangerous to our habitat. But it’s important to at least weigh the costs and benefits and not treat the “green” alternatives as a cost-free exchange.
Photo by Flickr user sassiecat under Creative Commons license.