Air freshening systems as a means of combating unpleasant malodors in indoor environments have been around for decades, and their popularity only seems to be growing over time. According to industry analysts, the global air freshener market is expected to reach $12 billion by 2023. However, as concerns about the environment and safety have increased for customers and businesses alike, certain air care technologies have come under attack, including the most popular type: Aerosols.
The Issue with Aerosols
Despite their ongoing popularity, aerosols pose health risks, especially with long-term exposure, and also negatively impact the environment.
Aerosols and human health: The first aerosol spray air freshener was based off a design used by the U.S. military in insecticide sprays. The aerosol cans used a chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) propellant to disperse fragrance compounds throughout indoor environments. Over time, as testing of the aerosol sprays became stricter, many voiced concerns over the negative effects of CFCs like acetone found in air fresheners. Aerosols also release volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cautions against exposure to VOCs, which easily turn into a vapor at room temperature. In the 1980s, the Natural Resource Defense Council found that 12 out of 14 common air fresheners were causing negative side effects in people with asthma.
Aerosols and the environment: Aerosols release VOCs like butane, propane and isopropyl alcohol into the air and lead to high carbon emissions that are a detriment to our environment. Furthermore, aerosol cans are pressurized and therefore difficult to recycle, since their contents must be completely empty to avoid setting off explosions due to flammable gasses inside. Since many aerosols on the market require frequent refills, users end up replacing them often and spent cartridges usually end up in landfills.
A Fresh Innovation in Air Care
Since red flags were raised about the effects of aerosol sprays on both the environment and user health, new air freshening trends have hit the market. For example, continuous fragrancing is a recent air care option that allows a scent to permeate a space at the same level of intensity over a long period of time. Devices that adhere to this trend include ones that use innovative oxygen fuel-cell technology to release fragrance consistently, systems that harness piezo technology and diffusers. However, not all of these solutions are created equal.
Fuel-cell technology has been used in a wide variety of applications from large scale power production to computers and medical devices. Air freshening systems that use Oxy-Gen Powered fuel cells release a precise dose of oxygen that applies pressure to a bladder of high-quality fragrance oil. After leaving the fragrance pouch, scented molecules are evenly dispersed by the room’s natural air movement, unlike aerosols which rely on gravity to disperse a fragrance and may not work properly every single time. The continuous work of the fuel cell ensures consistent delivery of odor-eliminating fragrances into the air.
Unlike aerosols and the other alternatives, air fresheners that rely on oxygen fuel-cell technology are easy to recycle and have a significantly lower carbon footprint, thereby reducing their overall environmental impact. The fragrances have no CFCs, propellants, alcohols or allergens, and no added VOCs or solvents, making this solution an environmentally friendly choice. Furthermore, while other air care technologies require frequent refills, users who choose an innovative solution have the option to set scent delivery for 30, 60 or 90 days and then benefit from a fresh, continuous scent at the same level of intensity over a longer period of time.
As aerosols become a thing of the past, it’s up to businesses to take the time to switch to innovative air care solutions that benefit the environment and consider the well-being of facility occupants. Whether it be refills that are 100% recyclable or fragrances that do not contain harmful chemicals that can cause allergic reactions, the trend of sustainable odor control is one that’s here to stay.