Managing Our Carbon Footprint: The Bright Side of Carbon Dioxide

We hear it all the time—we need to reduce our carbon footprint. There are companies such as Liquid Light that have discovered innovative ways to reduce the negative effects of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide, said to be the leading cause of climate change, is the biggest byproduct produced by mass transportation and manufacturing plants. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that carbon dioxide is responsible for 76 percent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Liquid Light proposed groundbreaking technology that recycles carbon dioxide into other chemicals that can be used in everyday products. Emily Cole, cofounder and chief science officer of Liquid Light, believes recycling carbon dioxide is necessary in order to change the way we reduce our carbon footprint.

“We take carbon dioxide from its source [like power plants or factories], add water and electricity to it, and create liquid fuels and chemicals such as ethylene glycol and glycolic acid,” said Cole.

Liquid Light’s efforts could greatly help reduce GHG emissions, as well as reduce the cost of producing the materials used to make products like plastic bottles. According to the website, Ban the Bottle, 17 million barrels of oil are needed each year for the production of plastic bottles, which doesn’t include fuel for the transportation involved in the process. The end products of recycled carbon dioxide could replace the petroleum used in not only the production of plastic bottles, but also during the making of asphalt, cleaning products, aspirin and synthetic rubber.

When it comes to reducing our carbon footprint and recycling, many people believe that it is just a way to divert waste and feel better about the act without it actually making an impact. This couldn’t be more wrong. Recycling will not have a true impact if we do not change the way we live and consume. If we continue to use petroleum instead of alternative chemicals, our carbon footprint will continue to depress greatly. In order to sustain a reasonable use of our resources, we need to make sure that we are extracting said sources at a lower or equal-to value. Thanks to companies such as Liquid Light, we might be able to expedite the process of leveling the rate at which we use resources that are harmful to our environment.

By Kimberly Dallmann, GMC Writer

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