Try to use less pish-pish

January 10, 2012

… I mean windshield washer fluid

Tis the season of pish-pish.  (That’s my wife’s nickname for windshield washer fluid.)  On cool winter days when busy roads are wet with slush, we use the stuff almost constantly as we drive.

Most windshield washer fluids contain methyl alcohol.  The good news is that it biodegrades quickly in the soil or evaporates readily in the air.  The bad news about methyl alcohol is:

  • Most of it is produced synthetically from – you guessed it – fossil fuels
  • In its raw form, it is both poisonous and flammable (and windshield washer jugs have ‘Danger’ logos as evidence of that)
  • Once evaporated, it contributes to the formation of smog
  • We release SO MUCH of it across North America – imagine the millions and millions of litres every winter

What to do?

  • Look for windshield washer that is made from plant-based ethanol (though it too has its issues)
  • If possible, increase the distance between yourself and the vehicle ahead of you to minimize spray; drive in the driest part of your lane to reduce the spray you generate for the vehicle behind you; and avoid rush hour traffic if that’s an option.  As well, strive to use only the amount of fluid you need each time you wash the windshield.  But please use good judgement, and NEVER compromise road safety!!

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