Well, I don't always wait for cost parity to buy the (truly) green alternative, depending to some extent on how badly the non-green alternative is hurting ecosystems and wildlife. The more damaging the non-green product, the more likely I'll pay more for green. Lots of people, although by no means a majority, vote this way with their pocketbooks.
Yes, Ann, I've seen the cost difference come down as well and it has affected my choices. The cost difference on many products has become negligible. When that's the case, I choose the more sustainable product. Also, sometimes -- such as lighting -- the sustainable product is often more economical if you calculate the long run.
Most studies I've seen have shown that US consumers won't pay extra for sustainable, eco-friendly products, but that's apparently been shifting over the last few years: some definitely will, and the cost difference has shrunk.
Thanks for the explanation, Rob. I agree, the US is still catching up with Europe in that regard, but it does seem to be happening. I'd say one definition of "significant traction" is the increase in laws banning single-use plastic bags, which consumers (meaning everyone who buys anything) voted for. Another is definitely not buying/boycotting non-green products, which has certainly happened in the US. Greenwashing or not, more consumers are buying more "green" products.
Ann, what I meant by significant traction is just what you explained, that consumers are making their voices heard when it comes to green products, I know that European consumers have been willing to pay a premium for green products for some time. I also know that US consumers have lagged in this area. Maybe not any longer.
Rob, I don't know how specific the link from a consumer's pocketbook to a company's profits has been in the US. But that's not the only way they make known their demands--another is the voting booth--and everyone in bioplastics has told me consumer demand (meaning from everyone who buys anything) is what drove the changes--not to mention the entire sustainability movement. What do you mean, exactly by "significant traction"?
Hey, Ann, I didn't realize consumers were making their voice heard on bioplastics. Are they voting with their pocketbooks? I knew Europe and Japan had consumer bases that preferred green, but I didn't realize that green had gained significant traction in the U.S.
Artificially created metamaterials are already appearing in niche applications like electronics, communications, and defense, says a new report from Lux Research. How quickly they become mainstream depends on cost-effective manufacturing methods, which will include additive manufacturing.
SpaceX has 3D printed and successfully hot-fired a SuperDraco engine chamber made of Inconel, a high-performance superalloy, using direct metal laser sintering (DMLS). The company's first 3D-printed rocket engine part, a main oxidizer valve body for the Falcon 9 rocket, launched in January and is now qualified on all Falcon 9 flights.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and MIT have 3D-printed a new class of metamaterials that are both exceptionally light and have exceptional strength and stiffness. The new metamaterials maintain a nearly constant stiffness per unit of mass density, over three orders of magnitude.
Smart composites that let the material's structural health be monitored automatically and continuously are getting closer to reality. R&D partners in an EU-sponsored project have demonstrated what they say is the first complete, miniaturized, fiber-optic sensor system entirely embedded inside a fiber-reinforced composite.
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