Image via Hammacher Schlemmer
One would think a houseplant would be good enough for purifying the air in a room. But leave it to humans to try and improve upon the process by putting said plant into a machine. Check out the Botanical Air Purifier.Call it a botanical air purifier, or a plant inside a machine with a fan. Either way, it's an odd little device whose main purpose is to suck in air and circulate it around a plant's roots and leaves.
Yet, according to the retail website, it's the winner of a Popular Science Invention Award. Go figure.
Drawing on NASA research, the botanical air purifier removes common household VOCs, including formaldehyde and other toxins emitted from paint, carpets, and adhesives, and recirculates clean air into your home. A study performed by Le Laboratoire of Paris found that the device reduces the concentration of formaldehyde by 50% in 30 minutes, 10 times faster than a traditional air filtration system.
If you feel the need to drop $200 on a gadget, rather than $20 on a couple extra houseplants, then go for it. However, the plants on their own and a closer look at the other products you use that put VOCs in your home in the first place is more effective, and definitely more green. Just make sure you're buying plants that take VOCs out of the air, and don't put more into it.
More on House Plants
Bad Green: Some Indoor Plants Release Volatile Organic Compounds
VOCs: Volatile Organic Compounds, Indoor Air Quality and Respiratory Health
Book About Air-Filtering Plants: How to Grow Fresh Air