In about 1999, my family and I went to visit some friends of the family in Port Alberni, BC. When the hostess pulled out the can to the left of this paragraph to spray some olive oil on a pan, I was intrigued. A couple years later, I came across one of these Mistos at The Bay, and purchased it. They were about 60% more expensive back then compared to now, but I would do it all over if I could. At the time, I was concerned (mistakenly) about aerosols, because concerns about aerosols and CFCs had somehow become an issue, so in my mind buying a Misto was an excellent way to address that problem. The issue with aerosols and CFCs was apparently resolved decades prior to that, because now a different propellant is used in aerosol sprays that does not contribute to the greenhouse effect. I'm not 100% sure I believe that there is no damage caused by aerosols in their current form, but for the sake of this blog entry, I'm willing accept it for now.
In any event, we will assume that aerosols are safe and that no negative effects arise as a result of the actual act of spraying them. Are there any other reasons why someone being eco-friendly and trying to save money might still think of investing a little extra money to purchase a Misto? Well, to start off, there is the fact that I have spent about $1.00 on cooking spray in the past decade that I've had my Misto (other than the initial up-front investment of about $15.00 for the Misto). I have had to refill it either twice or three times since I got it. I'm not sure what others spend on cooking sprays, but I'm going to have to guess that even one disposable can costs more than that. Multiplied by the number of cans that a household might go through in a decade and I think the Misto comes out as the clear winner on the economical front.
When it comes to the environmental impact, it seems that the reusable nature of the Misto would have a clear advantage over disposable cans. I'm not 100% sure whether the manufacturing process to make the Misto bottle would create an equal or greater impact than one disposable can, but I can imagine that it would, give the fact that it is made of heavier metal. Nevertheless, when you take into account the number of additional cans that the Misto will eliminate the need for, I am going to assume that the manufacturing impact is less overall for the Misto. Also, because it means you send less garbage to recycling (it appears that cooking spray cans may be recycled, at least in some areas), there is less environmental impact and energy used over the lifetime of the product.
So, you may ask, how are Mistos used and would I buy one again? Whenever I am thinking of buying something, I always try to ask others whether they would consider buying the same product again. This has saved me hundreds of dollars on products that I thought would be great, but don't work well in practice. The Misto works by the operator pushing down and pumping the lid of the Misto bottle, which pushes air into the canister and builds up pressure. After a few pumps (about four or five before it becomes too difficult to continue pumping due to pressure build up) you take off the lid to spray the oil just like any other cooking spray, except that it will not continue spraying for more than about seven seconds or so. When I oil my muffin tins, for example, I can spray the spaces for about three of the muffins before I have to re-pump. The only time I have run into any issues with the Misto have been the result of operator-error, i.e. when I have sprayed for too long and the Misto has lost pressure, then the oil comes out in a stream as opposed to a spray. When you run out of oil in the Misto, you can unscrew the top, rinse it out, then refill it.