What One Person Can Do: Top Ten Tips for Cleaner Air and a Healthier Planet
Summer is smog season. To check air pollution levels around the county, see Todays Air Quality. To find out more about ozone and other air pollutants, see this page. Read on for tips on greener living.
1. Use less electricity. Use compact fluorescent light bulbs or LED lights, and look for the most energy-efficient appliances when you're shopping. Use plug strips with on/off switches to keep equipment like cell phone chargers plugged in but not constantly drawing power. Think about installing solar panels, or a passive solar water heater.
2. Drive less: Walk, bike or take the bus or train instead of driving solo whenever you can. Try telecommuting.
3. When you do drive: combine car trips, carpool, keep your car tuned up, and your tire pressures up, and don’t top off your tank at the gas station—stop fueling when the pump shuts off (see more info here). If you're in the market for a new car, consider a Clean-Air Car.
4. Use less toxic products. Lemon juice, vinegar, soap, water, baking soda, borax, and a coarse scrubbing sponge can handle many household cleaning tasks. Paint with water-based paints, wash clothes by hand instead of dry cleaning, and avoid insecticides and pesticides.
5. Shop local. Buy locally produced goods and foods whenever you can. You'll be reducing the energy use and pollution from transportation of products and at the same time supporting our local economy.
6. Shop sustainable. Think about the products you are buying, and their lifecycles. Consider how the product was produced, how it will be used, and how it will be disposed of. And support companies that care about the environment with your buying power.
7. Convert a wood fireplace to a natural gas one if you can. Have your chimney cleaned regularly, and build small hot fires rather than large smoldering ones. Never burn any of these in your fireplace: charcoal, coal, holiday greens, plastics (including plastic wrap, cups, plates, etc.), chemicals, wrapping paper, magazines, or any colored or coated papers (including newspaper inserts, junk mail, colored comics, etc.).
8. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Yes, this phrase has been around a long time, but it's still a good way to think about your choices. Use less, consume less, reuse materials, recycle, and buy products that are recyclable and/or made from recycled materials.
9. Use an electric mower or push mower instead of a gas-powered mower, use a broom instead of a leaf blower, and if you use a landscaping service, try to make sure it follows green practices.
10. Learn more and share what you learn. See other pages on this website to get informed: Today's Air Quality; Pollutants and Our Health, Climate Change. Know a teacher? Tell him or her about our grants program. Know someone with a diesel engine? Tell him or her about our funds for cleaner engines. Know a business owner? Tell him or her about the Green Business Program. Know someone with an old car? They can check our our Old Car Buy Back program.
Other useful websites:
A few other ideas:
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