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Every Day P2

The best way to prevent pollution is to reduce, eliminate, or prevent it in the first place by:

  • Conserving water and energy resources
  • Choosing less toxic or nontoxic products
  • Using reusable, repairable, refillable, and durable products
  • Protecting natural resources through conservation

At Home

Hoosiers can find opportunities to reduce solid and toxic waste in their households:

  • Conserve energy:
    • Turn off equipment, lights, and unplug appliances when they are not in use.
    • By replacing your light fixtures with energy conserving compact fluorescent bulbs or LEDs, you will save 75 percent of the energy used with incandescent bulbs. Read more about how CFLs can help you save money, use less energy, reduce light bulb changes, and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
    • Increase natural light. Paint your exterior and interior walls in a light color so more light is reflected, and open blinds to bring in natural light instead of turning on lights during the day.
    • Insulate pipes and fixtures. Insulate the hot water heater and heating and cooling pipes. An insulation blanket for a water heater will pay for itself in a year or less and will reduce heat loss by 25-40 percent.
    • Use hand-operated versus motorized gadgets (e.g., can openers, pencil sharpeners, and screwdrivers).
    • Use renewable energy (solar, wind, and/or geothermal power) when possible.
  • Conserve water:
    • Use water conserving fixtures (e.g., ultra-low flush toilets, low-flow faucets and showerheads).
    • Turn off water while brushing teeth and shaving and take shorter showers.
    • Compost your food scraps rather than using a garbage disposal in your sink.
    • Run your washing machine with a full load of clothes. Wash with warm water instead of hot, rinse with cold water instead of warm. Wash with cold water when you can. (When possible) hang your wash out to dry.
  • Reduce toxics:
    • Use less toxic or nontoxic products such as cleaners and home improvement materials (e.g., water-based paints) by selecting Safer Choice products.
    • Use propylene glycol instead of ethylene glycol antifreeze.
    • Practice integrated pest management to reduce pests.
  • Extend the life of equipment and products:
    • Repair equipment instead of purchasing new whenever possible.
    • Be careful when using a product to avoid wasting it.
    • Redistribute items through second-hand stores, garage sales, and donations to charitable organizations.
    • Use rechargeable instead of disposable batteries.

Outdoors

  • Prevent pollution from mowers and lawn chemicals, reduce maintenance costs, promote biodiversity, and provide a sanctuary for flora and fauna:
    • Convert lawns to natural areas with a diversity of native plants (e.g., wildflowers, groundcovers, and grasses).
    • Grow your garden organically and build the soil to encourage populations of desirable insects and birds, by using only organic pesticides and mulches.
    • Cut your grass at least three inches high to shade the roots, making it more drought tolerant; keep your mower sharp for the healthiest grass.
    • Leave grass clippings where they fall to facilitate recycling nutrients back into the soil. If clippings are collected, compost them with garden waste, hand-raked leaves, and organic kitchen waste.
    • Use native plants in garden areas, as they tend to naturally resist insects, infections, and fungus and can withstand local weather conditions such as extreme heat, cold, or drought.
  • Conserve water by:
    • Using drought-tolerant plants and grasses for landscaping and reduce grass-covered areas.
    • Reduce watering cycles when weather appropriate, and try to water only in the evening or very early morning to minimize evaporation.
    • Install a drip-irrigation water system for valuable plants.
    • Reroute rooftop drainage pipes from draining rainwater into the storm sewer to draining it into rainwater harvesting systems such as rain barrels or permeable pavement.
    • Use a broom instead of a hose to clean off your driveway or sidewalk.

When Traveling

Citizens can minimize fuel consumption, toxic emissions, road degradation, tire wear, and the number of spent vehicle bodies:

  • Walk or ride a bike for short trips.
    • Limit your driving -- use public transit (bus or train), combine trips, and share a ride (carpool).
  • Maximize fuel efficiency (accelerate gradually, obey speed limits, and properly inflate tires to the correct pressure levels).
  • Try these air quality tips.

At the Store

  • Make environmentally friendly purchases:
    • Buy products that are:
      • Less toxic or nontoxic by selecting Safer Choice products
      • Long lasting and reusable instead of single use
      • Repairable (maintain them to prolong usefulness)
      • Sold in bulk, economy-sized, or in concentrated form
      • In refillable containers that can be returned for reuse
  • Choose products that have little or no packaging.
  • Take reusable shopping bags with you.
  • Purchase higher efficiency electronics and appliances with the Energy Star label.

At Work

  • Conserve energy:
    • Purchase higher-efficiency models with the U.S. EPA Energy Star label when replacing equipment.
    • Put computers, printers, and other equipment into energy saver/sleep mode when they are not being used.
    • Turn off lights when not in use or install energy efficient motion sensor lighting.
  • Reduce paper waste:
    • Use electronic mail or the telephone.
      • Photocopy on both sides of the paper and only copy when absolutely necessary.
    • Use a reusable coffee mug and water bottle.
    • Use refillable ink pens.

For More Ideas: