We celebrate the first autumn days of the year this week and although it’s a time to dream of fresh, clean, non humid, cool air, it’s also a great time to focus on how to keep the air around us less polluted.
We’re in Pollution Prevention Week, which highlights actions that reduce, eliminate or prevent pollution where it starts. Sometimes these practices also help consumers save money that would have been spent on wasted energy.
Here are some tips from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality:
- Turn off the lights and use energy-saving light bulbs: Lighting factors about 12 percent into a household’s yearly electric bill. By simply switching out 15 incandescent bulbs with energy-saving bulbs, you could save about $50 per year.
- Reduce standby power: Unplug or turn electronics off at a power strip when you’re not using them. This “standby power” accounts for 5-10 percent of your home’s energy use, about $180 per year.
- Buy locally: It supports the local economy, reduces emissions from refrigeration and transportation of foods, and cuts back on packing materials. Buy Texas organic products that are produced without synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers.
- Use less toxic cleaning products: This can reduce pollutants in both the air and water, and may help improve the air quality in your house.
- Apply pesticides and fertilizers according to the label’s directions, and only use the recommended amount. Excessive watering or a rainstorm can wash away the chemical excess—wasting your money and endangering nearby waterways.
- Drive less: To reduce air emissions, take your lunch to the office, carpool, use public transit or combine errands. Removing one properly maintained car from the road for one year prevents about 17 pounds of nitrogen oxides from being discharged into the air.
- Take care of your tires: More than 3 million tires were sent to Texas landfills last year. Test your tire tread monthly. Insert a penny upside down. Your tread is too low when you can see the top of Lincoln’s head.
For more tips like these, visit TakeCareOfTexas.org.