Skip to content

Earth Month Tip: Turn off the tap

2014 April 23

Conserving water helps conserve energy and reduce carbon pollution.

Just by turning off the tap while you brush your teeth in the morning and before bedtime, you can save up to 8 gallons of water! That adds up to more than 200 gallons a month.

More tips: http://www.epa.gov/earthday/actonclimate/

 

 

 

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

“How Does Stuff Get Recycled?  Join Reading Rainbow to Find Out”

2014 April 23

By Jeffrey Levy

It’s important to reduce how much trash we create, and then reuse stuff as much as possible.  But some things you just can’t figure out how to reuse, so recycling is much better than throwing them away. Recycling conserves natural resources and saves energy, helping to protect our climate.

So when you see a bottle or can on the ground, or are finished with a piece of paper, recycle it!  Don’t toss it in the trash.

Now, have you ever wondered what happens after the recycling gets picked up? For Earth Day this year, Reading Rainbow created a great video that shows us the answer. Follow along as LeVar Burton explores how recycling turns old paper, glass and metal back into stuff we can use.  After you watch the video, learn more on our website about reducing, reusing, and recycling.  (Psst, kids! Try out these fun games and activities.)

About the author: Jeffrey Levy is EPA’s Director of Web Communications.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Earth Month Tip: Spread the word

2014 April 22

Happy Earth Day!

One of the most powerful things you can do to act on climate is talk to your friends and neighbors about the challenge we face. This Earth Day, talk to five about climate action.

Why five? If five of your friends, for example, replaced five 60-watt light bulbs with 13-watt Energy Star bulbs, it would save over 50,000 pounds of carbon pollution over the life of the bulb. That’s equivalent to one of the following:

a)  the annual carbon pollution from 5 passenger vehicles
b) the carbon pollution associated with 2,780 gallons of gasoline
c)  3.4 homes’ electricity use for one year

Small changes make a big difference. Tell friends to visit epa.gov/earthday to learn more about reducing carbon pollution.

More tips: http://www.epa.gov/earthday/actonclimate/

 

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Earth Month Tip: Reuse!

2014 April 21

The most effective way to reduce waste is to avoid creating it in the first place. The process of making a new product creates carbon pollution. As a result, reduction and reuse are the most effective ways you can save natural resources, protect the environment, and save money.

Ever heard the old refrain, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure? Instead of discarding unwanted appliances, tools, or clothes, try selling or donating them. Not only will you be reducing waste, you’ll be helping others.

Check out more tips for reusing.

More tips: http://www.epa.gov/earthday/actonclimate/

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Earth Month Tip: Check Out Energy Star’s Save Energy at Home tool to save money and reduce carbon pollution

2014 April 20

Energy Star’s Save Energy at Home Tool can guide you in making your home more energy efficient — whether you do it yourself or hire a qualified professional. The online tool has tips for saving energy all around your home and targets each room individually.
Remember, when you save energy, you’re saving money and cutting carbon pollution.

Try the tool: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=popuptool.atHome 

More tips: http://www.epa.gov/earthday/actonclimate/

actonclimate20

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Earth Month Tip: Clean the area around the outdoor components of your HVAC system.

2014 April 19

Did you know as much as half of your household energy use goes to heating and cooling? Airflow problems can reduce your HVAC system’s efficiency by up to 15% and contribute to carbon pollution. In fact, dirt and neglect are the top causes of heating and cooling system inefficiency and failure.

Check out EPA’s A Guide to Energy-Efficient Heating and Cooling for more to learn how to keep your HVAC system clean and efficient.

More tips: http://www.epa.gov/earthday/actonclimate/

actonclimate19

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Earth Month Tip: Check your tire pressure

2014 April 18

You can improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3% by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Under-inflation increases tire wear, reduces your fuel economy, and leads to higher carbon pollution emissions. Properly inflated tires are safer and last longer.
Check your tire pressure regularly. If you don’t know the correct tire pressure for your vehicle, you can find it listed on the door to your vehicle’s glove compartment, or on the driver’s-side door pillar. Do not use the maximum pressure printed on the tire’s sidewall. When it’s time for new tires, consider purchasing tires with “low rolling resistance,” an energy-saving feature.

Learn more tips to improve your fuel economy: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/driveHabits.jsp
More tips: http://www.epa.gov/earthday/actonclimate/

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Earth Month Tip: Reduce food waste

2014 April 17

Thirteen percent of carbon pollution emissions in the United States are associated with the growing, manufacturing, transporting, and disposing of food. More food reaches landfills and incinerators than any other single material in municipal solid waste. In 2012 alone, more than 36 million tons of food waste was generated, with only five percent diverted from landfills and incinerators for composting. Reducing the amount of food wasted has significant economic, social & environmental benefits – including the reduction of carbon pollution.

Reducing food waste reduces methane and other greenhouse gas emissions and improves sanitation, public safety, and overall health. By reducing the amount of food we waste, we can reduce carbon pollution and improve quality of life for Americans.

Learn more: http://www2.epa.gov/recycle/reducing-wasted-food-basics

More tips: http://www.epa.gov/earthday/actonclimate/

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Lead Paint: Doing What’s Right

2014 April 17

By Jessica Orquina

The first home I owned was built in the late 1800s. When I had it renovated, the contactors talked to me about what they had to do to protect me and their workers from the hazards of lead paint. I was glad to know that the people working on my home were going to be following proper procedures and building codes. Now, I live in a newer building, but I’m also a new mom. I’m concerned about protecting my son from harmful lead paint chips and dust where he plays and learns.

Reputable builders understand the public benefits from their meeting building code and environmental requirements.  They also know it benefits their business, especially when marketing knowledge, skills and reputation to potential customers.

Since I began working at EPA I’ve learned more about the Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule and how it is implemented. This rule is designed to protect children and other vulnerable Americans from the effects of lead paint.

There have always been suspicions about the health hazards caused by lead. It’s now known that lead is a persistent, toxic chemical that builds up in people’s bodies.  Among other problems, it interferes with the development of the nervous system.  That means it’s particularly dangerous to very young children, where it can cause learning and behavioral disorders. As a result, lead was banned from paint in the US in the mid-70s.

For these reasons, the RRP rule requires workers involved with the home renovation business to be trained and certified in work practice standards.  These standards help reduce the health risks from exposure to lead based paint. The rule applies not only to construction workers, but to painters, electricians, plumbers, and anyone else whose work may disturb painted surfaces. Note to do-it-yourselfers: the risks from lead paint dust are just as great in your own work. The rule doesn’t cover you, but you still should follow lead-safe work practices.

My colleagues at EPA work hard to increase compliance with the RRP rule. For example, we provide plain language compliance resources for construction workers and ask people to submit tips and complaints to us. We also work to bring companies, like Lowe’s Home Centers, into compliance after our inspections found their contractors were not using lead-safe work practices.

As a consumer, remember to make sure you’re hiring certified renovators who use the correct work practices. Contractors that are certified under the RRP rule are encouraged to display EPA’s “Lead-Safe” logo on their workers’ uniforms, signs, and website.  Protect yourself by looking for this logo before hiring a home contractor. Whether you’re installing new windows or finishing your basement, using the correct renovating methods will pay dividends to you and your family, and to the next person that rents or buys your house.  If you hire uncertified renovators, it not only creates potential lead paint risks for your family, but reduces the incentive for other renovators to pay the extra cost to comply with the rule. For more information, visit the Renovation, Repair and Painting Program website.

About the author: Jessica Orquina works in the Office of External Affairs and Environmental Education as the social media lead for the agency. Prior to joining EPA, she served as a military and commercial airline pilot. She lives, works, and writes in Washington, DC.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Earth Month Tip: Fix a leak

2014 April 16

Water conservation helps save energy and reduces carbon pollution.

Fixing small household leaks can make a huge difference. Small leaks can add up to gallons of water lost every day. Household leaks can waste more than 1 trillion gallons annually nationwide — that’s the equivalent of the annual household water use of more than 11 million homes!

The average household’s leaks can account for more than 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year, or the amount of water needed to wash 270 loads of laundry.

Common types of leaks found in the home are worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets, and other leaking valves. These types of leaks are often easily correctable, in many cases requiring only a few tools and hardware that can pay for themselves in water savings.

 

Learn more: http://www.epa.gov/watersense/our_water/howto.html

More tips: http://www.epa.gov/earthday/actonclimate/

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.