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Question of the Week: What are you doing to reduce pollution?

2009 September 21

Next year is the 20th anniversary of the Pollution Prevention Act, which made P2 the option of first choice for reducing air emissions, water discharges, preventing health and environmental exposures to harmful substances, and the generation of wastes.  Pollution Prevention Week is September 21-29.

What are you doing to reduce pollution?

Each week we ask a question related to the environment. Please let us know your thoughts as comments. Feel free to respond to earlier comments or post new ideas. Previous questions.

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.

39 Responses leave one →
  1. Huỳnh Nam permalink
    September 21, 2009

    hmm…i’m cleaning my house …and go every where on foot or bicycle instead of Motorbike :D

  2. Rolland Lusioli permalink
    September 21, 2009

    As for me a youth leader to be an example for other fellow young people I use bicycle or sometimes I walk on foot. Secondly organizing for campaign and sensitization in my town to do silent bicycle campaign to encourage people to use better means of transport.This Friday Sept 25th we have organized bicycle as one way of reducing carbon emissions ”better means of transport”

  3. Jackenson Durand permalink
    September 21, 2009

    I am a simple citizen, my role is not in the others level seat, and my voice only stays in the closer room. I am introducing the beauty of nature to each one who is in this closer area.
    Trying to make those few, understand the best way to protect, conserve this beauty.
    I find this important as well as recycling, reducing emission CO2.
    More and more people would understand this Art or nature; the most will reach the target for the generation future.

  4. Dave Eikelberg permalink
    September 21, 2009

    I have replaced all lighting in my house with the high efficiency bulbs, purchased and use an electric rechargeable lawnmower, had door seals replaced, added an extra 18 inches of insulation in the attic of the house, removed the old tank water heater and installed an on-demand water heater, cut back on landscape lighting time via timers, and installed timers on most lamps in the house so that they do not come on other than when needed and do not get left on accidentally. We plan our routes around town for the least mileage possible and consolidate trips whenever possible. We turn computers off when not in use and keep the thermostat up to 74 degrees in summer and down to 68 in Winter. We have replaced our washer, dryer, and refrigerator with Energy Star appliances.

    We also take advantage of recycling batteries when we replace them, utilize recycle services for household refuse, and have reduced chemical quantities for insect control in the yard.

  5. BGCoffeelover permalink
    September 21, 2009

    Here are a few things I have done to reduce pollution:
    1. Over the past few years I have purchased cars with better MPG.
    2. I have learned from my european friends that you don’t have a need to drive for anything less than a mile away… Use your feet!
    3. Recycle Aluminum of any kind.
    4. Avoid plastic of any kind.
    5. Use less electricity. If we all do it we can impact overall generation.

  6. P Palacios permalink
    September 21, 2009

    Nothing, But as a leader. What are you doing??????

  7. Thomas permalink
    September 21, 2009

    Saturday we signed a contract to replace our HVAC with geothermal.

  8. Ron Williams permalink
    September 22, 2009

    Established a recycling center in our office of 60 workers and this past 3 years has seen zero landfilling of our plastic and aluminum.

  9. Michael E. Bailey permalink
    September 22, 2009

    I am a member of my condo homeowner association board of directors and we are doing some things to reduce and conserve. We have started a complex wide recycling program with pickups three times a week. The people who live in the complex have taken to the recycling program in a major and positive way. It is illegal to dispose of household batteries in either the regular trash or in complex recycling bins. But the City of Mission Viejo has household battery collection points at all its city owned buildings where people can turn in their batteries and the city has a battery recycler contractor come and pick them up. The library is less than a block from our condo complex and our property manager is going to include a notice with the upcoming association dues bills for residents to turn their used batteries into the city library for recycling. We are also in the process of having recycled water supplied to the complex by the water district. Another thing we do to encourage recycling is we have the information we distribute on it printed up in English, Spanish, and Persian. This has helped to make the program successful. Best wishes, Michael E. Bailey.

  10. gs@e-esc.co.uk permalink
    September 22, 2009

    What a Disaster!
    the UK government has given away approx 150Million CFLs to unsuspecting consumers who will put them in the Bin to go to
    landfil and pollute the water

  11. Christine Pacinello permalink
    September 22, 2009

    In the past year I have made so many changes around my house that my electric usage has gone down by almost $400. Since our electric comes from burning coal, I am happy to say that we are reducing pollution!
    I bring my lunch in a reusable bag, I drink water out of a steel reusable container, and I drink coffee at home and work out of a reusable mug. We started a compost pile, which we use for our organic garden!
    As a parent of three children ages 16- 21, and a teacher, I hope to be a role model. I encourage students to bring in reusable water containers, and for those who don’t, I try to encourage them to organize a recycling system each year, since our school does not have receptacles for this.

  12. Alan Gregory permalink
    September 22, 2009

    I’ve been doing my part for nearly three decades, beginning with my Air Force career in San Antonio, Texas and continuing to service assignments in Georgia, Oklahoma, South Korea and New York State. I do a heck of a lot of walking and hiking. And I was a dedicated bicyclist until a little over two years ago when a car clipped me as I was cycling only a half-mile from here and suffered a traumatic brain injury. The borough in which I sit is becoming less walking friendly almost daily as more and more cars churn past. On top of all this, a statewide gasoline retailer hopes to construct a mega station less than a mile away. This, of course, would only make it easier for motorists to burn more gasoline, a fossil fuel, and pollute our commons, the atmosphere, with more pollutants, principally carbon dioxide. I have fond memories of exercise walking ona six-mile trail out and around the runway complex at Langley AFB, Va. By the way, what is the Air Force doing to reduce its use of fossil fuels, both in jets and on the ground?

  13. Alan Gregory permalink
    September 22, 2009

    How about a nationwide campaign to reduce or even eliminate the use of gaoline-powered lawn mowers? Or how about a campaign encouraging homeowners to give up their lawns entirely and help pollinators while also eliminating noise pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from polluting mowers?

  14. CharlieEgg permalink
    September 22, 2009

    We recycle EVERYTHING we can, use an electric lawn mower, high efficiency light bulbs, buy recycled goods, and use our own bags in the grocery stores. We try to do what we can to reduce our carbon footprint, although, we’re not perfect yet.

    http://www.commercialgeothermalhvac.com

  15. Johnny R. permalink
    September 22, 2009

    I vowed to sire only one child and he’s now a doctor. If billions did likewise the human population would decline in numbers and pollution would be dramatically reduced IF 100% recycling of all waste and garbage became standard practice. Instead, I see the opposite happening — growing population and growing pollution.

    I know, you hope if you just do a liittle something here and a little something there, it will all just go away and everything will be fine. But that’s not how the the system works. People are hooked into short term agendas they can’t change unless they change their basic lifestyle of the good life on credit. But, as you can see, that’s not happening either.

  16. Anonymous permalink
    September 22, 2009

    Walking short distances is great… unless you live in an area with no sidewalks or safe places to cross the multi-lane roads full of drivers who don’t look out for pedestrians. Most large towns/small cities need to improve their infrastructure to support walking.

  17. Anonymous permalink
    September 22, 2009

    Stop idling your car. Unless you have an old car with a carburetor, idling wastes more gas than restarting. Stay away from drive-throughs.

  18. Jackie Easely permalink
    September 22, 2009

    I reuse the blank side of recycled paper in my printer for items that are needed but only for my file.

    At home I recycle everything possible, use high efficiency light bulbs but need to continue working on it.

  19. Jason Estes, Voyge Home Loans permalink
    September 22, 2009

    It seems like everyone is going green these days doesn’t it? I started really thinking about green living when my son began to ask questions about what it means to go green. I did some research about it to keep up with him and found out how we could do our part as a family. Now we make an effort everyday to help support our future generations sustainable resources however we can. This includes things like recycling or riding a bike up to the local store instead of driving our gas hog SUV. Going green has not only helped reduce our families carbon footprint it has also improved our health, and fitness!

    Jason Estes
    Voyage Home Loans

  20. Sharon permalink
    September 23, 2009

    We are saving batteries, light bulbs, and old electronics for E-trash. We are going the natural pesticides route for our garden and lawns. We have an electric lawn mower that does not belch out fumes. I don’t buy products that are lost within the midst of packaging. And, we cut WAY down on the use of household cleaners. We use far less product in every aspect of life.

  21. BeWaterWise Rep permalink
    September 23, 2009

    Pollution causes serious danger to our environment. We can reduce pollution by cycling or walking instead of using the car, planting more trees around us, preventing water bodies from getting polluted by not littering it when we visit the beach etc.

  22. David Sarokin permalink
    September 23, 2009

    Thanks, everyone, for some great comments. As a staffer in EPA’s Pollution Prevention Division, I love learning about what people are doing, thinking of doing, or even the things that concern them regarding pollution prevention.

    By the way, it’s Pollution Prevention Week this week, which makes it a great time to revisit our commitment to reducing wastes at the source, and finding new ways to prevent pollution:

    http://www.epa.gov/p2week/

    Keep those comments and suggestions coming.

  23. Mark Ballington permalink
    September 23, 2009

    Tele working, a lot of work can be done without having to commute to a distant location.
    I saves in time,stress,risk in travel ,pollution, cost and can be far more efficient.

  24. Jim Adcock permalink
    September 23, 2009

    I am working with a number of environmental and outdoor groups in the Pacific Northwest to try to reduce CO2 in our power grid, in part by trying to get BPA to clean up its Sixth Power Plan, which is currently basically a “do nothing” plan. I also work with a local electric car club to promote electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. I also have a website where I publish free electronic books of which millions of copies have been downloaded, saving tens of thousands of trees from being cut down and reduced to paper pulp. As human beings on this planet we have about 20 years left to completely rid ourselves of our current addiction to burning fossil fuels — or our children and grand-children will be toast!

  25. Jackenson Durand permalink
    September 23, 2009

    I would like to reduce pollution by working on new products as Bio-energy to avoid more emission of co2 on our o3 atmosphere.

  26. Juliana Gay permalink
    September 23, 2009

    We leave the water heater turned off, and only turn it on for about 15 minutes before doing dishes or taking a shower (during the summer the cold showers make an excellent substitute for air conditioning). Speaking of heating and air, the A/C is usually off, but on those hot Florida afternoons, we turn it to 82-83 degrees. In the winter we don extra sweaters and leave it at 60 degrees. We also started a compost bin, which dramatically cuts down on waste and makes fertilizer unnecessary. Meat has become a luxury item we eat only 2-3 times per week — this is not only green, but it’s also great for the health and the pocketbook! It’s wonderful to find out that some of these “sacrifices” benefit more than just the environment.

  27. HCM permalink
    September 24, 2009

    It is interesting that many have the impression that avoiding plastic reduces pollution. When it comes to many material applications, impact on the environment can estimated by weight and/or bulk. Often, the substitutes for plastics weigh more and use more overall energy in transportation, processing, etc. Energy use, emissions, water use, waste to the landfill, reduced spoilage, etc. need to be measured on the total life of a product, not just small segments, to determine impact. If this is done, an openminded review shows that plastic can actually have a smaller impact than other materials in proper applications, especially if they are recycled and not landfilled.

  28. HCM permalink
    September 24, 2009

    It is interesting that many share the incorrect belief that plastic always creates more pollution. If the true impact of products or materials are measured through their entire life cycles, plastics often weigh less, have less bulk, and create less spoilage than substitute materials. Weight and bulk are usually very good indicators of the energy used to create and use products (and therefore their envirnmental footprint). Heavier and/or bulkier products may use less water or energy or cause less pollution in a small segment of their life analysis but the extra transportation energy, processing energy, storage, and spoilage they bring often show that plastics are a better choice in many applications. Open-minded, factual analysis shows that plastics are a better environmental solution in the proper applications, especially if they are recycled at end-of-life and not landfilled.

  29. Robin Garlish permalink
    September 24, 2009

    Our household has practiced only letting the water run out of the faucets, when we are actually using the water; Ex: water on toothbrush – turn water off – turn water back on when rinsing toothbrush ( have glass of water filled for rinsing mouth).

    Another;

    Each family member has been handed a flyer from the Doctors offices, regarding the Influenza Vaccine, we accepted the first one. But, each time we were handed another (for another family member), we told them that we didn’t need the paper’s – that they could have them back to reuse.

  30. Hamid permalink
    September 24, 2009

    For me as a man who live in a town and poor country this is better that we try to save our beautiful nature by using of bicycle and renunciation of cars… , I try to say people we can have better life with conserve this nature we can improve our life and technology with respect our nature, I always try to keep my beautiful city and region.

  31. Jennifer @ Improve Gas Mileage Guide permalink
    September 30, 2009

    The biggest thing I can do is reduce my emissions by increasing the fuel economy of my vehicle. I do this by implementing various driving techniques and maintaining my vehicle properly via tune ups, oil changes, and taking care of my tires. I’ve also made it my job to inform others on how to do this via my web site.

    In addition, I’m researching and reporting on hybrid technology, and in the future will report on alternative fuel vehicles and electric cars.

    I also ditch the vehicle whenever possible and go for a walk to the convenience store or playgrounds with the kids, instead of driving to those that are further away.

  32. Kinshuk permalink
    October 5, 2009

    For reducing the pollution i m just using the goverment transport services. Also not using the polythene bags when i m going to market for buying the vegetables instead of this i always uses the bags made up of clothes.

  33. farideh permalink
    October 9, 2009

    I try to protect my environment and nature with separation of rubbish.

  34. ALAN permalink
    November 24, 2009

    i recently switched from desiel to regular gas to make sure i have a better price and a boxy 2foot by 2 foot forgien car (toyota). but im still driving cross coutry in my desiel pick-up.

  35. Dylan permalink
    December 2, 2009

    Nothing

  36. How to get your ex back tips permalink
    May 12, 2010

    I use only fluorescent light no yellow bulbs, the back of our fridge I had created a compartment making space for dryer. I love commuting and doing a car pool saves money and saves the oxygen.

  37. info@kitchenrenovationmississauga.ca permalink
    December 19, 2010

    I try to always use reclaimed wood in all of my renovation projects. Old wood has more personality and it feels good to use a product that has had some history to it.

  38. Susan McGee permalink
    December 19, 2010

    I use reclaimed wood in all of my kitchen renovations and encourage clients to do the same. Old wood has more personality and it is great to use wood that has some history to it. Sort of connects us all to the past.

  39. Earth River Geothermal Heating and Cooling permalink
    April 22, 2011

    One major problem that our country has, which negatively affects the environment, is our dependence on fossil fuels to heat and cool our homes. Since heating and cooling accounts for up to 2/3 of our home energy consumption, it’s good to know that there are modern green technologies available such as geothermal heat pumps which reduce heating and cooling costs, energy usage and corresponding emissions by up to 72%. The United States Federal government has a 30% Federal Geothermal Tax Credit with No Upper Limit until 2016:

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