1. Don't drive.
Before jumping into your vehicle to run an errand, or even go to work, consider alternative means of transportation. Can you get to your destination by walking, biking or public transit? If you leave your car at home one day a week, you prevent 55 pounds of air pollution each year from being emitted into our environment. And think of the money you'll save on gas, parking and car upkeep!
2. Take public transit.
Take public transit and let someone else deal with the traffic. Treat yourself to a stress-free commute! You'll also find that public transit can get you to just about any event or weekend activity that might be in your plans.
3. Carpool or vanpool to work a few days, or even one day a week.
Why not share a ride? Whether you're driving to work, the gym, or a baseball game, find a carpool partner. Take turns driving and give yourself a break from road-stress a few days a week.
Why commute at all if you can arrange to work from home? You'll save commute time and expenses. Even if you do this just one day a week, you will be making a difference. A little over one pound of pollution is saved when you and your car stay at home.
5. Refuel in the evening and never top off.
Putting gas into your vehicle releases Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) into the air. Throughout the day, these VOCs mix with oxides of nitrogen (NOx) in the air, "cook" in the summer heat, and form ground-level ozone. Refueling in the evening decreases the opportunity for VOCs to form into ozone.
6. Make fewer trips and trip-link.
Cold engines pollute up to five times more than warm ones. A cold engine is one that has been sitting for over an hour. When possible, link all of your errands together into one trip to minimize "cold starts". Postpone errands on an Ozone Alert Day.
7. Avoid consumer spray products.
When selecting consumer products, consider solids, sticks, and gels. They are more environmentally friendly consumer choices. Avoid aerosol products including hairspray, furniture polish, cooking sprays, bathroom cleaners, air fresheners, antiperspirants, insecticides, and hobby craft sprays. Hair spray alone contributes 12 tons of pollution per day!
8. Use water-based paints.
Oil-based paints and varnishes contain a high percentage of VOCs that evaporate into the atmosphere and create smog. Water-based latex paints are less polluting and easier to wash off your hands and equipment.
9. It's OK to barbecue, but DON'T USE LIGHTER FLUID!
Lighter fluid literally goes up in smoke. Use an electric or a chimney briquette starter instead - you'll actually get a faster start.
10. Do your garden chores gasoline-free.
On an hour-for-hour basis, a gasoline-powered lawn mower produces as much pollution as 40 new cars. On Ozone Alert days, don't use gasoline-powered equipment like leaf blowers and chain saws. Put off lawn care for a day or two until the air is cleaner - then get a good workout by pushing that trusty, old hand mower!
More Transportation Tips
- When you must drive, drive smoothly - this will save fuel and lower emissions.
- Organize a parent carpool in your neighborhood to take the kids to and from school.
- Share a ride with a friend to social and recreational activities.
- Walk or ride a bike for short morning trips or where overexertion isn't likely - unhealthy pollution levels usually occur mid-afternoon or later.
- Purchase a reduced-emission vehicle.
More Home and Recreation Tips
- Avoid activities that use small gasoline-powered internal combustion engines (ICEs), such as trail bikes, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), chain saws, leaf blowers and lawn mowers.
- On Ozone Alert days, postpone outings on gasoline or diesel-powered recreational boats because they are high pollution sources.
- Check the weather page of your local newspaper for air quality information.
More Work Tips
- Take your lunch to work and avoid a mid-day trip.
- Ask your employer about telecommuting.