10 Actions You Can Take to Reduce Pollution & Conserve Resources
1 Maintenance: Repair leaky faucets and toilets, replace washers in hose connectors, and clean downspouts and gutters manually, without using a hose. These easy maintenance & conservation steps help more water to flow into our rivers and streams. Maintain your vehicles so they don’t drip toxic fluids in parking lots or on the highway where rain can carry it into streams.
2 Water Efficiency: Install low flow shower heads. Several companies make inexpensive models that provide good flow in the shower but save thousands of gallons of water each year. When it comes time to install or replace toilets and clothes washers, consider using ultra-low flush toilets and high-efficiency clothes washers. Did you know that standard washing machines can use 45 gallons of water per load? High-efficiency units use as little as 20. Only run dishwashers and washing machines when full.
3 Conserve Energy: Turn off lights when leaving a room. Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs which use one quarter of the energy and last 10 times as long. Set water heaters between 120 and 130 degrees F, and wrap old water heaters with insulation blankets. Try setting the thermostat 5 degrees cooler in winter (and 5 degrees warmer in summer if you use A.C.). All of these things add up to big reductions on demand for power, which creates fewer disturbances to our rivers.
4 Sweep Paved Areas: Sweep sidewalks and driveways instead of hosing them with water. Also, be sure to put debris into the garbage. You will save on water and prevent pollutants and debris from going into our storm drains and streams.
5 Prevent Water Runoff: Make sure to turn off sprinklers before the water begins to run off. Most lawns only need one inch of water per week. You can use an empty tuna can to measure the amount of water your sprinklers deliver. Consider disconnecting gutter downspouts which run storm-water directly to storm drains and streams. Direct this water to a rain-garden or bio-swale that will help it soak into the soil to “bio-filter” pollutants and reduce flooding downstream.
6 Compost: Compost yard debris in a contained area away from creeks and wetlands. Compost is a good way to recycle yard debris and vegetable scraps, and creates an excellent source of fertilizer and mulch.
7 Car Washing: Use automatic car washes that recycle water and properly dispose of detergents. If you wash your car at home, park it on the grass instead of a paved surface. This allows pollutants to filter through soil and reduces the waste that enters our waterways.
8 Dispose of Oils and Chemicals properly: Never dump oil or other chemicals down storm drains, and make sure these pollutants are not leaking onto your driveway or other paved surface. Oil and chemicals can wash into storm drains which discharge directly into our waterways.
9 Natural Landscaping: Consider using native plants as much as possible in your landscaping. Make sure plants are in the right place (sun, soil, water) to limit needs for fertilizer and pest/disease control. Maintain lawn trees and shrubs with natural methods such as using compost for fertility and compost tea or low impact pesticides for foliar health.
10 Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Send materials to recycling centers and find people who can reuse things you no longer want.. Try to find ways to: carpool/walk/ride a bike, use energy efficient or recycled materials in building/remodeling, reduce the amount of disposable goods you use. These things help to conserve our limited resources for the benefit of future generations and our environment.