Cutting down on air pollution is an important step in going green. While transportation is the most obvious generator of air pollution, other aspects of your lifestyle also affect the amount of emissions you create -- everything from the products you buy, your behaviors at home and the way you handle household waste. A number of small changes in different areas of your life can make a difference. The big results come when everyone is making such a contribution.
Save energy around the house. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, saving energy can reduce carbon emissions. Because most energy sources require burning fossil fuels, the less energy you use, the greener you are. Set your appliances and lights on a timer to turn off after a certain period of inactivity. Use compact fluorescent bulbs instead of standard lightbulbs, and use your microwave instead of the oven to heat small items.
Manage your heating and cooling. Turn your thermostat down in the winter and up in the summer whenever you are at work, sleeping or on vacation. You can also turn your water heater down to 120 degrees to save power. Make sure your insulation is up to the recommended level for your area, and insulate pipes that pass through unheated spaces. Check to see that your windows and doors are not leaking warm or cool air. To make sure your furnace and air conditioners are running efficiently, perform regular maintenance. Cut back on the amount of packaging you purchase and the amount of household waste you produce. The process of manufacturing packaging releases harmful emissions into the atmosphere, so patronize brands that use as little packaging as possible. Recycle everything you can: aluminum, paper, glass, plastic and cardboard are usually easy to recycle. When you are disposing of chemical-based substances like paint, batteries, pesticides or solvents, check with your local waste management office for a safe, eco-friendly method.
Reduce the amount of time you spend in the car. Carpool or use public transportation whenever you can. For shorter distances, walk or ride your bike to do errands. According to the statistics, changing to carpooling can save a person over $1,000 per year. If you avoid driving alone only one day every week for a year, you can save hundreds of dollars in expenses, not to mention the wear and tear on your car. When you must drive, refill your gas tank during colder times of the day and avoid spilling gas to prevent evaporation into the atmosphere.
Improve your fuel economy. According to the EPA, a 1 percent increase in fuel economy equals a 1 percent decrease in carbon dioxide emissions .Avoid accelerating quickly, braking hard and driving at high speeds, particularly when in heavy traffic. Remove excess weight from your car and remove unused roof racks or bike carriers, which cause drag.