A Pollution Prevention (P2) Checklist for Your Home, Office, and Car
Tips that will save you money and protect the environment. Pollution prevention tips for your business are available here.
- Purchase energy efficient appliances and equipment.
- Turn off lights and appliances when not in use and install a programmable thermostat that automatically adjusts the temperature when you are in bed or away.
- Pull down window shades at night in the winter and during the day in the summer.
- Weatherstrip windows and doors.
- Turn down the temperature setting on the water heater.
- To maximize efficiency and guarantee long life, keep all appliances, equipment and motor vehicles well maintained.
- Use compact fluorescent light bulbs.
- Use a clothesline for drying clothes.
- Walk, ride a bike, carpool or use mass transit, and teleconference.
- Maintain your car with regular tune-ups and keep tires inflated at the proper pressure.
- Fix leaking faucets and toilets.
- Run full loads of laundry and full dishwashers
- Use a broom instead of a hose for cleaning sidewalks and driveways.
- Turn off the water when brushing your teeth.
- Install a water-saver toilet or place a water-filled plastic jug in the back of the toilet.
- Install low-flow nozzles on showerheads and aerators on faucets.
- Don’t over-water your lawn and garden and water in the early morning or at night.
Choose Environmentally Safe Household Products
- Look for alternatives to products that contain the words "toxic, flammable, caustic, corrosive, caution, danger, warning, or poison" on the label.
- Instead of using bleach for cleaning clothes, kitchens and bathrooms, use white vinegar or baking soda and water.
- In place of glass cleaners, use a solution of 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice in 1 quart of water. Spray on and use old newspapers to wipe.
- Use microfiber cloths that eliminate the use of any household cleaners.
- For a drain cleaner, use vinegar and baking soda followed by boiling water.
- For furniture polishes, mix one teaspoon of lemon juice in 1 pint of mineral or vegetable oil, and wipe furniture with an old towel or t-shirt.
- Select water-based latex paints whenever possible.
- Select nontoxic inks and art supplies.
- Use compost instead of chemical fertilizers.
- Use boric acid instead of commercial ant and roach killers, and wash countertops, cabinets and floors with equal parts of vinegar and water to deter ants.
- Keep you house clean and free from food crumbs and block pest hiding places and entry points.
- Put up a bird or bat house to reduce insects, and select plants such as scented geraniums to attract predatory insects such as ladybugs, spiders, centipedes and praying mantises which feed on many garden pests. Or select plants that repel insects such as mint, garlic, and marigolds.
- Try natural or low-toxicity pesticides such as pesticidal soaps (mix four tablespoons of liquid dishwashing soap to each gallon of water and spray it on insects), horticultural oils, and diatomaceous earth (a natural pest control that can be sprinkled around the garden or home).
Reduce Solid Waste
- Choose products that are durable, reusable products, made from recycled materials, and packaged with the least amount of materials
- Reduce, reuse and recycle plastics, glass, paper, cardboard, aluminum, and tin.
- Compost yard wastes and non-meat kitchen scraps.
- To request that your name be removed from selected lists that generate wasteful junk mail, write to:
Mail Preference Service
Direct Marketing Association
P.O. Box 643
Carmel, NY 10512
- Use cloth napkins.
- Wrap gifts with cartoons or old maps.
- Use rechargeable batteries.
- Let store clerks know that you don't need a bag for one or two items. Bring your own canvas bags to stores.
- Borrow, rent, or share items used infrequently.
- Repair, sell, or donate goods instead of throwing them out.
Maintain an Eco-Friendly Landscape
- If you need to fertilize your lawn, apply in the fall. Try to purchase "low phosphorous" or "no phosphorous" fertilizers. Any fertilizer that falls on your sidewalks or driveway should be swept back into the grass.
- Mow your lawn at the highest recommended setting and leave the clippings in place.
- Water your lawn only when needed but to the depth of the root zone.
- Cover bare soil with mulch and use drip irrigation for trees and shrubs.
- Consider reducing irrigated turf with drought tolerant ground covers.
- Drain rain gutters and downspouts into gravel or grassy areas to increase absorption and reduce runoff.
- If you have a pest, make sure the pest is correctly identified and use the most appropriate method to control the problem.
- Build a compost pile with grass clippings, leaves, and other organic materials to create mulch and more healthy soil.
- Consider adding buffer plantings to screen winter winds and provide wildlife habitat, plant trees to provide shade, reduce water runoff, and clean the air.
- Choose the right plant for the right spot. Avoid invasive species and purchase more native plants. Know the requirements and ultimate size of the plant. Select species that require less water, fertilizers, pruning and pesticides.