You’re probably well aware of how much driving your car pollutes the air, but a number of other common activities can contribute to air pollution in surprising ways. Decreasing your air pollution footprint isn’t just good for the environment; it can dramatically improve the air quality in your home, so consider these six simple tips.
- Use a push mower. Power lawn mowers—especially riding mowers and lawn tractors—produce a surprising amount of air pollution. Running a power lawn mower for an hour produces as much pollution as six to ten cars, and you can drastically reduce your footprint by switching to a push mower.
- Use compact fluorescent light bulbs. Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) use less electricity than standard incandescent bulbs. They also produce less heat and last considerably longer.
- Maintain your fireplace and chimney. Keeping your fireplace or wood-burning stove well-maintained will allow it to burn more efficiently as well as produce less soot and smoke.
- Use low-VOC paints. VOC stands for volatile organic compound, and you can help the environment as well as improve your indoor air quality by using low-VOC and zero-VOC paints. Also, when you tackle a paint job, be sure to use a roller or brush rather than a sprayer.
- Store chemicals safely. Paints, solvents, cleaners, pesticides and other chemicals can pollute the air in your home if they are stored improperly. Store these chemicals in airtight containers, ideally in a shed or garage separate from your living space, and dispose of them properly when you’re done with them.
- Reuse and recycle. Anything that can be recycled should be recycled, including glass bottles, aluminum cans, paper, plastic and cardboard. Recycling conserves energy and reduces production emissions. Any time you start a home remodeling project, try to reuse salvaged building materials as much as possible.