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Save money, prevent pollution | Environment

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Save money, prevent pollution
Save money, prevent pollution

Did you know the energy used in the average home can cause twice the greenhouse gas emissions of a car?

There are several ways you can reduce your carbon foot print and September is the perfect time to start making changes.  That is because the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) is promoting pollution prevention.

The Federal Pollution Prevention Act, passed in 1990, made a declaration that pollution should be prevented or reduced at its source whenever possible.  To honor this anniversary, ADEQ urges the public to prevent pollution in their day to day lives. Pollution prevention includes practices that increase efficiency in the use of energy, water, or other natural resources, and protect our resource base through conservation.

“Something as simple as replacing one light bulb in your home can help us all breathe easier.” says ADEQ deputy director Karen Bassett.  According the latest data, 70 percent of electricity is produced from coal and natural gas which release greenhouse gases.  Replacing a traditional light bulb with a compact florescent light (commonly referred to as CFL) saves the equivalent of 500 pounds of coal and reduces CO2 by 1,300 pounds a year.

And if everyone replaced 5 of the most frequently used lights in the home with ENERGY STAR bulbs, Americans could not only save $8 billion a year in energy costs, but could also prevent the greenhouse gases equal to the emissions of 10 million cars.

Arkansans can also drastically reduce pollution by simply turning off their computers, television equipment, and lights when they are not in use.  It is estimated there over 160 million cable boxes and DVRs in the United States.  The devices use as much energy when the TV is off and they do on.  It all adds up to 16 million metric tons of CO2 being released each year.  And if that is not motivation enough, you could save up to 10 percent on your electric bill simply by turning off the devices that are not in use.

In addition to making changes in our energy consumption at home, making changes in your work and shopping habits can also help reduce pollution.  Here are 3 simple things you can do today to help keep Arkansas beautiful:

  1. Lug your Mug.

It is estimated Americans consume over 600 bottled and canned beverages a year.  By taking a re-usable mug to work or the drive thru you can reduce pollution in our state’s landfills.

  1. Do the Double Take.

Paper accounts for 40% of what ends up in Arkansas landfills.  It’s estimated the average office worker makes 10,000 copies a year.  By making double sided copies, you can help cut that number in half.

  1. Carry the Canvas

Using canvas shopping bags can reduce the need for oil and save trees.  It is estimated it takes 12 million barrels of oil to manufacture American demands for plastic shopping bags.  It takes 14 million trees to supply the demand for paper bags.

You can find out more about pollution prevention by visiting www.p2rx.org .  You can also share what prevention programs are taking place in your community by following us on Facebook and Twitter.