Earth day is this coming Friday, April 22. It is a great opportunity to put your company in the spotlight with environmental issues, ecology, recycling, green products, etc. It is also a great day to get your business and family on board with keeping the earth a wonderful place. There are so many ways you can celebrate and also take steps to save our earth.
Taking care of our earth isn’t just about water pollution and picking up litter. The air that we breathe is in danger too! The average American generates about 24 tons of CO2 emissions per year. I am making a commitment to clean air. There are lots of things that each of us can do to stop being part of the problem — and start becoming part of the solution.
Are you a business owner? There are a number of things that your business could do to help with air pollution.
- Provide a location for staff to eat lunch on the premises, to cut down on people driving to lunch.
- Refuel fleet vehicles either in the early morning or after 6:00 p.m.
- Don’t top-off or spill fuel.
- Encourage staff to order lunch as a group and have it delivered.
- Conduct conference calls.
- Hold meetings in a location that requires the least amount of driving.
- During hot summer days, to reduce the use of air conditioners, allow employees to wear casual dress.
- When replacing old equipment, look for Star products that are energy efficient.
- Buy recycled. Recycled products often use less energy in production. For example, recycled aluminum takes only 5% of the energy to produce than aluminum products manufactured from the virgin material, bauxite.
- Ask employees to turn off computers and monitors overnight, instead of just allowing them to go into sleep mode.
- Use fans to circulate air.
Here are some personal actions you can take.
In the Home
- Convert your wood burning fireplace to natural gas or propane. While you wait for the conversion, be sure to keep the fireplace well maintained with a clean chimney.
- If you have a wood stove, burn only clean, dry wood.
- Turn off appliances and lights when you are not using them.
- Use compact fluorescent bulbs.
- Recycle everything you can.
- Plant low water-using deciduous trees around your home to provide cooling shade in the summer and let light through in the winter.
- Put your outdoor lights on a timer or use solar lighting.
- Wash clothes with cold or warm water only.
- Lower your water heater thermostat to 120 degrees F.
- Eat less meat. Completely eliminating meat from your diet can save approximately 3,000 pounds of CO2 during the year.
- If gas-powered equipment is used, use a funnel when re-fueling. Each year in the U.S., more gasoline is spilled when filling garden equipment than was spilled in the Exxon Valdez disaster.
In the Store
- Choose products that have less packaging and are recyclable.
- Buy environmentally friendly goods like ENERGY STAR products, including energy efficient lighting and appliances. Visit energystar.gov for more information.
- Shop with a canvas bag instead of using paper and plastic bags.
- Buy rechargeable batteries for devices used frequently.
- Use electric-powered equipment and hand rakes.
In the Car
- Check your tires. Keeping your car’s tires properly inflated can reduce your carbon footprint by 400 – 700 pounds a year.
- Drive efficient, low-polluting vehicles. For a list, visit epa.gov/greenvehicles.
- Plan your trips to save gasoline and reduce air pollution.
- When possible walk, ride a bike, carpool, van pool or use public transportation.
- Get regular vehicle tune-ups and maintenance checks (especially for spark plugs, oil changes and air filters).
- Ask your employer about flexible work schedules or telecommuting. (Self-employed entrepreneurs who work from home get a thumbs up on this!)
- Drive with car. By accelerating slowly, maintaining a steady speed, and anticipating stops earlier so you don’t have to slam on the brakes, will help you cut carbon emissions by more than a ton.
This Earth Day, try using a few of the above tips. Each one counts and if we all do a few our air will be much cleaner. Use your influence and post, tweet or write about what you and your company are doing to “Save the Earth”.