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Cleaner Air For Everyone | Simple Things You Can Do To Improve Air Quality

Cleaner Air For Everyone | Simple Things You Can Do To Improve Air Quality

LAURIE MERCURIO

Laurie Mercurio is a public information officer in the DNR’s Office of Communications.

Spring is here — are you getting out for more fresh air? Small things can add up to make a big difference. Do these to breathe a bit easier this year.

BUY LOCAL FOOD

On average, fresh produce travels more than 1,500 miles before being eaten. Tractor-trailers haul much of our produce and only get about 6 miles per gallon of diesel fuel. Driving a tractor-trailer 1,500 miles emits about 5,550 pounds of carbon dioxide, or the same as what an average passenger car emits in seven months!

Buy fresh produce from growers at local farmers’ markets. Look for locally grown produce at the grocery store. Don’t see what you’re looking for? Ask your grocer to carry more local products.

Buying local produce can help keep trucks off the road, reducing vehicle emissions.

Buying local produce can help keep trucks off the road, reducing vehicle emissions.

iStock/STOCKSELLER_UKR

GROW YOUR OWN

Consider gardening. Growing your own food reduces emissions by lessening the energy needed for packaging, processing and storing food.

PRACTICE ‘GREEN’ LAWN CARE

Replace gas-powered equipment with electric, rechargeable or manual equipment. If using gas-powered equipment, fill and use it in the evening hours and buy a spill-proof, low-emitting gas can. Keep mower blades sharp and the undersides clean, so the mower will be more efficient.

Water the lawn in the evening or early morning. Established lawns need about 1 inch of water per week to stay green, split over two or three applications.

Purchase or make a water gauge to measure the amount of water (including rain) that falls on the lawn each week. Setting up barrels to collect rainwater for the lawn or garden also reduces the water and energy spent on lawn care.

SAVE ENERGY AT HOME

Conserve energy by turning off lights when leaving a room and computers and televisions when not in use. Purchase energy-efficient lighting. Find appliances that include the Energy Star label and install windows that are energy efficient.

As temperatures warm, open windows at night to let in naturally cooler air. Close windows and use shades during the day to keep sunlight from warming the house.

TRAVEL WISELY

Consider biking or walking when commuting to work or running errands. Vehicles on the road create more than 25% of all air pollution nationwide.

Try biking to work or when running errands to cut back on vehicle use.

Try biking to work or when running errands to cut back on vehicle use.

iStock/OLASER

Combine errands into one trip. Several short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much fuel as a longer multi-purpose trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm.

Idling can consume as much as a gallon of gas per hour. When waiting in the school pickup lane, turn off the engine to save fuel and reduce fumes. Get rid of excess items in the trunk. The extra weight makes engines work harder, which burns more gas and releases more emissions.