Host a carpool social to help your employees figure out who lives nearby, get to know each other and get comfortable with the idea of carpooling together.
The following tips will help you improve air quality in your area, whether at the company barbeque, or at home in your garden. Utilize them in your employee newsletter and inform your employees about what they can do to improve air quality, and in some cases, save money! Find more tips about things you can do specifically at home in our At Home section.
Tips for a Clean-air Company BBQ
1. Location, location, location. Choose a location that is accessible by public transportation. Encourage employees and their families to improve our city’s air quality by carpooling, taking the bus, walking, or riding their bikes. These transportation options relieve the stresses of traffic and parking—and reduce the risk of drunk driving. For car-free trip information, call 511 or visit 511.org.
2. Where there’s smoke, there’s smog. Avoid charcoal and wood-burning grills that pollute the air and instead consider barbequing with a propane grill. You can also spare the air by skipping lighter fluid, which contains high levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which are hazardous to human health.
3. Save natural resources, save money.Invest in reusable dishes instead of plastic or Styrofoam disposables. If you must purchase disposable tableware and cutlery, select corn-based and compostable plates, cups, and eating utensils. Jazz up the food presentation by replacing paper napkins with colorful cloth napkins.
4. Shop smarter and greener.
One third of all city garbage is packaging. Reduce waste by buying in bulk and avoiding single-serve products. When buying drinks, choose products sold in recyclable containers such as aluminum cans, glass, or plastic bottles instead of juice boxes, which are not recyclable.
5. When the barbeque is over, your environmental efforts don’t have to be. Recycle the empty cans and bottles. Even that aluminum pie tin is recyclable. Send leftovers home with guests in reusable containers such as empty yogurt or salsa tubs. Large amount of leftovers? Call your local food bank. Fruit and vegetable remnants and other compostable items such as paper plates and paper napkins can all go in your green bin.
Tips for air-friendly gardening at work or home
1. Incorporate plants into your environment wherever you can. If you don’t have a backyard, plant herbs and flowers in pots at work or at home; it’s certain to better our air and lift your spirits. Plants absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen.
2. Replace your gas lawn mowers with electric or push mower. Running a gas powered mower for an hour creates as much pollution as driving an old car for 100 miles. Also, check in with the landscapers at the office and make sure their equipment is electrical and not gas-powered.
3. Bugs not sprays. Instead of toxic insecticides, consider introducing beneficial predator insects such as lady bugs, green lacewings and praying mantises, all of which prey on the bugs that eat your plants. Also, watered-down liquid dish soap functions as a great non-toxic bug repellent. Encourage the contracted gardeners at the office to employ the same natural insect deterrents.
4. Garbage for growth. If your plants need a little push, incorporate compost into your soil rather than chemical fertilizers. Not only will you be providing your plants with beneficial, non-toxic nutrients, by composting fruit and vegetable remains you will significantly reduce your contribution to the waste stream. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), yard trimmings and food residuals together constitute 24 percent of the solid waste sent to landfills in the United States.
5. Purchase local and native plants. Another way to ensure your garden’s low impact on the environment is to purchase locally sourced plants that are native to your area. This way, less fuel is used in their transportation, and less water and other resources are required for their maintenance.
Tips for saving gas and money
1. Don’t Drive. Carpool, take public transit, bicycle or walk to work or your destination. Call 511 or check their website for transit information. Not only will it save you gas and money but the headache of traffic.
2. Refuel after Dark. Plan to refuel your car after sundown when gasoline vapors are less likely to form into smog.
3. Tune Up. Keep your car in good running condition and tires properly inflated. A well-maintained car uses significantly less gasoline than one that is poorly maintained.
4. Plan your Trip. Limit driving as much as possible by combining errands into one trip.
5. Junk your Clunker. The California Bureau of Automotive Repair administers a vehicle retirement program that will pay you to retire your old car.
6. Replace Polluting Household Equipment. Replace your gas-powered lawn mower with an electric model and replace your gas barbeque with propane.
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Airupdate allows you to easily display current Air Quality Index (AQI) forecasts on your web site. Choose a forecast city and one of eight visual styles, and you will receive a short line of code to place on your web site. Simple instructions make installation easy. AirUpdate automatically updates with the most current air quality forecast from the EPA AIRNow program, providing up-to-date information for your web site visitors. Registration is required; the service is free.