8 Pollution Prevention Tips

Since 1993, the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable (NPPR) and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) have observed the third week of each September as Pollution Prevention Week, also known as P2 Week. Unlike most environmental awareness programs, P2 Week focuses not on the usual activities such as clean-ups and renewal programs, but instead asks us to think of ways we can prevent waste and pollution before they happen.

With the 18th P2 Week upon us, other local organizations are already up to an early start. Many groups such as Friends of the LA River, Santa Monica Baykeeper, and Friends of Ballona Wetlands, participated in Coastal Cleanup Day, this last Saturday, at multiple sites along Los Angeles’ beaches and estuaries. Taking Pollution Prevention a step further, Heal the Bay, also worked to reduce their own cleanup-generated waste by sponsoring a “Bring Your Own” program where volunteers supplied their own reusable buckets, bags, gloves and other reusable items for the day’s zero-waste activities.

DTSC itself, along with the Western Sustainability and Pollution Prevention Network (WSPPN), have sponsored a video contest centered on the theme: “It Starts With Me.” Users were asked to submit short videos that show how making small changes in our daily lives can have a big, positive impact on the environment. Throughout P2 Week, stand-out videos which show practical examples and encourage choices that support pollution prevention will be featured on the DTSC Web page.

But even if you missed out on these early events, there are still many things we can each do (or NOT do!) to participate in P2 Week. Experiment with your daily routine to see if there are ways you can simplify and reduce the resources that you use. It can be as easy or as complex as you want to make it. Here are some tips you can apply in your daily lives to prevent pollution:

  1. Ride your bike or walk instead of driving.
  2. Take shorter showers—skip some altogether if you’re brave.
  3. Flush the toilet every other time.
  4. Reuse containers, glasses, plates, and silverware for meals and beverages throughout the day.
  5. Eat foods with fewer chemicals, packaging and shipping distances like local fruits and veggies from the farmers market.
  6. If you want to get bold, try things like mixing your own soaps and house cleaners. Baking soda and water can be used as an ammonia-based, all-purpose, cleaner.
  7. Be inventive; look for tips from other blogs and websites like DTSC.
  8. Check out our calendar for local volunteer events and cleanups.

The point of Pollution Prevention Week is more than just cleaning up messes that we’ve made in the past; it’s about making small changes in our lives that make that mess progressively smaller. It’s a week of “less-is-more” thinking: one of those times where doing good can actually mean doing less. When enough people doing (or NOT doing) enough little things come together, it’s not waste that piles up, change does!

How do you plan on preventing pollution and making a difference this week? Share with us any other pollution prevention tips you may have in the comment section below.

*Photo Courtesy of Heal the Bay.

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Comments (2)

  1. Avatar for LA Stormwater
    Sarah
    February 17th, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    Great tips. Pollutions can easily be prevented if only people were more conscious and help in their own little ways.

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