Managing Hazardous Waste

We strengthen regulations and streamline waste management

Pollution Prevention is in the House

Man vacuuming a floor in a homeProtect the quality of the water, soil, and air by reducing the amount of pollution generated in your home. Even though you may not be aware of it, you are probably already practicing pollution prevention or P2. When your sink gets clogged up, and you use a plunger to unclog it instead of commercial drain cleaner, you are practicing P2.

P2 in the home means considering alternative cleaning methods, such as using homemade cleaning supplies made from simple “ingredients” found around the house. Here are some recipes for success:

  • “The Earth Redeemer” All-Purpose Cleaner: Use baking soda and water or undiluted white vinegar in a spray bottle.
  • “Better than Dynamite” Drain Opener: Pour 1⁄4 cup baking soda down the drain, then add 2 oz. Vinegar. A plunger or snake may also do the job. Try a preventative technique to fight grime from accumulating by pouring boiling water down drains on a weekly basis.
  • “The No Gas Mask Required” Over Purifier: Pour salt on spots as they occur and wipe while your oven is warm. Prevent those beastly black spills by using drip pans when cooking food.

By adopting simple energy-saving techniques, such as turning off lights and using energy-efficient appliances, your household can help improve air and water quality. Reducing your household’s electricity consumption can help decrease the amount of coal and other “air-polluting” fossil fuels burned to generate electricity. It also lowers your monthly energy bill. A few proven tips for saving energy include:

  • Replace incandescent lights with energy-efficient fluorescent lighting. They cost more to buy, but last up to 10 times longer and use about 1⁄4 of the energy. Over its lifetime, a compact fluorescent bulb will save emissions of about 500 pounds of carbon dioxide (a chief greenhouse gas) and 5 pounds of sulfur dioxide, a greenhouse gas that also contributes to acid rain.
  • Consider using the more efficient microwave instead of heating up your larger oven for small meals.
  • Turn your water heater down. Most households don’t need extremely hot water. Turning your water heater – usually the home’s second largest energy user-down to 120 degrees can save a lot of energy, and money too (up to $50 a year).

Your household can practice pollution prevention in many different ways. Be creative, have fun, and don’t be afraid to try something new. Practicing P2 and protecting the environment is something for the whole family!

The Department of Toxic Substances Control would like to thank and acknowledge Kate Slama of the Santa Clara Valley Water District’s Watershed Protection Unit for providing the information for National P2 Week.