Clean Air Facts for 2022
2021 was a wild ride, but it’s time to crawl out from under the covers and pick up your pen, because it’s time for New Year’s resolutions. This year we’d like you to join us here at Air North Texas in committing to clean air actions in 2022 to help improve air quality in North Texas. Here are some clean air facts and tips to get you started.
Figure out your Footprint
Did you know you can calculate your carbon footprint? Check out the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) household carbon footprint calculator here. You might be surprised at just how much individual actions can contribute to our emissions.
Get Serious about Public Transit
Not convinced public transit is for you, check out these facts about emissions and the average driver:
Did you know that the average personal vehicle releases an average of more than 5 tons of CO2, methane, nitrous oxide, and hydrofluorocarbons each year?
Average Yearly Mileage: 13.4k (Federal Highway Administration)
Average MPG: 24 (US Department of Energy, US DOE)
Average Estimated Emissions Footprint (Single Vehicle): 11,093 pounds of CO2 (EPA)
If you can reduce the number of miles you drive by even a quarter, you’ll reduce your vehicle emissions by the same amount of CO2 emissions that amount of mileage contributes.
Can’t take public transit to your destination? Try carpooling, less vehicles on the road means lower emissions and less traffic. If your employer allows, moving to a hybrid work schedule can also reduce your emissions significantly if you have a long commute.
Don’t forget to track your commute with TryParkingIt for rewards as well!
Help your Household
We contribute a lot of emissions all by ourselves, in fact, households in the U.S. emit more than 17,300 pounds of CO2 each year, according to the US DOE.
Here’s what you can do to help reduce your household emissions:
Swap to Energy Star appliances
Install Energy Star windows
Switch out incandescent bulbs
Turn off lights and appliances
Adjust your A/C at a conservative range and don’t crank it when you get home
Take shorter showers and limit baths to conserve water
Make sure to properly recycle
By doing these things you can reduce your household emissions by a significant margin.
Make Shopping Easier
Ditching plastic bags for paper or reusable grocery bags will help to reduce unnecessary plastic waste and landfill use. Feel like it won’t make a difference? Check out why reducing your plastic use can be a huge help to both air quality and our environment below:
In the EPA’s last report on plastic pollution:
More than 35,000 tons of plastic are generated in the United States
Only around 3,000 tons are recycled
More than 5,000 tons are combusted
More than 26,000 tons are placed in landfills
The end of the lifecycle for plastic isn’t the most important part, however, the beginning is a problem too. More than 12,000 tons of CO2 are emitted as a result of petroleum processes and transportation of natural gas and oil each year.
The lifecycle of plastic involves quite a bit of transportation, and by reducing your use, you reduce your contribution to the emissions from the manufacturing process.
Compost, Compost, Compost
Composting contributes to improving regional air quality because it saves energy and prevents air pollution. Less waste at home means fewer trip collection trucks to the landfill as well as less fuel consumption and vehicle emissions in the air. The amount of food waste households contribute each year can amount to nearly 220 pounds of food waste per person, so reducing it is important. Learn how to get started here.
Avoid Burning and Smoking
While it might seem like a good idea to have a family bonfire or smoke a turkey, you can help the environment by finding an alternative way to enjoy company this year. Plan on cooking your meals on the stove, in the oven, or in an air fryer instead of grilling. Charcoal grills and smokers release volatile organic compounds that pollute our air and make it harder to breathe. If you want to cook outside, consider using a propane powered grill. Both propane and charcoal are less than ideal cooking options, but propane releases much smaller amounts of pollutants.
Avoid burning garbage and follow your city’s trash collection days to discard items; the less pollutants we release into the atmosphere, the better our air quality will be.
Now that you have some newfound knowledge on how individual actions affect our air quality, we hope you will join us in committing to improving it in 2022. Improving air quality in North Texas will take a group effort, so get started today by signing up for air pollution alerts at airnorthtexas.org/signup.