Protecting Public Health and the Environment.

Pollution Prevention for Citizens

The best way to reduce waste and other pollution is to avoid producing it in the first place. Citizens and individuals can do many things to help prevent pollution.  In fact, if every person chose to do one thing each day to reduce his or her impact on the environment, we could collectively make a big difference!  You might also enjoy many of the financial benefits associated with your changes. 

Your Vehicle

  • Drive less by carpooling, combining trips, riding the bus, biking, or walking.
  • Maintain vehicles to increase efficiency.  Get regular tune-ups, properly inflate tires, and drive the speed limit.
  • Consider fuel efficiency, alternative fuel capability, or hybrid vehicles when purchasing a new vehicle. 
  • Don't idle your vehicle when parked.
  • Don't top off the gas tank.  This allows harmful chemicals to escape into the air.
  • Don't pour used oil or other pollutants down the storm drain.

In the Yard

  • Consider electric-powered mowers, push mowers, or hand-powered yard tools.  Lawn mowers and trimmers can emit as much pollution in one hour as driving a car up to 50 miles. 
  • When filling your equipment with gasoline, be careful not to spill.  Place an absorbent material under the pour area.
  • Mulch or compost instead of burning yard waste.
  • Use non-toxic alternatives to fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Use pesticides and fertilizers conservatively and follow the instructions on the label. Try using non-toxic alternatives or planting pest and disease resistant plants.
  • Water the lawn sparingly or use landscaping that requires less water.
  • Plant trees in the west or southwest location of your home to shade your house and reduce energy consumption.
  • Keep pesticides and fertilizers away from rivers and streams. Avoid planting lawn all the way to a stream. Leave trees or vegetation along the banks as a buffer.
  • Sweep driveways and patios clean instead of hosing them down.

Your Home

  • Repair leaks immediately.
  • Run full loads in the dishwasher and washing machine.
  • Install low-flush toilets or showerheads.
  • Use cleaners and paints conservatively to reduce the emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that contribute to ground-level ozone.
  • Consider using low-VOC paints and carpets with low VOC adhesives.
  • Compost food waste.
  • Recycle. See DEQ's Recycling Directory.
  • Use a power strip for your electronics and turn it off at the end of the day.  Many electronics still consume energy when turned off.
  • Turn the heat and air conditioner down at night and when you're not home.  Better yet, program your thermostat to do it for you.
  • Turn off water while brushing teeth and shaving.
  • Turn down water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit and insulate.
  • Properly maintain your septic system to avoid leaks.

At the Store

  • Look for and purchase products with less packaging.
  • Choose organic alternatives.  Consider purchasing certain products when you see the organic alternative on sale.
  • Purchase cleaners that are less toxic.  Note that just because it says "green" doesn't necessarily mean it is completely non-toxic, although it could be a step in the right direction, verify the label to make sure.
  • Buy only what you can use if it has an expiration date or is toxic.
  • Purchase items made of recycled material and that can be reused or recycled.
  • Purchase ENERGY STAR electronics and appliances.

At Work

  • Set your printer to print double-sided.
  • Start or join a Green Team to encourage conservation at work.
  • Use a heating pad instead of space heater if your office is cold.
  • Use a power strip for your electronics and turn it off at the end of the day.  Many electronics still consume energy when turned off.
  • Turn the lights off when you leave an empty room.
  • Bring your lunch in a reusable container.
  • Use a reusable coffee mug.  Some coffee houses give discounts if you bring your own cup.
  • Use natural lighting if possible and reduce overhead lights if they are too bright.
  • Select the energy saver setting on your computer or printer.
  • Turn off all equipment at the end of the day. 


  • Look for lodging that practices conservation.
  • Reuse linens and towels and cancel the morning newspaper unless you plan to read it.
  • Use public transportation.
  • Use e-ticketing to reduce paper usage.
  • When camping, use biodegradable soap and rinse dishes away from streams and lakes.


  • Fence livestock away from streams and wetlands. Make sure wastes can be dropped away from water bodies.
  • Tether riding stock away from surface water bodies like lakes and streams.