What You Can Do to Improve the Air

Air Pollution Control Program fact sheet
02/2014
Division of Environmental Quality Director: Leanne Tippett Mosby
PUB02199

One person can really make a difference in Missouri’s air quality. Anything a person does that reduces the amount of pollutants emitted into the air is a huge benefit to the air you breathe.

Improving Missouri’s Air

Here are some steps everyone can take to improve Missouri’s air:

At Home

  1. Mow in the evening, when fuel vapors have less chance to “cook” during the hottest part of the day contributing to ozone. Replace old gasoline mowers with a new electric mower or trimmer. They are more efficient, cost less to operate and generally require less maintenance. If you must use a gasoline mower or trimmer, you can increase efficiency by performing regular maintenance and regularly replacing the air filter and fuel filter.

  2. Compost yard clippings and use as natural fertilizer in the yard. Do not burn leaves. Open burning is not only bad for air quality it may be prohibited in your area to protect air quality.For more information, see our Homeowner’s Composting Guide.

  3. Use water-based paints and biodegradable cleaning products. Decrease the use of solvents and potentially harmful chemicals found in paint thinners, glue, detergents, etc.

  4. Purchase Energy Star® rated appliances and review energy guide labels regarding the energy-efficiency of household appliances. For more information, visit www.energystar.gov.

  5. Save energy with compact fluorescent bulbs or LED lights and when not in use turn them off. Use natural light in the daytime.

  6. Always use the least amount of energy possible. Bake at the lowest possible temperature.

  7. In the summer, set the thermostat at the highest comfortable temperature and at the lowest comfortable temperature in the winter. Replace furnace filters monthly or as needed.

  8. Make sure the washing machine is full before running it. Wash on the delicate cycle and with  cold water whenever possible. Air dry clothing, unless drying with heat is necessary.

  9. Make sure homes are well insulated. Check all appliance seals, windows, doors, foundations and ducts for leaks or drafts.

  10. Using a whole-house fan is an effective way to cool the house without wasting energy. Remember to turn them off when you are not around. Fans cool you, not the room.

  11. Set the water heater on the lowest possible setting and cover it with an insulation blanket to insure the heat does not escape.

  12. Turn off all computers at night. Laptops use much less energy than a desktop.

  13. Decrease or eliminate the use of herbicides and pesticides.

  14. Recycle used paper, reading materials, boxes, aluminum cans, glass containers, plastic containers and many other household items. With grant assistance from the department, recycling has become more convenient and recycling locations are easier to locate. Should you have questions about drop-off locations or recycling opportunities in your area, contact your local Solid Waste Management Districts, which are funded all or in part by the department. The contact information for all the Solid Waste Management Districts is available using the interactive map located at http://dnr.mo.gov/env/swmp/swmd/swmdinfo.htm.

While Traveling:

  1. Consolidating trips, carpooling and using public transportation will reduce both fuel and emissions. Walking or riding a bike is also healthier and will give you a chance to enjoy the terrific scenery in Missouri. For information about Missouri Parks and events, visit the Missouri State Parks website located at mostateparks.com.
  2. Keep car engines properly tuned and vehicle tires inflated.
  3. Shop for a vehicle that has high mileage per gallon of gas used. To find a car with good gas mileage, visit. www.fueleconomy.gov.
  4. Do not top off the gas tank. Topping off will damage or cause your vehicle’s emission system to malfunction prematurely and also emits gasoline fumes into the air.
  5. To increase fuel efficiency avoid speeding, rapid acceleration, excessive braking and idling.
  6. Using the grade of motor oil recommended by the vehicle manufacturer increases gas mileage significantly.