How Can You Take Care of Texas

    Safely Dispose of Household Hazardous Waste

    The best way to collect, share, and dispose of HHW is to take it to a local community collection program. If you don’t have one close to your home, then you can safely and legally put most HHW in with your regular trash.

    Recycle Paper, Glass, and Cans

    Each Texan generates about 6.4 pounds of garbage every day. By recycling paper, glass, metal, plastic, and other materials, you can reduce waste, help conserve energy, and preserve our state’s natural resources.

    Fix Leaks

    If you have a dripping faucet in or around your house, ask your parents to please get it fixed. A faucet leaking at a rate of one drop per second can waste up to 3,000 gallons of water per year. That’s enough water to take more than 180 showers!

    Recycle Used Electronics

    Used electronics account for about two percent of a city’s trash, and that number is growing. Generally, houses have about 24 electronic devices like computers, tablets, TVs, and cell phones. Your family can help by not buying as many electronics. When you get a new device, give your old one to someone else to use, donate it, or make sure it’s recycled.

    Dry Clothes on a Clothesline

    Clothes dryers use more energy than any other appliance in your house. Instead of running the dryer, hang your clothes on a clothesline or rack to dry.

      Carpool to Work

      To help keep the air clean, adults can carpool with a coworker. By sharing a ride every day, commuters can save up to $3,400 a year on gas, maintenance, and insurance.

      Pick Up Litter

      Don’t be a litterbug! Safely pick up any litter you see.

      Report Smoking Vehicles

      The next time you see a car, truck, or bus with dirty smoke coming from its exhaust, write down the license plate number, date, time, and city where you saw it. Report the smoking vehicle by calling 1-800-453-SMOG (7664). We will notify the owner that his or her vehicle may be contributing to air pollution by smoking too much.

      Use Public Transportation

      To reduce air emissions and help keep the air clean, you and your family can ride the bus or the light rail service, if your city has one.

      Ride the Bus to School

      To help keep the air clean, you can ride the bus to school instead of having your parents drive you. It means fewer cars on the road and fewer emissions.

      Walk to Work

      If possible, Texans should walk to work. Reducing car trips helps reduce emissions, and walking helps us get physical activity.

      Ride Your Bike

      Riding your bike instead of riding in the car not only helps keep the air clean, but it helps you develop healthy habits and get exercise. Besides, it’s fun!

        Recycle Used Motor Oil

        Whenever your parents change the oil or other vehicle fluids at home, make sure they recycle them. Recycling just two gallons of motor oil can power most homes for one day. Remember to never pour used motor oil down storm drains because they wash directly to Texas waterways. The used oil from one oil change can contaminate one million gallons of fresh water—a year's supply for 50 people.

        Carpool to Work

        To help keep the air clean, adults can carpool with a coworker. By sharing a ride every day, commuters can save up to $3,400 a year on gas, maintenance, and insurance.

        Maintain Proper Tire Pressure

        Tires typically lose about one pound of air pressure every month. There’s a label on the edge of the driver’s door that tells you the best tire pressure for your parents' car or truck. By keeping tires at that recommended pressure, the tires will last longer, the car will get better gas mileage, and you’ll be safer on the road.

        Refuel in the Evening

        Ask your parents to put gas in their car in the late afternoon and evening, which reduces the chance for ozone to form. When pumping gas, they shouldn’t fill the tank to the very top because they might spill some, and it can allow fuel to escape as vapor. After your parents finish filling up, make sure they tighten the gas cap; otherwise, gas will evaporate from the car’s tank.

        Report Smoking Vehicles

        The next time you see a car, truck, or bus with dirty smoke coming from its exhaust, write down the license plate number, date, time, and city where you saw it. Report the smoking vehicle by calling 1-800-453-SMOG (7664). We will notify the owner that his or her vehicle may be contributing to air pollution by smoking too much.

        Use Public Transportation

        To reduce air emissions and help keep the air clean, you and your family can ride the bus or the light rail service, if your city has one.

        Ride the Bus to School

        To help keep the air clean, you can ride the bus to school instead of having your parents drive you. It means fewer cars on the road and fewer emissions.

        Buy a “Cleaner” Vehicle

        The next time your parents shop for a vehicle, ask them to look at one with a high fuel-economy rating. You can let them know how much they can save per year if they switch from a vehicle that gets 20 miles per gallon to a more fuel-efficient car or truck:
        • 25 mpg: $500
        • 30 mpg: $900
        • 35 mpg: $1,100
        • 40 mpg: $1,300
        • 45 mpg: $1,500
        • 50 mpg: $1,600


        Drive the Speed Limit

        When drivers slow down and avoid aggressive driving, they can improve their fuel economy by 5 percent if driving in town, or by up to 33 percent on the highway. Slowing down and keeping to the speed limit also helps keep the air clean.

          Pick Up Litter

          Don’t be a litterbug! Safely pick up any litter you see.

          Collect and Use Rainwater

          Watering your yard during the summer takes up to one-half of all the water your family uses during those hot months. Using rainwater is great for the plants and saves your family money. By collecting rainwater from the rooftop of one out of every ten houses in Texas, we could save more than 30 billion gallons of water each year.

          Compost Yard Trimmings and Food Scraps

          Leaves, grass clippings, and other yard trimmings make up 20 percent of the trash sent to landfills each year. Instead of throwing them out with the garbage, try recycling them along with vegetable and fruits scraps by composting them. Compost is good for the soil and acts like food for your yard. It also means you have to water less.

          Plant Shade Trees

          Help your parents plant trees that lose their leaves in the winter on the south and west sides of your house and around your air conditioner. They help save energy by keeping your home shady and cool in the summer and allowing the sun to shine through windows to warm your home in the winter.

          Dry Clothes on a Clothesline

          Clothes dryers use more energy than any other appliance in your house. Instead of running the dryer, hang your clothes on a clothesline or rack to dry.

          Use Native Plants and Mulch

          If your chores include yardwork, then using mulch and planting native plants will save you time! Native plants conserve water and protect the soil, and require less pesticide, fertilizer, and maintenance. Native plants also attract a variety of birds and butterflies by providing habitat and food. Mulch reduces evaporation, prevents erosion, controls weeds, and enriches soil.

          Mow Your Grass Higher

          If you help mow the lawn, how you cut the grass matters. Ask your parents to help by setting the lawn-mower blades one notch higher. That keeps the grass blades longer, which provides shade to the roots, prevents greater evaporation, and inhibits weed growth.

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          Visit our interactive house where you can discover more ways to conserve water and energy, keep our air and water clean, and reduce waste.

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