Monday, November 28, 2011

Reduce the Environmental Impact of Your Holiday Shopping

Shopping Mallimage by kevinspencer used under Creative Commons license

Now that Black Friday has come and gone, the holiday shopping season is in full swing. Here are some helpful tips that will help you reduce air pollution and improve air quality while you’re shopping this holiday season, but they can be used any time of the year to make a difference to our environment!

Vehicle travel is a primary source of air pollution in the New York metro area, accounting for roughly one-third of all pollution in our air. This means driving less is one of the easiest ways to improve air quality; shop online for your holiday gifts instead of driving to the store for an excellent alternative that will help reduce air pollution.

For people who are committed to shopping locally, there are ways to optimize your trips to minimize the impact they have on air quality. Plan ahead and combine, as much as possible, all of your shopping tasks into one trip and do any other errands while you’re out. This eliminates excess driving and helps keep your engine warm so that it operates more efficiently, saving money on gas!

Finding parking spaces near a store entrance often can be difficult. This leads many drivers to circle the parking lot looking for a space, with their vehicles unnecessarily emitting harmful pollution into the air the entire time. Rather than circling the lot looking for a closer space, just park in the first open spot you see and walk the short distance to the entrance. More people likely would get inside faster if they park in the first open spot they find.

Lastly, if you have to stop for gas while you’re out, remember not to top off your gas tank — stop at the click. It may surprise you to know that topping off your tank causes harmful gasoline fumes to escape into the air. The gas pump is equipped with a sensor that stops it from pumping when there is just enough extra space in the gas tank to hold these fumes. If you continue pumping gas into the tank after the pump stops itself, there is nowhere for these fumes to go except out of the tank and into the air.

Follow these easy tips and you can help give the gift of cleaner air to New Yorkers everywhere this holiday season!

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