Ways in which you can be good to the environment and improve our quality of life.
Reduce Your Car Trips
Reduce daily car trips. Combine errands. Check into teleworking or carpooling.
Buy in bulk.
Use public transportation.
Urge county and state elected officials to vote for improvements in transportation infrastructure.
Walk to work or the Metro, or ride a bike. Plus, you will benefit from the exercise.
Conserve Energy at Home
Find your carbon footprint using EPA’s Household Emissions Calculator: https://www3.epa.gov/carbon-footprint-calculator/
Plug leaky windows and door frames. Replace older windows and doors with energy efficient ones if you can.
Thermal pane windows and well-sealed doors make your home more energy-efficient and comfortable. Turn your thermostat down in the winter and up in the summer. Use ceiling fans.
Look into solar products to move some of your energy consumption off of the grid.
Replace worn out appliances with energy efficient products.
Use compact fluorescent light bulbs in every light in your home. Keep lights, electrical appliances and electronics turned off when not in use.
Change the filters in your heating and air conditioning system and have it serviced to check for problems that stress the system and waste power.
Use electric or reel lawn mowers. Fact from Montgomery DEP: Every summer day, the use of gas-powered lawn and garden equipment releases more than 100 times the VOCs of a typical large industrial plant.
Be a Water Steward
Disconnect downspouts from your gutters and use rain barrels to prevent stormwater from entering local watersheds. Learn about the county’s rain barrel program by visiting the Montgomery Stormwater Network website: https://www.stormwaterpartnersmoco.net/
Learn about the “Rainscapes” rebate program at https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/water/rainscapes/rebates.html
If you see muddy construction runoff flowing down streets, quickly ask the builder to address the issue! If you are unable to reach the builder, take photos and call 240-777-6300 to speak to someone in the stormwater management section of the County Department of Permitting Services.
Plant rain gardens in your yard using native species of plants. https://www.mdflora.org has a list of native plants that make attractive rain gardens that capture stormwater runoff.
Keep plumbing repaired at home.
Never dump chemicals or trash into local streams or creeks.
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
Montgomery County has an excellent recycling program, but it all starts with how we recycle at home. Learn more at http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/swstmpl.asp?url=/Content/dep/solidwaste/index.asp
Hold garage sales or donate used items to charities like Purple Heart, Salvation Army, Goodwill or Freecycle to avoid sending usable items to landfills.
Use the Montgomery County Transfer Station (found in the link above) to properly dispose of old computers, TVs, mattresses, etc.
Use reusable shopping bags. (Keep them in your car.)
Pick up litter and recycle what’s recyclable.
Try to purchase quality products that will not break or wear quickly.
Love Our County Trees
Trees are the solution to a lot of environmental dilemmas. They filter polluted air, store carbon, reduce the urban heat island effect, and provide wildlife habitats.
Plant trees and keep healthy native vegetation alive. Prevent young trees from becoming deer food.
Prune older trees and keep them healthy by cabling large limbs and multiple trunks.
Remove invasive species that choke trees. Common plants such as English Ivy, vinca and Daylilies can get out of hand quickly.
Talk to your civic association leadership about a launching a neighborhood invasive removal day. Walk the streets of your neighborhood with clippers and gardening tools. Clip and remove ivy growing on trees in the public right of way along sidewalks and streets and in our parks.
Ask your local civic association about partnering with neighbors and other organizations on caring for our communities.
Work with schools to encourage environmental stewardship. Work with your PTA and students on environmental projects.
Join a county Citizens’ Advisory Committee to get up to speed on the issues and that affect our quality of life. Committees that deal with environmental issues are: — Montgomery County Forest Conservation Advisory Committee — Agricultural Preservation Advisory Board — Energy and Air Quality Advisory Committee — Dickerson Area Facilities Implementation Group — Historic Preservation Commission — Pedestrian Safety Advisory Committee — Department of Permitting Services Advisory Committee — Recreation Advisory Boards — Water Quality Advisory Group — Washington Suburban Transit Commission
Ask local developers if they will work with the community to preserve trees adjacent to the project. Try working with builders before assuming that they are the enemy. Many builders are eager to work with adjacent residents to help their project meet approval. If the builder is uncooperative, contact your civic association or your County Council.
If you are planning to remodel or build, visit the Low Impact Development Center at https://lowimpactdevelopment.org or visit the National Association of Home Builders website https://www.nahb.org/ to learn about their national green building program.
Prevent contractors from parking heavy construction equipment on the roots of trees.
Prevent silt fences from leaking muddy construction runoff that will make its way to local streets and waterways — and eventually into the Chesapeake Bay.
Consider hiring a tree moving company to use a tree spade to move a lovely, healthy mature tree that is in the path of pending construction. It is possible to move trees of significant size in diameter. If moved correctly and watered, a tree will thrive in a new location.
If you must cut trees down, replant the highest caliper trees that you can on and around the project. Keep deer from grazing on young trees and water them as needed.
Use tree-save measures on and around the site as required by county law — and then some … .
Show Elected Officials You Care
Pay attention to news and upcoming hearings on legislation that will impact our environment. Sign on for county updates at https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov and at the Maryland-National Capital Parks and Planning Commission (https://www.mncppc.org). Attend hearings and provide testimony on issues important to you.
Write to the County Executive, County Council Members and Planning Board. Contact them at https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/mcg/contactus.html