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Protecting the Earth

In honor of Earth Day April 22, the Loudoun County Office of Solid Waste Management offers ideas on how people can make everyday Earth Day at home and at work.

* In the kitchen: recycle bottles, cans and paper. Recycling prevents pollution and saves natural resources and energy. Compost vegetable food scraps.

* In the garage: make sure waste chemicals such as old fuel, used motor oil and antifreeze and auto batteries are disposed of properly. A quart of motor oil can pollute 250,000 gallons of water.

* In the yard: use mulching mower blades for cutting the grass to allow the clippings to feed the lawn, instead of raking, bagging and disposing of grass clippings with the garbage, and adding chemical fertilizers. Limit use of chemical pesticides and herbicides by using alternative methods to accomplish the same goals.

* On the highway: drive fuel-efficient vehicles or carpool as much as possible. Emissions from automobiles and trucks contribute greatly to air pollution nationwide and are the primary source of air pollution in many urban areas.

* At work: reduce paper waste when photocopying documents by double-sided copying. Recycle unwanted papers, aluminum cans, and glass or plastic bottles. Every ton of newsprint or mixed paper recycled is the equivalent of 12 trees. Every ton of office paper recycled is the equivalent of 24 trees.

"Earth Day is an annual event for people around the world to celebrate the earth and renew their commitment to building a safer, healthier and cleaner world for everyone," said Tony Hayes, recycling specialist with the Office of Solid Waste Management. "But really, everyday is Earth Day and people can work to protect the environment on a year-round basis."

Contact the Office of Solid Waste Management at 703-777-0187 or visit www.loudoun.gov/oswm for information about recycling and household hazardous waste collection programs. More information about Earth Day

can be found at www.earthday.org.