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Resources: Protecting the Environment

Act Locally

Getting involved can make a difference in your community.

Take action - United We Serve

Adopt your Watershed: Work for clean water by joining with local organizations to monitor water quality, restore habitat, build rain gardens, plant trees, or clean up debris.

Fight Global Warming with Energy Star: Take the Energy Star Pledge to save energy, and work with community organizations to educate and drive others to take the Pledge.

Schools Chemical Cleanout Campaign: Help a local school avoid chemical mismanagement. Discuss responsible chemical management with school staff and the community, implement responsible chemical management programs, and encourage the safe removal and disposal of outdated, unknown, potentially hazardous and unneeded chemicals.

Visit Serve.gov for more ways to take action in your community.

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Protecting Your Air

Partners- Working together for Clean Air - This page describes federal, regional, state and local agencies which work together to help attain and preserve clean air in the United States.

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Protecting Your Water

American Heritage Rivers Initiative - Learn about the Presidential initiative to provide communities along these rivers with assistance to address community concerns.

Coastal Watersheds - This series of factsheets about Coastal Watersheds is now available online, featuring information about beaches, nearshore waters, coral reefs, and estuaries, and include tips on how residents can help protect the coastal watershed where they live.

Monitor the Health of America's Water - Volunteer Opportunity - Through this document, learn about water quality issues and how to get involved in citizen water monitoring programs.

Surf Your Watershed - A service to help you locate, use, and share environmental information on your watershed or community.

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Dealing with Waste

Pay As You Throw - Recycle More, Toss Less - This site is about pay as you throw programs where residents pay for trash disposal directly based on the amount of trash they generate.

Recycling Hotline : Earth 911 Exit EPA Disclaimer 
By simply typing in your zip code, this hotline helps you locate recycling centers "for all types of recyclables" in your community.

Superfund Community Involvement - This Superfund (hazardous waste site clean-up) Web site provides opportunities for community involvement in the clean-up process.

Superfund Community Involvement Toolkit - EPA is committed to involving community members in the hazardous waste cleanup process. One of our first steps is to provide you with quality information. You'll find resources on a variety of Superfund topics like The Community Advisory Group Program, Community Issues, and more.

The Hazardous Waste Permitting Process - Briefly defines hazardous wastes and hazardous waste management facilities in nontechnical terms. Lists laws and regulations governing treatment, storage, and disposal facilities (TSDFs). Describes permitting requirements, steps in the permitting process, and public participation.

RCRA Expanded Public Participation Rule - One of the key principles identified as essential to "reinventing government" and to improving the way EPA does business is the need to improve and expand opportunities for public participation in our decision-making processes. The RCRA Expanded Public Participation Rule promotes partnership, empowerment, and flexibility in the RCRA permitting program. En español

Waste Not/Want Not: A Guide for Feeding the Hungry Through Food Recovery - Explains how any state or municipality, as well as any private business that deals with food, can reduce its solid waste by facilitating the donation of wholesome surplus food according to the food hierarchy. Also lists ways you can join the growing food recovery movement, and provides a framework to help you protect the environment while making a difference in the daily lives and futures of hungry families across our nation.

Volunteer for Change: A Guide to Environmental Community Service (PDF) - (24 pp, 571 K, About PDF) || en español (PDF) (23 pp, 576K, About PDF) Contains examples of volunteer projects related to solid waste management, including reuse, recycling, composting, and household hazardous waste projects.

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Community-Based Environmental Protection Efforts

Smart Growth - Smart growth is development that serves the economy, the community, and the environment. It changes the terms of the development debate away from the traditional growth/no growth question to "how and where should new development be accommodated."

Green Communities - Green Communities are "sustainable communities": communities that integrate a healthy environment, a vibrant economy, and a high quality of life. This Web site provides information on how to make your community a green one.

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Tips and Tools

Planning Environmentally Aware Events - This guide outlines the key steps in planning and conducting an environmentally aware event, profiles a variety of meetings and events, and provides a checklist that can be used as a planning tool.

Find Stewardship Opportunities - Every person has the chance to make a difference by practicing environmental stewardship. Look for opportunities at home, at school, at work, in your community, and while shopping and traveling. The possibilities are endless, and the cumulative impacts of individual actions can really add up.

Search Your ZIP Code - Get information about pollution emissions or releases and related information where you live.

The Great Outdoors - Stay safe and help protect the environment, just outside your door or across the country on vacation.

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Volunteers displaying the treasures they found cleaning up Wethersfield Cove in Connecticut. Over 2,000 people collected more than 50 tons of trash at Wethersfield Cove and 59 other locations in four states, as part of the 11th Annual Connecticut River Watershed Council Source to Sea Cleanup.

Photo: Melissa Bengtson, 2008 Earth Day Photo Contest finalist.

Resources for Concerned Citizens

United We Serve - Serve.gov Search for volunteer opportunities in your community at Serve.gov

Learn about Your Right to Know

Right-to-know laws provide information about possible chemical exposures. Discover resources EPA provides the public in the spirit of right-to-know.

Learn about your right to know >>

Search for and Comment on Regulations

Our proposed regulations are almost always open to the public for comment. Your participation leads to better regulations.

Search for and comment on regulations >>

At Home and in the Garden

Tips for home safety, avoiding potential risks, and preventing pollution by recycling and conserving water and energy.

Protect the environment at home and in your garden >>

At Work

Information about preventing pollution in your workplace, and raising awareness of health and safety issues.

Keep work environments safe >>

On the Road

Consumer information about the environmental impacts of transportation plus tips on cleaner cars, saving gas and improving mileage, boating pollution prevention tips, and more.

Learn about the environmental impacts of transportation >>

At School

Whether you are a student or a teacher in a class about the environment, EPA has lots of educational resources to offer you.

Keep school environments safe >>

While Shopping

Find helpful information on how to choose purchases that will reduce pollution, save energy and money.

Learn to be an environmentally-savvy shopper >>

In Your Community

Learn how to protect your neighborhood's natural resources, and get information on air and water quality in your community.

Protect the environment in your community >>

Think Globally, Act Locally

Learn about environmental issues that impact our world, and about programs, opportunities, and tools to help you get involved and make a difference in your community.

More on thinking globally and acting locally >>

Report a Violation or Emergency

Information on potential environmental violations and how to report a suspicious situation. To report oil and chemical spills, call the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802.

Learn how to report violations and emergencies | Information on natural disasters >>

Children's Health

Information on how to protect children from toxins, the sun, lead, and other potential environmental health threats.

More on children's health >>

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