If you live in an apartment, you may feel as though your options for eco-friendly lifestyle changes are limited. But going green in an apartment is far from impossible. Check out these tips for simple ways to conserve:
1. Save as much energy as possible:
By reducing energy consumption in your apartment, you’ll save money on your electricity bill while reducing your carbon footprint. Many electronic devices are designed to consume energy even when switched off, so unplug everything that’s not in use. Sometimes referred to as “power phantoms,” such devices consume an average of 1000 kilowatt hours of energy per household yearly. This includes your plugged-in cell-phone charger, TV set, toaster, computer, etc.
2. Find space for recycling in order to minimize waste:
Lack of space is a major concern for most apartment-dwellers. But however small your apartment, it’s important to carve out a spot for a recycling bin so that you can responsibly dispose of glass, paper and plastic. Tuck it away in a utility closet or keep it outside on your balcony or patio. My recycling bin is an old, sturdy box that held shredded hashbrowns in a previous life. It’s kept inconspicuously under my table in my (very small) kitchen/dining room.
3. Find a way to compost:
Composting is a great way to make use of organic waste. If there’s a yard or lawn surrounding your apartment complex, ask management for their permission to start an outdoor community compost pile. If there’s no available outdoor space or management doesn’t want to be bothered with community compost, look into indoor options. If cared for properly, a small indoor compost bin can yield rich compost without any funky smells or pest problems.
4. Reduce your water usage:
If you have a dishwasher, try to run it only when it is absolutely full. Same goes for the laundry – turn on the washing machine only when you have a full load. Also, try to get multiple uses out of clothing items and towels before washing them. This will decrease your number of laundry loads and conserve water. Of course, use your best judgement – we don’t want you walking around in ripe-smelling clothing, but it’s generally okay to wear something twice or use a towel twice each time before washing it.
5. Avoid using plastic bottles:
Every year about fifty billion plastic water bottles end up in landfills. This shakes out to about 140 million bottles every day. Try to avoid contributing to this monumental waste by using water filters that attach to your faucet or a pitcher filter for drinking water. Also, invest in a reusable stainless steel water bottle.
6. Save on heat:
Keep your thermostat at a moderate temperature. Reducing the temperature by just a couple of degrees can save you a surprising amount of money on your next electricity bill. Bundle up in a sweater or cuddle up in your most fashionable snuggie to feel comfortable. Cranking up the thermostat should also be avoided because it makes it more likely that you’ll catch a cold if the temperature in your apartment differs too drastically from the temperature outdoors.
Don’t let living in an apartment deter you from living a greener lifestyle. With limited space, it just takes a little more creativity.