From emissions to plastics and natural resources, across every continent there are social movements focusing on how you can reduce your carbon footprint and make a positive impact on our environment today.
At first sight, there are dozens of great ways to go green—including driving an electric car, riding your bicycle to the store, adding solar panels to your roof, and purchasing energy efficient appliances.
But if you’re living in an apartment rental and you feel at all restricted on what you can do to make an impact and large contribution, here are six easy ideas to get you started:
Turn down the faucets
While water is a renewable resource, never-ending volumes of clean water aren’t always available to everyone. Even in first world countries such as the United States, places like California and Arizona often experience dangerous droughts that result in wildfires and soil erosion. You may not realize that besides water usage, pumping, heating, and cleaning water takes lots of energy.
So recognizing your water usage may be the first start:
- Unless you’re actively using water to rinse your mouth, consider turning off your faucet each day when you brush your teeth (or shave).
- Make a conscious decision to ask yourself, before washing your car, “Does my car really need a cleaning?”
- Run your washing machine or dishwasher only when you have a full load.
- Set a timer in your bathroom to try to reduce your shower time by 10%.
Make your apartment “Smart”
You don’t have to have solar panels on your roof and a dozen fancy gadgets to save on your electricity bill every month and make a global impact. Today’s smart technology products combine a variety of features designed to conserve electricity and reduce waste, even when we’re forgetful.
Using a smart device like Amazon’s Alexa or Echo, you can combine many technology tools into a single purchase. Feel free to play soft jazz playing in the background, listen to podcasts, turn on and off light switches, and adjust your alarm clock by the sound of your voice. Use smart plugs for hard to reach lamps: Today, millions of apartment renters are using their smartphones to control, schedule, and automatically turn on and off lamps, fans, radios, televisions, and other things that hog electricity when you’re not home.
Reuse and Recycle
While most of us are popping our empty water bottles into any available recycle bin, there are tons of opportunities to reduce your carbon footprint by reusing and recycling during your everyday routines. As an example, with a quick search on Google, you’ll quickly find reusable BPA free plastic storage bags.
But when you want to “turn up the heat” on going green in your apartment home, feel free to:
- Turn food and takeout containers into tupperware
- Save and reuse grocery bags
- Buy dry goods from bulk bins
- Reuse single-use water bottles or invest in a reusable water bottle
And if your town and community supports recycling, be sure to use the right trash bin for:
- Cardboard boxes
- Aluminum cans
- Glass jars
- Plastic bottles
- Plastic food containers
- Paper towel and toilet paper cardboard rolls
Go with Vintage Decor
Just because something is older, doesn’t mean it’s out of style. Lots of antiques, both modern and retro, have become very popular in every style of home decor and design. In fact, online shopping sites such as Etsy, Wayfair, and Rejuvenation specialize in collections of high-quality furniture, accents, and artwork to personalize your home. And if you’re on a strict budget, heading out to your neighborhood garage sales may result in the most perfect piece of furniture or art for your living space. Historic treasures are everywhere. Save the planet by restoring well-made, stunning wood sleigh beds, card catalog cabinets, and eclectic glassware for your home.
Plant a Patio Garden
Whether you live in an apartment home or multi-story apartment, planting some organic color on your patio is a wonderful way to reduce your carbon footprint AND spruce up your space. Plants absorb carbon dioxide, produce oxygen, and provide mission critical bee pollen to our flying insect friends. In some cases, patio gardens provide delicious food and herbs for our dining room table.
Remember, there’s no need to become the next Martha Stewart! Simply carve out a little space on your outdoor patio that gets full sun or partial shade and follow our guidelines for creating the perfect patio space.
It’s no secret that trees are one of the earth’s most important natural resources. They provide shade, fresh air, and in many cases, shelter. Thankfully, the majority of today’s businesses, especially utilities, offer their clients the selection to go “paperless” when it comes to standard account and billing correspondence. So if you’re comfortable with email and online payments, make the jump and say no to paper statements. The trees will thank you!
Apartment living doesn’t have to be restricted when it comes to doing your part in saving our planet. In fact, apartment home neighborhoods like Redwood participate each year in green initiatives including installing energy saving appliances, participating in recycling programs wherever possible, offering ample patio space, and much more.