Making Apartment Living More Sustainable
By Jane Marsh
If you don’t own your home, you might despair over what you can do to help save the planet from the ravages of climate change. Although you may have less control over what appliances your unit uses and may be unable to alter your landscaping, there’s still a lot you can do.
Minimize your carbon footprint with a bit of savvy. Here are seven tips for making apartment living more sustainable.
Please unplug and not just for your mental health. Appliances like televisions, toasters and lamps continue to draw electricity when plugged in, even if you aren’t using them. The simple solution is to use a power strip or master switch to kill the juice in one fell swoop.
You might not be able to convince your landlord to swap your aging appliances for more energy-efficient models if they still work. However, maintaining them in optimal conditions reduces your power consumption. Take steps like emptying your dryer’s lint trap between uses and report any problems immediately. After all, you pay for working equipment in your home.
Making apartment living more sustainable starts when you shop for necessities. The less packaging you bring into your home, the less waste you create. Seek items free from unnecessary wrapping and labeling and avoid plastic vegetable bags by bringing reusable ones from home.
Embrace minimalism by practicing one-in-one-out living for larger items. For example, before buying a new shirt, repurpose or donate an old one.
You don’t need a backyard to get in on the gardening craze. A simple herb version on your kitchen windowsill adds flavor and nutrients to your meals. It also makes your indoor air more breathable.
Way back in the 1980s, NASA scientists investigated the effects of plants on indoor air when trying to figure out how to support life on other planets. They discovered that your corner ficus cleans toxins like formaldehyde from your space.
Another way to reduce waste from food scraps is by creating a compost bin. This tip might sound labor-intensive, but it’s not. A simple plastic tub on your patio does the trick.
What can you put inside? Most plant-based food scraps like banana peels, even unbleached coffee filters, belong inside. However, please refrain from placing meat or animal waste within as it contaminates the soil you hope to treat with your compost.
Many people don’t recycle properly regardless of whether they own or rent. Show off your savvy by getting your game on point.
You can DIY a set of bins in less than an hour. The other trick? Knowing what you can place inside. Check with your local center whether they want you to keep caps on bottles or separate them. Plastic lids never biodegrade — please go the extra mile to ensure yours get reused if possible.
Maybe you can’t convince your landlord to switch to solar. You can still take advantage in one of two ways. One is signing up with an energy cooperative. These organizations work by providing your utility company with green energy. You pay the same bill while contributing to the demand for renewable resources.
Another idea is to invest in portable panels. While they won’t fuel your entire home, you might be able to power your office equipment. You won’t lose cash — take them with you when you move or use them for power if you later purchase an RV.
If you’re one of the unfortunate victims of the pandemic housing crisis and find yourself searching for a new pad, try to go greener. You might not be able to afford a luxury unit with full sustainability features if the reason for your move is your greedy landlord hiking your rent. However, you can keep in mind the famous real estate agent refrain — location, location.
If possible, select a new place within walking distance of the stores and other facilities you frequent most often. If you aren’t working from home and can get closer to the office, all the better.
If you rent, you might feel disempowered to make the sustainability upgrades you would like in your home. However, there’s still a lot you can do to reduce your carbon footprint.
Follow the seven tips above to make apartment living more sustainable. It takes everyone’s cooperation to halt climate change.