Whether you live in a studio, one-bedroom, or multi-room apartment, you can make a positive impact on the environment without a large investment. Here are some practical tips for eco-friendly apartment living.
Be Energy Efficient
One of the easiest ways to make your apartment more eco-friendly is to focus on energy efficiency. This can include simple actions like turning off lights when you leave a room, using energy-efficient light bulbs and unplugging electronics when not in use. Did you know that many electronics continue to draw power even when they are not turned on? Some of the worst offenders include TVs, Displays, Monitors, and chargers.
Choosing an energy-efficient light bulb can also make a huge impact without adding lots of costs. When looking at light bulbs LED lights are a great choice as they use less power (up to 75% less) and last up to 25 times longer than incandescent lighting. Although LED lights are known for their cool tones, many smart LED options are now able to mimic natural and warm lighting. If you are moving into a new space and considering recessed lighting ask your electrician about LED wafers as an alternative.
Follow the mantra Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
We live in a world of convenience where we constantly encounter single-use plastics, packaging, and products meant to be thrown out. However, it’s actually very easy to reduce waste with some basic swaps. This can include using a glass or metal water bottle, reusable shopping bags, and mesh bags for fresh fruits and vegetables at the store.
If you like to cook consider shopping in bulk and investing in reusable food storage containers. This can save money, and time, and reduce the amount of packaging going into the garbage. Countertop composting is also a great way to reduce waste and most urban and suburban areas now have places to deposit household compost. Recycling is easy for paper and plastics but often gets tricky with larger items. Check with your local municipalities for the best way to recycle items such as small electronics, batteries, medicine, and chemicals. For textile recycling check out local donation bins and farmer’s markets.
Be Water Conscious
Water Conservation is probably the best way to live more sustainably at home and can save you money on the water bill. Turning off the tap while brushing your teeth, taking timed showers, and flushing the toilet less can make a significant difference in water usage throughout the day. If you own your home you can also consider low-flow showerheads and faucets as well as high-efficiency toilets. For a filtered water solution consider a gravity-fed water filter like the Berkey that does not require electricity. If you have an outdoor space consider using a broom instead of a garden hose to clean.
Many traditional household cleaning products contain harmful chemicals that can damage both the environment and your health. This is especially true in an apartment that may not have as much ventilation. It may be time to give up the bleach and ammonia for a more gentle clean. Thankfully now there are many options in most grocery stores that clean well and disinfect without harmful chemicals. It’s also easy to make your own cleaning products with household basics such as vinegar, baking soda, peroxide, and essential oils but results may be less consistent than a tested and certified product. If you are looking to upgrade your cleaning brushes consider a compostable wood option. These brushes are both beautiful and practical.
If you or someone at home has allergies or asthma a steam cleaner is excellent for sanitizing without harsh chemicals. We recommend the Dupray Neat Steam Cleaner for a basic model and the Ladybug steam cleaner as a premium choice.
Plant a Garden
Growing your own herbs, and vegetables can have so many benefits. You can start small with a few herbs in pots on your windowsill, or invest in a hydroponic garden that uses less water and soil. For those with balconies and terraces consider raised garden planters. Smart Gardens are also a great choice for novice gardeners or those without much time. They typically are self-watering and ensure that the plants receive the appropriate amount of light. No green thumb is required. Home gardening not only helps the environment but also provides you with fresh, healthy food.
Living sustainably in an apartment is easy and achievable but may require more effort initially. Small daily changes can make a large impact over time. By focusing on energy efficiency, reducing, reusing, and recycling, conserving water, using sustainable cleaning products, and growing your own food, you can make a positive impact on the environment and live a more fulfilling life.
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