By its nature, apartment living already is a bit eco-friendlier than other modern lifestyles. That’s because you’re most likely in an urban center where you’re close to amenities and don’t use as many resources. Yet there are still numerous ways to make your living space even more environmentally sustainable. The good news is, many of them are relatively simple. Reducing your ecological footprint and having a greater positive impact on the world around you can be a matter of making a few minor changes.
For example, purchasing all-natural cleaning supplies instead of those containing chemicals can be an important step. That’s because these products can find their way into water supplies after they go down the drain. Switching your light fixtures to LED bulbs means you’ll consume less electricity and burn fewer resources every time you flip the switch. If you want to furnish your place, try looking at estate sales or resale shops to rescue pieces from the landfill.
Your apartment may be a little more sustainable than the average McMansion, but you can tweak it to become even more eco-friendly. For some additional tips on going green in your building, see the accompanying infographic.
Here are some helpful tips for making apartment living more eco-friendly.
- Use LED Light Bulbs
Artificial light consumes a lot of energy, even in a relatively small space. Switching your incandescent bulbs for energy-efficient LEDs can reduce the amount of power your apartment consumes by a substantial amount over time.
- Plant a Garden
Planting vegetables and herbs on your building’s roof or on your balcony means you don’t have to rely on industrialized farming as much. You could even share your bounty with others in your building and create a sort of co-op.
- Recycle Furniture
When it’s time to furnish your place, look at consignment stores or estate sales first. You may be able to find some nice pieces that will be kept out of landfills by giving them a second chance at life.
- Hang Curtains
Window treatments do more than add character to your living area. Shades and curtains also help you regulate the temperature inside your apartment. Keep them closed during the day and you won’t need to use your air conditioner as often.
- Choose Sustainable Materials
When choosing area rugs, furniture or decor, look for sustainable materials. Bamboo, glass and metal help cut down on deforestation and don’t require the use of VOCs to treat them.
- Stop Using Paper Towels
Buy a supply of cloth towels and rags to reduce your dependence on disposable paper goods. You won’t be contributing to waste the next time you need to wipe up a spill.
- Look for Green Cleaners
The cleaning products you use can find their way into the water supply, which can be a big problem if they contain harsh chemicals. When you’re shopping, always look for organic or all-natural cleansers.
- Watch for Leaks
A drippy faucet or showerhead might not seem like a reason to call your building manager right away, but you shouldn’t neglect this issue. Over time, those drips can add up to a lot of wasted water.
- Unplug What You’re Not Using
Before leaving for work in the morning, unplug your TV, video game console or computer. Even when they’re turned off, a lot of modern electronics continue to draw power and waste energy. That goes for smartphones and tablets, too — make sure you don’t leave them plugged in once they’re charged.
- Use Your Recycling Bin
Make sure you know what types of plastics, papers or glass your community accepts for recycling and only put those in your bin. Otherwise, there’s a chance everything will be tossed into a landfill.