Sustainable Living For Your Apartment

Are you an apartment dweller? Interested in adopting a greener lifestyle? As a renter, you can’t control every aspect of your home, but there’s a lot you can do to make your living space greener. Here are some room-by-room suggestions:

In the kitchen

If you’re not sure where to begin, start in the kitchen. One of the greenest things you can do in your apartment kitchen is switch to non-toxic detergents and cleaners. This is not just good for the earth, but is healthier for you as well. There are many earth-friendly dish detergents on the market these days. For general cleaning, plain white vinegar and baking soda work wonders — no need for bleach!

You probably generate more waste from your kitchen than anywhere else in your apartment. Invest in some attractive stacking recycling bins and put them in a corner or closet. If you have access to a garden or know a gardener, you can also salvage your compostable kitchen scraps. Ask your landlord for permission to set up an enclosed compost bin outside. (You can make a compost bin easily from a plastic garbage can with a lid.)

If you are feeling adventurous, consider starting a composting worm bin — composting redworms takes very little space and requires little maintenance. Put the worm castings in the garden, or use them to fertilize your houseplants. Or, start an indoor herb garden in a sunny windowsill!

In the bathroom

You can conserve a lot of water in your kitchen and bath by installing low-flow fixtures. For example, by switching to a WaterSense labeled shower head you will use 20 percent less hot water in the shower. Installing faucet aerators can also help you save water, but adopting smart water-saving habits will save even more. Keep your showers short, and turn off the water while you shave or brush your teeth.

Just like in your kitchen, choosing non-toxic cleaners makes a difference in the bathroom. Vinegar and baking powder work great here, too! For body care, seek products with ingredients you can pronounce. For a special treat, try locally made soap from your nearby farmers’ market.

In the living room and bedroom

Turn off or unplug your electronics when you’re not using them. Wide screen TVs, especially, use a huge amount of electricity. When you’re not actively watching a program, consider turning yours off. Listen to music instead — or just enjoy the silence.

Same goes for your computer. Even if you plan to return in a few minutes and don’t want to shut it down, you can save significant energy over time by making it a habit to switch off your monitor. By the way, replacing your desktop with a laptop can save up to 80 percent of the energy your computer uses.

All electronics draw a small amount of power even when turned off, this is called vampire load. You can easily keep the vampires at bay by plugging all your toys into a single power strip and switching it off at night or when you leave your apartment.

In the laundry

Unless you are lucky enough to have a compact, stackable laundry unit in your apartment, you probably have to lug your loads to a laundromat. Investing in an inexpensive mini electric or hand cranked countertop washer and/or a portable electric clothes dryer can help you avoid extra trips in your car. They also use significantly less power than full-size machines, especially if you typically run small loads.

Whether you do your laundry at home or at the laundromat, switch to eco-friendly, fragrance-free detergents. (If you have skin conditions, you may find this improves your complexion.)

Outside

Extend your green living beyond the walls of your apartment by using alternative transportation whenever possible. You won’t just save money and energy: Cycling and walking improve your fitness and mental clarity, and you can use the time you spend riding the bus or train to study, get some work done or just relax.

Finally, keep in mind that sustainability is ultimately about wellness and abundance. Keep clutter to a minimum, decorate in cheery colors, hang some beautiful art. Add a few houseplants, too; they have a calming influence and help filter the air.

Follow these suggestions and your apartment will become an inviting, green oasis you will be proud to call home!

You might also like to read:
5 Practical Ways to Save on your Energy Bills
Smart Ideas to Make the Most of Your Small Apartment
Upgrade Your Bathroom Without Violating Your Lease