Wondering how to live greener in an apartment? Even when you might not have control over building-related decisions, there is still plenty you can do to green up your pad. In honor of Earth Day, we’ve rounded up our favorite ways to live your best life while also reducing your impact on the environment.
- Do You Need It?
Because the creation of new products uses energy and resources and can also contribute to air and water pollution, reducing the need to create new things is really the first stop on the sustainable living train. Before purchasing an item, consider if it’s something you really want or need and how long it will last. Also consider how much packaging it comes with, sometimes accounting for just as much material as an item itself! Get rid of annoying and wasteful junk mail through Catalog Choice and Opt Out Prescreen.
- Use It Through It’s Useful Life
Often, what we already have just needs a simple repair or can find a new home through selling or donating it. For everyday items, such as water bottles, to-go containers and utensils, food storage items and drinking straws, choose reusable items rather than disposable. Borrow or share items you don’t use often (and save some money, too!).
- Then, Recycle It
Most apartment buildings and municipalities offer single-stream recycling (meaning you don’t need to separate plastic, glass, metal and paper), making it super convenient to create new items from old ones. This is the last leg of the “reduce, reuse, recycle” train, however, as recycling still uses quite a bit of energy and water and doesn’t always produce high quality products at the end.
- Ditch Those Plastic Bags
The average American takes home almost 1,500 single-use plastic shopping bags a year – that really adds up! Invest in a set of reusable bags that stay in your car (or close at hand on your regular shopping days). If you do find yourself without your bags, ask for paper – a renewable and easily recycled material.
- Deliciously Clean
Eating organic is healthier for you and better for the environment as pesticides and herbicides aren’t being introduced into the ecosystem. Even simply eating locally and seasonally reduces the need for chemicals as these are foods that are already suited to local rainfall and temperatures and need very little extra help to thrive. Eating locally also reduces fossil fuels needed for transportation and supports the local economy. Also, grow your own!