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Tips for Green Living in an Apartment

apartment skyline

October 1st is the 25th International Day of Older Persons. This year is all about urban sustainability. If you live in the city, you have dealt with the struggle of trying to go green in a small living space. Most tips for sustainable living are aimed at home owners, not renters. But you do not have to be a home owner to go green.

Celebrate this International Day of Older Persons by living up to the theme of sustainability. From saving water to reducing your electric bill, small changes can have a big impact on your community. If you rent an apartment there are many ways to incorporate sustainable practices into your life.

Save Water

runnning faucet
  • Keep the sink off while you wash dishes. Fill up two tubs, one with soapy water for washing and one for rinsing. Leaving the sink on while washing wastes huge amounts of water. If you catch the water, you can use it twice by watering your plants with what is left over.
  • Keep a glass jar in your toilet tank. Place a pint or quart jar upright in your toilet tank. That much water will be saved each time you flush. And you don’t always need to flush – remember the saying “if it’s yellow let it mellow” to save some extra water.
  • Install a low-flow shower head. These shower head are easy to install, simply screw the old on off and put the new one on. Save the old shower head in case you move – then you can bring the low-flow one with you.

Go Paperless

recycling bin
  • Get off those junk mail lists. Apartment residents are big targets for junk mailers. Opt-out and get off those lists to save paper and reduce clutter. Put your name on the Direct Marketing Association’s “Do Not Mail” lists to prevent future mailings.
  • Do billing and banking online. This is a great way to cut a huge amount of paper out of your life. Pay bills and get your bank statements online. It is easy, fast, and will save you the time it takes to mail your checks.
  • Get emailed receipts. Many businesses now have the option of emailing receipts instead of giving you paper ones. This will save a lot of paper and keep everything in one convenient place. No more finding receipts at the bottom of your purse!

Reduce Energy

light bulbs
  • Wash clothes on cold. Washing machines consume a lot of energy. Wash clothes with cold water to cut back on energy usage and heating costs. Whenever possible, forgo the dryer and hang clothes on a drying rack. Bonus: cold water and air drying will make your clothes last longer.
  • Purchase insulated curtains or shades. Keep the curtains closed when you are out for the day. Your home will maintain its temperature so you don’t need to heat or cool it when you get back in the evening.
  • Put a draft guard at the bottom of your door. Place a draft guard on doors that lead outside. This will keep your temperature-controlled air in while keeping drafts out.
  • Use energy efficient light bulbs. These may cost more upfront, but they will save you money over time by conserving energy. If you have to move apartments, simply unscrew them and bring them with you.
  • Unplug devices. A lot of energy is wasted when electronic devices are plugged in, even when they are not in use. A power strip can easily stop this energy drain. Keep everything connected to power strips so you can turn everything off with a single button push.
  • Take public transportation. If you live in the city, you have close access to public transportation options. Take advantage of these and bike to your destinations when you can.

Reuse

water bottles
  • Give up bottled water. Cut out the plastic required by disposable water bottles. Take a reusable water bottle while you are out and about. At home, keep a water filter in your sink or refrigerator.  
  • Bring reusable bags to the store. Stock up on some reusable bags and bring them whenever you go shopping. Say goodbye to groceries tumbling out when you rip your paper or plastic bag.
  • Use cloth napkins instead of napkins and paper towels. Cloth napkins that you can reuse are a great alternative to paper ones that you throw away and only use once. 

Recycle

recycle icon
  • Recycle with no bin. Some apartments do not provide recycling bins. Ask your property manager about local recycling services. Keep your own large plastic bin and dump at a recycling center near you.
  • Add recycling bin in mail area. Chances are the trash can is filled to the brim with unwanted junk mail from all the residents in your complex. Ask your apartment manager to add a recycling bin near the mailboxes.
  • Compost. Composting is easy with premade, in-home compost containers that you can purchase. You can compost everything from fruits and vegetables, eggshells, paper, coffee and filters, teabags and leaves. Once everything is decomposed you can use the soil for gardening. 

Go Green Like A Pro

happy couple biking

Sustainable living may be a bit tougher in an apartment, but all of these simple tips can add up to saving a huge amount of resources. Going green and living sustainably helps your whole community and ultimately the world. Let this International Day of Older Persons kickstart your efforts to live sustainably in your apartment.