Moving into an apartment isn’t easy, let alone doing so in an eco-friendly or sustainable manner. But there’s good news: moving into an apartment in a sustainable way and maintaining that standard once moved in is not difficult. In fact, it can actually take away unwanted stress through its emphasis on simplicity and minimalism. Here is your eco-friendly and health conscious guide to a stress-free, well-planned apartment move-in.
Purchase Used/Gently Worn Furniture
Visit Goodwill, Craigslist, or Freecycle for incredibly low prices on chairs, tables, mattresses, futons, couches, or whatever else you may need. This method of purchasing items is truly the most environmentally-friendly because you are reducing your carbon footprint by creating less waste, preventing the demand for additional raw materials like foam or wood, and upcycling merchandise that already exists.
Purchase Green Cleaning Products for the Home
One of the easiest ways to ensure your home is eco-friendly and health conscious is to ensure the products coming into your house are. Different sources online such as EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database provide consumers with a rating system based on proven science from 1-10 depending on how good or bad the product is. You can also check out this guide to find recommendations for green cleaning products. Alternatively, if you like DIY products, apple cider vinegar works wonders for a clean, chemical-free home. If you’d like recommendations on shampoos, soaps, and conditions for you personally, follow this link.
Less is More When it Comes to Water
Water is life. Water is also a limited resource, with only 2.5 percent of all the water on Earth being fresh, drinkable water and more than 97 percent being saltwater. We’ve all heard that taking shorter showers helps, but we have a few more hacks for you that will positively curb your water usage.
A big one most people forget about is to change your showerhead. Energy Star appliances, for example, will aid in saving water. Another significant way you can make a positive impact is to install a WaterSense labeled showerhead, which is proven to save more than 2,300 gallons of water per year for the average household. This also reduces energy demands on water heaters, which saves you money in the long run.
Fun fact: if every household in the United States installed WaterSense labeled showerheads in their bathrooms, we could save more than 250 billion gallons of water per year. To give you an idea of what this looks like, that would be we could supply 2.5 million homes with water needs for a year!
It doesn’t hurt to ask your landlord if this change is acceptable; however, most will be supportive of the transition due to the numerous benefits the switch will bring.
Be Mindful of Your Electricity
Did you know that of the total energy consumed in the United States, 30 percent of it is used to generate electricity? This dependence illustrates a very important fraction of our environmental footprint. Do your part by researching how to reduce energy usage in the home and finding clean energy supply options.
Reduce your environmental impact and save money on your electricity bills each month by purchasing a power strip for $30-$40, plugging your energy-sucking appliances into it, and turning the switch off when they’re not in use. Because most appliances inconveniently need to be near each other, try placing a power strip in the kitchen and hook up all of your kitchen appliances to it. Additionally, insert one in a convenient location in your living room where you can plug in your television, DVD/Blu-Ray player, your sound system, and any other appliances you use.
Another great option is to check if your local utility company to see if they offer green power options using the EPA Green Power locator. Clean energy includes renewable energy sources and highly efficient combined power and heat. Changing your system may cost you a few more cents per kilowatt hour; however, this can offset by energy efficient appliances.
And again, it doesn’t hurt to reach out to your landlord to see if he or she is open to upgrading the entire building. If he or she is unwilling, offer plan B, which is to change your energy on an individual basis. Remember to remind your landlord that green energy saves a lot in the long run.
The energy used in the average house is responsible for twice as many greenhouse gas emissions as the average car. Heating and cooling are some of the biggest sources of energy usage. Take steps to air-seal and insulate your apartment as much as you can.
Also, when older appliances are non-functioning, switch over to Energy Star-qualified options. These have met strict standards for energy efficiency that will save you at least 30 percent on energy costs while without sacrificing performance. Everything from your toaster to your refrigerator can be energy efficient.
Managing household waste is a big one. Don’t fret, it’s easier than you think. Reduce, reuse, and recycle are quick ways to lessen your demands on natural resources and limit your environmental footprint.
Since 1990, we have increased the amount of waste recycled from 15 percent to 34 percent in the U.S. This energy-savings was equal to nearly 230 million barrels of oil.
Ask your landlord about implementing a recycling program if your apartment doesn’t have one. If your landlord is against the idea, bring your things to a local recycling center or even your workplace if they are okay with this. The best way to reduce plastic waste is to cut it at the source, for more tips and tricks on how to reduce your plastic consumption, check out One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign.
Zero-waste is the best waste. By sending nothing to landfill and living off of usable containers, jars, and DIY projects, you will avoid the waste crisis altogether. Here’s a quick guide on how to adopt a zero-waste lifestyle.
Look at Your Plate
One aspect of waste created in apartments that often gets overlooked is food waste. An estimated 40 percent of food produced in the United States is never eaten, reports The National Resources Defense Council. All of the energy and water used to produce these items are lost when they are spoiled and thrown out. Additionally, food rotting in landfills releases a huge amount of methane, which is one of the most potent greenhouse gases.
Reduce your food waste by using a grocery list which identifies items that you need. Make an eating plan for the week on Sunday. That way you will know exactly what you will eat. Shoot for buying locally grow fresh foods as well to support local farmers, your local economy, and a more sustainable world. Bring jars and reusable bags as well to stay away from packaging.
The single most effective thing you can do to reduce your carbon and water footprints is to leave meat and dairy off your plate. Animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation sector and uses around 23 percent of the world’s freshwater supply. By choosing more plant-based options, you can halve your own carbon footprint and save up to 200,000 gallons of water a year!
We truly hope our many suggestions will lead you down the path of living a lifestyle that promotes a sustainable and health-friendly planet. Have you tried any of these things in your apartment or have more tips? Tell us in the comments!
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