When you live in an apartment building, there are only so many things about your lifestyle that you can control. And while certain things may be out of your hands, like whether or not your building makes it easy for you to recycle, there are simple steps you can take in any apartment that will make your lifestyle more sustainable and kinder to the planet. Here are five you can take today.
Swap Out Your Lightbulbs
There’s a good chance that your building is using old light bulbs that are not super energy efficient. Swapping them out for LED bulbs, which can last over three times as long as less efficient bulbs while using half the amount of watts, will save a ton of energy.
Clean with Old Clothes
As convenient as disinfecting wipes are, every time you use one you’re throwing away the wipe afterwards—and the same goes for paper towels. Instead, repurpose old t-shirts that you don’t wear anymore as rags for cleaning. They’re washable and reusable, so you won’t be creating waste every time you need to clean your counter. Plus, you’ll be giving clothes that may have been too old and worn to donate a new life.
If you’re constantly throwing away food scraps in your regular garbage, chances are those scraps are winding up in landfills where they are releasing methane into the atmosphere. The fix: Composting. Composting is super easy if you have a balcony or outdoor space where you can keep a bin, but you can also use an in-home composting bin that will fit on your counter. Then when your bin is full, simply take your food waste to a drop-off point in your city.
Most apartments come already outfitted with blinds or shades but hanging curtains can serve a dual purpose. One, it’s an easy way to add color and style to your space. And two, it will make your apartment more energy efficient. Since curtains are thicker than blinds, they will help keep the heat in during the winter and the cool in during the summer, which can make a big difference if you live in an older building with single-pane windows.
Eliminate Single-Use Items
This one step can go far toward making your lifestyle more sustainable. The reason: There’s a good chance you are using more single-use items, especially plastic ones, on a daily basis than you might realize. Try swapping out plastic water bottles for a refillable one and plastic straws for a metal reusable one. Instead of buying small plastic containers of spices or hand soap, buy larger ones and refill glass containers or jars that you have. These small tweaks will reduce the amount of overall waste you’re creating.