For many, the thought of eco-friendly living might conjure up images of something like granola in mason jars, patchouli-scented soaps and hemp hand towels. Or maybe it makes you think of intensely modern homes with solar panels, futuristic gadgets and an electric car plugged into the garage—a lifestyle that’s expensive and out of reach. Whatever your impression of sustainable living, the important thing to note is that although it may be require a little change from your normal routine, it’s really pretty simple.
If you are living in a small space, like an apartment, then you’ve already got a head start! Smaller spaces are much easier to manage, have less room for storage and more need for efficiency, and require less maintenance overall. Win-win, right? So, to help you get started with your eco endeavor, our friends at Modernize gathered 3 ways to help you incorporate eco-friendly living into your apartment life.
Be More Energy Efficient
No matter where you live, it’s important to take stock of your energy use. With heating and cooling accounting for almost half of the average person’s energy bill each month, as well as a large chunk of the population’s total carbon emissions each year, there are little things you can do that make a big difference overall. If you live in an apartment that does not allow you to control the temperature, it’s even more important to be diligent about how much energy you use on a regular basis.
- Replace your light bulbs with CFLs (Compact Fluorescents) that give off less heat (and on warmer days, use less energy to cool your space), last longer, and are energy efficient.
- If it’s possible, purchase energy efficient appliances that have an ENERGY STAR label to help reduce greenhouse gases by using less energy.
- Consider how many appliances are plugged into outlets when not in use. Taking stock of this drastically cuts back on energy use because even though things are not in use, being connected to an outlet means there is still electricity in use to power it up and make it run once you flip that switch. Use a surge protector with a power switch that can help you manage your appliances even when you aren’t around.
Be More Mindful in the Kitchen
The kitchen is the heart of our home and the heart of many sustainable habits as well. Here, you can make daily choices that have far-reaching, positive effects, so it’s worth making the change and taking the plunge. Even if you’re more focused on creating an urban chic look with new cherry java kitchen cabinets, you can still take positive steps toward a greener lifestyle.
- Eliminate the use of single-use, disposable plastics like Saran wrap and plastic bags that are harmful to our fragile ecosystem. Replace them with reusable containers, bottles and even beeswax wrap instead!
- Become familiar with your town’s recycling practices and learn how to properly recycle certain materials. Knowing how they operate can you help contribute to those efforts.
- Compost your food scraps! Composting helps to enrich the soil and provide more oxygen to the atmosphere. It also helps avoid adding to ever-accumulating landfills through the natural process of biodegradation. Many stores sell small composting containers that are easy to transport to your waste management center or local community garden for proper disposal.
Be a More Conscious Consumer
Being choosy about what products you bring into your apartment makes you more aware of your role as a consumer—and it’s a powerful one, indeed! Chances are that if you have a small space you will be better off not filling it up with stuff and making the most of your home instead. Living a sustainable lifestyle, whether in an apartment or a three-story home, requires careful consideration about each and every purchase no matter how small.
- Accumulate less and reduce your paper trail by unsubscribing from mailing lists. “Opt-out” of unsolicited mail like credit card offers and catalogs to drastically cut back on the amount of wasted paper. If you happen to get some then be sure to recycle it.
- Use non-toxic and biodegradable soaps, cleaning products and detergents—or even make your own! Many products contain harmful chemicals that seep into our bloodstream and our waterways and only continue to do more damage from there. Making the switch could mean a world of difference for both you and the planet’s health.
- Fill your apartment with multi-purposeful objects. Decorative accents like baskets, can also function as great storage, reducing the need to purchase throwaway items. The more you love and appreciate your stuff, the more important its longevity will be. Sustainability never means sacrificing style!
Let us know what you think in the comments section below. And start your search for an eco-friendly apartment with ABODO.