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Sustainability Starts at Home: 5 Ways to Live Greener in Your Apartment

Posted on 9/11/2023

in Sustainable Practices

by Green Paper Products

Dining room interior with a green wall and a living room with a green sofa. Generative AI

In an era of increasing environmental consciousness, making sustainable choices is no longer just a trend – it's a responsibility. And what better place to start than your own living space? Sustainable apartment living may initially seem challenging, but trust us, it’s not; with a few mindful adjustments, you can significantly reduce your environmental footprint by adopting a more eco-conscious lifestyle. Check out five practical ways to live more sustainably in your apartment.

1. Embrace Energy Efficiency:

One of the most effective ways to live sustainably in your apartment is by adopting energy-efficient habits. Start with your lighting—switch to LED bulbs that use significantly less energy and last longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. These energy-efficient light bulbs produce brighter light while cutting down on your electricity bill, helping you save money in the long run. Don't forget to turn off the lights when you leave a room to cut down on unnecessary electricity usage.

Consider investing in energy-efficient appliances, especially if you're in the market for a new fridge, dishwasher, or washing machine. Look for appliances with an Energy Star certification, which indicates that they have met the high energy efficiency level standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through a rigorous testing process. These eco-friendly appliances reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a leading contributor to climate change and global warming, and your carbon footprint.

Unplugging electronics when they're not in use can also make a difference. Many devices continue to draw power, even when turned off, so power strips or smart plugs can help you easily disconnect them entirely.

2. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle:

The classic mantra of "reduce, reuse, recycle" remains just as relevant today as you look to embrace zero-waste apartment living. Being conscious of your purchasing habits is one of the first steps to living a more sustainable lifestyle and reducing excess waste. Opting for products with minimal packaging and avoiding single-use items whenever possible helps cut down on the negative environmental impact of overconsumption.

Choose reusable alternatives like cloth shopping bags, stainless steel water bottles, and glass food containers. These small changes can significantly decrease the amount of waste you produce in the long run.

Recycling correctly is equally important. Make sure you know what materials your local recycling program accepts and how to prepare them for recycling. Improper recycling can lead to contamination and render the whole batch unrecyclable.

3. Minimize Water Waste in Your Apartment:

Conserving water is another crucial aspect of sustainable apartment living. Start by fixing any leaks promptly, as a dripping faucet can waste gallons of water over time. Consider installing water-saving fixtures, such as low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators, to significantly reduce water usage without sacrificing comfort.

When it comes to daily routines, be mindful of water consumption. Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth, and opt for shorter showers to conserve water. If you're able, collecting rainwater for watering plants helps reduce your reliance on treated tap water for non-potable purposes.

4. Cultivate a Green Space:

Living in an apartment doesn't mean you can't enjoy a touch of nature. Creating a mini garden on your balcony or windowsill with potted plants or herbs brings the beauty of the great outdoors to your humble abode. Not only do plants add a refreshing aesthetic, but they also contribute to improved indoor air quality by absorbing pollutants and releasing oxygen.

If you're feeling more ambitious, consider starting a composting bin for your food scraps. Composting not only reduces landfill waste but also provides nutrient-rich soil for your plants. Before embarking on your composting journey, research the process and any guidelines regarding composting bins specific to your apartment building. Check out our Find-A-Composter page to see if there is an existing composting program near you.

5. Sustainable Purchases For Your Apartment:

The next time you go to purchase a household item, first consider how it can potentially affect the environment, as our choices impact the Earth in more ways than one. By prioritizing eco-friendly everyday products, such as compostable trash bags and sustainable cleaning products, you are helping contribute to a greener society. Seeking out items made from plant-based ingredients helps reduce your environmental impact from the comfort of your apartment. 

If you’re in the market for new furniture, consider secondhand shopping or joining a local buy-and-sell group for furniture and other home accessories. Not only can you find unique pieces, but no additional natural resources are used to create them. Additionally, by supporting secondhand markets, you are not only embracing a zero-waste lifestyle but also playing an active role in the circular economy.

Eco-Friendly Apartment Living Made Easy

Sustainable apartment living doesn't require drastic changes to your daily life.  Embracing energy-efficient products, practicing the three Rs, minimizing water waste, cultivating a green space, and opting for sustainable purchasing significantly reduces your environmental impact and carbon footprint. It’s never too late to start working toward a zero-waste lifestyle for the sake of a healthier, greener planet.

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