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5 Steps to Eco-Friendly Apartment Living

energy-efficient-apartmentsA common misconception is that you must own your own home to live an eco-friendly lifestyle. This is not correct. There are plenty of ways to go green and make your apartment a more environmentally friendly space. Perhaps you’re already an avid recycler – and that’s a great start! But we’ve compiled a few more steps you can take if you want to do more to reduce your carbon footprint:

Clean Naturally

One of the easiest ways toward a greener environment is cutting down on the number of chemicals you use during your day-to-day routine. A good place to start is with your cleaning supplies, and there are many natural eco-friendly cleaning products on the market today. Alternatively, try making your own cleaning solution using vinegar, baking soda and water.

Conserve Water

Make a point of using less water in your apartment and you’ll not only save on your utilities bill, but you’ll also be conserving one of our most precious natural resources. Of course, a shower versus bath uses less water, as well as flushing your toilet less. But have you ever considered making some of the following changes?

  • Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth
  • Only run the dishwasher when full
  • Hang dry clothes to reduce dryer usage
  • Have leaky taps fixed
  • Wash clothes on cool to save on energy (and money)
  • Have a low-flow toilet and showerhead installed

Be a Light Saver

With all the energy-efficient options on the market these days, there’s more to buying a light bulb than you think. You’ll find the two best energy-saving bulbs are typically either LED (light-emitting diode) lights or CFL’s (compact fluorescent lamps). While LED lights last longer and provide great directional lighting for specific tasks, they unfortunately cost more up front. On the other hand, CFL’s are the closest match to the standard incandescent bulbs we are used to, but they contain a dangerous mercury element that makes cleanup and disposal hazardous. Choose whichever energy-saving option works best for you and remember to switch off all lights in your apartment when you leave a room or go out for the day.

Improve Recycling Habits

Even if you diligently throw paper and plastic into a separate bin, there’s a lot more you can do to improve your recycling habits. How about further separating out cardboard and paper from your plastic waste? Or asking your apartment community if you can start a recycling program if one doesn’t already exist. Ever consider creating a mini compost container for your kitchen scraps? Composting food versus throwing it in the trash can help bring down trash collection costs and is overall better for the environment. Another eco-friendly move is switching from plastic to paper bags at the grocery store, or bring your own bags from home. This helps reduce landfill waste that can often cause unnecessary harm to animals and sea creatures.

Be Smarter with Energy Usage

Finally, there are simple things you can do to conserve energy usage in your apartment. Make sure to unplug your electronic devices when they’re not in use, in addition to turning them off. In the summertime consider opening windows and using fans in place of AC when you can. During winter, layer clothing and use blankets rather than relying on your heating system to keep you warm.

No matter where you live or who you live with, we all have the ability to impact the environment. Follow our five steps to eco-friendly living in your apartment to kick-start your greener lifestyle. Not only will it save you money, but you’ll also be helping protect our environment.

Guest blog contributed by CORT