Going Green in Your Apartment

By Kaitlin Hurtado on June 4, 2021

Whether you are looking for ways to save money, or if you are making a conscious effort to live a more sustainable lifestyle, going green in your apartment can be a great decision. The commitment to going green does not need to be a costly or life-altering decision, but something you can start by incorporating small changes into your everyday life. Have no idea where to start going green? Keep reading for small changes you can adopt now to start going green in your apartment.

going green in your apartment

Photo: Pexels

Be more conscious of the waste you produce (and what you do with it) 

On average, a college student produces 640 pounds of solid waste each year, including 500 disposable cups and 320 pounds of paper. If this number sounds ridiculous to you at first, think again. Reflect on what a typical day looks like for you, and what kind of waste results from that.

The food waste that results from your cooking endeavors. The miscellaneous scraps of paper from note-taking or drafts of assignments. Plastic bags received while eating out or taking home your groceries. The plastic bottles or cups that come from the drinks you grab on the go.

The moment you become aware of the waste you produce is the moment you can make an active effort to minimize it. Start recycling waste that you are able to and have a separate bin to stash items you can recycle.  Reuse products when you can. That mason jar that holds the store-bought pasta sauce? Reuse it to store dry goods in your pantry or as a drinking glass. Start a compost bin for food waste such as coffee grounds and vegetable and fruit scraps. If you don’t want to invest in a table-top compost bin, try researching local organizations or spots where you can take your compostable scraps.

Swap out one-time use products 

If you are eating a majority of your meals at home, there’s no reason to be using plastic utensils and paper plates for every meal. Sure, you will have to set aside more time than usual to keep your dishes washed, but it’s a simple fix to limiting the amount of waste you produce on a daily basis.

Does your pile of recyclables fill up quickly due to a surplus of plastic water bottles? Swap out the plastic for a Brita filter and a reusable water bottle to keep fresh water on hand without all the plastic of water bottles. Do you fly through paper towels because you use them for just about anything, from cleaning up spills and countertops to using them as napkins or drying dishes? Start using cloth dishtowels in place of paper towels and if you don’t want to shell out money investing in a new set of cloth rags, try reinventing what you already have. Cut up old t-shirts or bath towels that no longer serve their purpose and transform them into your new set of eco-friendly towels.

Do you use plastic wrap, plastic bags, and plastic containers to stow away any and all leftovers? Invest in a set of Tupperware to start storing leftovers or taking your meals on the go. Or, start building your collection of reusable slowly without shelling out more money.  Start saving reusable takeout containers, glass mason jars from storebought sauces, and so on, to eventually use as your very own food storage containers.

Energy swaps in your apartment 

One of the perks of going green in your apartment is the ability to save some money in unexpected ways. One change that can help you save money is changing your old lightbulbs out for compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs). These light bulbs use about 75% less energy than traditional light bulbs, saving electricity you are using and effectively cutting the amount of money you have to pay for electricity. What’s not to like?

Conserve the amount of energy used for heating or cooling down your apartment by committing to a few small changes. Swapping out your usual curtains for insulated shades or curtains can keep heat in your apartment at night. Close off rooms you don’t access often to keep the rooms you do use the right temperature.

Rather than using lamps or overhead lights to brighten up your space during the day, rely on the natural light the sun offers. If this means shifting your workspace to a new room with better natural light, try out the change in scenery.

Start plugging into surge projectors with a power switch. Even when not in use, some appliances and devices will use electricity while plugged in. Avoid putting in the effort of remembering to plug and unplug everything as you use and plug your appliances and devices into a power strip and simply power it off and on as you use the devices.

Going green isn’t something that can easily happen overnight. Slip-ups are normal, especially if your routine is so fixed that you have to be constantly aware and remind yourself to step into new habits as you commit to these new changes.

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