Installing solar panels and putting in large organic gardens are great ways to decrease your carbon footprint, but they’re not very practical if you live in an apartment. Renting someone else’s property means you can’t make any major changes in your home, but it doesn’t mean you have to give up living a green lifestyle. You can reduce your carbon footprint. Instead of changing your building, change your behavior to make a small but strong impact in your neighborhood.
If you start with a good foundation, it’s easier to build a great set of habits on top of it. Some buildings and landlords are more environmentally friendly than others. When you’re looking for apartments, check for those that have double-glazed windows, efficient heating and cooling systems, balconies on which you can grow small gardens, and management that supports green initiatives. Landlords who are environmentally responsible will be more accepting of other green ideas you may have in the future.
Go Green, Literally
Indoor plants improve the quality of the air in your apartment, but plants outdoors can have an even greater benefit. If you have a balcony or patio attached to your apartment, you’ve got the basis of a large container garden. You can grow almost anything in containers, from small carrots and radishes to larger potatoes, cucumber vines, and the ever-popular tomato plant. Successful container gardening is simply a matter of putting a rich potting soil in the planters, growing plants with smaller stems, and giving them daily care such as watering and picking. You’ll have many meals of tasty organic vegetables with very little effort, while saving money past the original outlay of supplies.
Water, Water Everywhere
According to the U.S. Bottled Water Association, Americans drank more than 30 gallons of bottled water each in 2012. That’s more than 120 plastic bottles that made it into the country’s landfills for every person. The simplest way to solve this problem is to use tap water, but some people don’t like the the water from their urban areas. Do the next best thing and buy a filter pitcher to keep in the refrigerator. It will remove the additives that keep tap water from tasting different, and you’ll eliminate all those plastic bottles from the landfill. You’ll save money, too, which is always a nice bonus.
Money for Nothing
Recycling is on the rise as more and more people have taken the pledge to buy nothing new except consumables for one entire year. Buying used for a year requires creativity, but it can reduce your contribution to the landfills, lower the amount of natural resources used, and put money in your pocket at the same time. You can give antiques as gifts and make thrift stores your new department stores. You may be surprised by the awesome items you find and how few new things you need to buy when the year is over. Even just one small change can make a difference.