A sustainable lifestyle sounds nice in theory, but is it an attainable goal? Good news — the answer is yes. You don’t have to take extreme measures to live more sustainably. There are plenty of relatively small changes you can make in your daily life, both in and outside of your apartment, that will help you to lower your carbon footprint and live a more sustainable lifestyle. Check out some of the easiest ways to start living sustainably at home, below.
Ditch The Plastic
Plastic is one of the most prevalent pollutants on our planet. Much of it ends up in our oceans (8 million metric tons each year, to be exact), harming wildlife and wreaking havoc on marine ecosystems.
Summer 2019 has been dubbed the #StrawlessSummer on social media in an effort to eliminate plastic straws. While ditching plastic straws is a great idea, there’s still plenty of plastic around. If your goal is to live sustainably at home and outside of your home, take it a step further by trying to ditch as much plastic as you can. Some quick ways to do this include:
- Purchase fresh produce without plastic packaging. Skip the plastic produce bags (is there really a point to those? You’re going to wash your produce at home anyway, right?)
- Use reusable shopping bags.
- Purchase a reusable water bottle and ditch bottled water (and try to avoid plastic bottled-drinks in general).
- Buy your own containers, then purchase food items in bulk when available. You can wash the containers and reuse them for your shopping needs, as opposed to purchasing items in pre-packed plastic containers.
- Try using more natural cleaning solutions, like baking soda and white vinegar, that don’t require plastic packaging.
Minimize Water Waste
On average, we use about 88 gallons of water each day. While most of the earth’s surface is covered by water, 97% of the water is unsuitable for human consumption. Why? Because it’s saltwater. Most of the water on earth can’t be used for other purposes, like growing crops, too. These are just a few reasons that water conservation is such an important part of living sustainably at home. What’s great is that you can easily take steps to minimize your personal water waste right in your apartment. Here are some suggestions:
- Soak your dishes in a tub instead of relying on a constant flow of water.
- Fix faulty leaks. As a renter, you may not be responsible for fixing leaks in your faucet or shower, so be sure to report the issue as soon as possible to minimize water waste.
- Take shorter showers.
- Consider installing water-saving fixtures, such as “low-flow” showerheads, to take your water conservation a step further.
The energy we use in our home is powered by fossil fuels. You can lower your personal carbon footprint by minimizing the amount of power you used on a daily basis. The easiest way to do this is to develop energy-saving habits: turn off lights when you leave a room, unplug devices when you aren’t using them, and do your best not to waste heat or air conditioning, depending on the season. Other ways to conserve energy include:
- Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs.
- Purchase energy-efficient power strips for your cords.
- Make sure your apartment is properly insulated so heat or cool air does not escape out of hidden cracks or crevices.
Reduce Meat Consumption
Eliminating meat from your diet is one of the most impactful changes you can personally make towards helping the environment. Meat production and animal agriculture are the largest contributors to greenhouse gases on a global scale. If you aren’t ready to take the full leap to go vegetarian, you can still take small steps to reduce the frequency and quantity of meat you consume. Experiment with Meatless Mondays, and try to commit to one or two days a week that you skip the meat in your meals.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Living sustainably at home is all about reducing the amount of waste you produce. The absolute best way to do this is to reduce, reuse, and recycle everything possible. You can get creative with this and make it fun.
- Try reusing plastic containers for storage (make Marie Kondo proud!).
- Opt-out of junk mail (who reads it, anyway?).
- Repurpose old clothes.