How to Make Your Apartment Greener
In honor of Earth Day’s 40th anniversary April 22, Apartment Guide sat down with Ashley Caderet, author of green and frugal living blog “Our Little Apartment,” to get her thoughts on how everyone can live more environmentally friendly in their apartments or homes. Plus, there’s a bonus: In this down economy, anyone can benefit from Ashley’s money-saving, waste-less, live-simply tips.
Since launching her blog in 2007, Ashley’s green-living methods have ranged from the sensible (purchasing local produce from a farmers market) to the more radical (using cloth toilet paper). A few ideas didn’t work out – composting in the backyard created a mice problem – while some became routine favorites, such as using one car. Mike even built a winter-hearty bicycle that he takes to work, even using it in 10-degree weather.
“It just makes sense to try to be greener,” Ashley said. “It makes me feel better and saves money. Once you become aware of the amount you waste, you feel guilty about the environmental impact. You think about carbon footprints. In my day-to-day life, just thinking about how future children and countries will be impacted inspires me to keep being green.”
Read more about going green in your apartment:
- Infographic: Go Green in Your Apartment Month-by-Month
- How to Go Solar in Your Apartment
- Can You Recycle That? Recycling Tips for Newbies
To save the most money, Ashley and her husband rent their home near one of their workplaces and only use one car. Now Ashley drives the car on her 35-minute commute and Mike bikes to work, which is only two miles from their home, a duplex in a neighborhood where 100 percent of the streets have sidewalks. In addition to using one car, here are 10 other ways Ashley suggests apartment residents can be more environmentally friendly:
- When you’re deciding where to live, choose an apartment that is walkable, meaning you can walk to nearly anything you need. Use WalkScore to determine a neighborhood’s walkable rating.
- Choose an apartment that has good insulation so you’re not wasting energy. If you don’t know if it has good insulation, ask before you rent. If you are already renting, improve your insulation with door draft stoppers or by asking your apartment manager to add insulation to your complex.
- Avoid disposable things such as tissues, paper towels, disposable dishes, disposable napkins and plastic ware. Use reusable versions of these instead.
- Don’t waste food by planning meals in advance.
- Eat less meat. Ashley and Mike are both vegetarians, but even eating one meatless meal a week could save your family hundreds of dollars per year.
- Shop for secondhand furniture and clothing.
- If your apartment doesn’t recycle, ask them to, or take your recyclable goods to a recycling center. Recycling guidelines for most cities are on the city or county website.
- Wash almost all of your clothes on the cold cycle.
- Try a Community Sponsored Agriculture (CSA) program, which delivers local, seasonal produce to your home or a nearby pickup location. Visit Local Harvest to find a CSA near you.
- Don’t buy anything unless you really need or want it. Think hard before you buy.