go green in your apartment

Beyond Recycling: 5 Ways to Go Green in Your Apartment

Earth day is coming up and if you think the negative effects of global warming and pollution are too great for you to even begin to reverse, it’s time to think again. Although pollution is a huge global problem, the environment’s biggest champions are people just like you: men and women who choose to make a difference in their homes and apartments. While almost everyone is familiar with recycling, going green means so much more than that today. That’s why we came up with five quick tips for how you can go green in your apartment.

Here are Five Ways to Make your Apartment More Green

  1. Shop with Reusable Shopping Bags. It can be a hassle; it is true. Remembering to grab your reusable shopping bags on the way to the store is just one more stress in your busy life; however, perhaps you can pause to consider a few facts:
    • 1,000 years is the estimated disintegration rate for one plastic bag.
    • 100 billion plastic bags are used in the United States every year.
    • 60 bags is the approximate number of bags used by a single family in four grocery store trips.
    • 3.5 million tons is the approximate amount of plastic bags disposed of in 2008 (1).

    Think about those facts for a moment, and you will quickly see how a switch to reusable shopping bags can have a big effect on the world around you. If just one in four U.S. households would use reusable bags, that would save 25 billion plastic bags per year.

  1. Skip the Bottled Water. This is another one that hits close to him. Bottled water is convenient and tastes good. However, manufacturing just 17 PET bottles releases 40 grams of hydrocarbons, 20 grams of nitrogen oxides, 25 grams of sulfur oxides, 18 grams of carbon monoxide and 2.3 kilograms of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere (2). And even though PET bottles are recyclable, 90 percent of them end up being thrown in the trash, which means that approximately 12.6 billion bottles end up in landfills each year in the United States alone. What can you do instead? Invest in a water purifier to make your own great-tasting water in your apartment. Purchase stainless steel or rubber-coated glass bottles and fill them with your own water when you need to leave the house. It is a great and easy way to help the environment.
  1. Turn the Computer Off at Night. If you haven’t made the switch to using tablets and smart phones only, think about powering down your computers at night rather than leaving them on or in sleep mode. Researchers at Yale discovered that turning off computers at night saves about $40 per year in electricity. That may not seem like much, but according to their figures, their test batch of 105 computers turned off at night for one year avoided 61,000 pounds of carbon dioxide production, saved enough electricity to provide energy for 34 homes and was equivalent to planting 8 acres of trees (3). Your one computer may not make much of a difference by itself, but look at the difference you and 104 other people could make!
  1. Lower (or Raise) Your Thermostat. Keeping your house at the perfect temperature has a big effect on your annual energy consumption. Government estimates reveal that lowering your house temperature by 10 degrees at night during the winter can save 5% to 10% in energy usage (4). You can save even more by setting your thermostat to change at certain times of the day. For example, if everyone is out of the house during the day in the summer, set the thermostat to go up five or ten degrees until you get back. When the heat of summer comes and the rolling blackouts start, your energy savings can make a difference.
  1. Cut Down the Junk Mail. Wouldn’t that be a dream come true? Not only is it a pain to get a mailbox full of credit card offers and insurance promotions, but also, the paper used to print those offers costs trees and landfill space. Can a person opt out of these offers? The answer is yes. Check out this website for more details.

Of course, there are a multitude of ways to help the environment from your apartment, but these are five quick ideas to get you started this Earth Day. Remember, you don’t have to own a smart solar powered home to make a difference. All of us, including renters, can help to save the world for tomorrow.

Chris Turberville-Tully, who works with Purely Shutters, is a green advocate who understand the impact pollutions can affect the environment, regardless of how small or insignificant they seem. Follow Chris on Google+.

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Photo credit: lululemon athletica

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