10 Ways To Make Your Apartment Greener

Ed. note. This is a repeat of one of our most popular posts from last summer.

‘Green’ is a concept that not only describes safer, more environmentally-friendly products, but also a state of mind. Let’s face it… times are changing and despite common belief, one person can make a difference.

Below are ten ways to make your apartment greener. It is my goal that you embrace and incorporate at least one, and know that you are making our environment a little bit friendlier.

1. Buy local.
In addition to farmer’s markets, more and more grocery stores are carrying locally grown products. This means that products are grown near your city or your state. Due to the reduction in distance the products must travel from the farm or manufacturer to your table, less carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and pollutants are emitted. According to sustainabletable.org, “A typical carrot has to travel 1,838 miles to reach your dinner table.”

2. Will you be painting anytime soon?
Several companies are realizing that change is crucial in order to move forward successfully. Several paint manufacturers are eliminating harmful ingredients, and making their products friendlier to you, your home and the environment. Two well known, reputable paint manufacturers, Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore have recently launched new lines with low volatile organic compounds and lower odors. Check out, eartheasy.com for more information.

3. Let there be light!
Advancements in energy-saving fluorescent light bulbs have softened the harshness of the light, resulting in a tough competition between which light bulb is eco-friendly and which is conventional. The benefits to eco-friendly light bulbs include energy reduction of approximately 75-80% and a longer bulb life. Although initially they cost more than the average light bulb, the energy savings will more than likely make up for the initial investment.

4. Reduce, reuse and recycle.
Certain items, take the plastic bag from your local grocery store, take a very long time, we’re talking around 100 years, to break down. Some items never decompose. Now that you know this, a safer and wiser act is to ask for paper bags over plastic bags, which can be recycled. Whether it is reducing your usage of bottled water, recycling the used bottle when you’re finished, or refilling the bottle, you’re doing your own part in making a big difference.

5. Someone has to pay the electric bill!
Common sense tells us to shut things off when they are not being used. Although a lamp may be turned off, if it is plugged in, it is still emitting unused energy. If you have certain items in your house that you don’t use on a daily basis, unplug them. If you’re going on vacation, unplug them. On a side note, there are a few companies that have introduced eco-friendly power strips that allow you to kill idle electric currents.

6. Trade up for eco-friendly beauty products.
Your skin is your largest organ. Whatever you put on your skin is absorbed into your body. Translation: If you put harmful ingredients on your skin, you’re putting harmful ingredients into your body. If you put pure, safe and beneficial ingredients on your skin, you’re putting pure, safe and beneficial ingredients into your body.

7. Switch to eco-friendly cleaning products.
Have you ever stopped to read the warnings on the back of your conventional cleaning products? Standard cleaning products and detergents do not break down and ultimately end up polluting our water and our air. More importantly, they are harmful for our respiratory systems and our pet’s respiratory systems. Eco-friendly cleaning products get the job done just as well and do not have harsh odors.

8. Turn off the water.
Many of us take water for granted. Think about how much water would be saved if we just listened to our parents and shut the water off when brushing our teeth! It may not seem like a lot, but multiply it by several people doing it by a period of time and maybe future generations will be able to worry less about the possibility of not having pure, safe water.

9. Research eco-friendly home products.
Eco-friendly home products include everything from refrigerators to dishwashers to washers and dryers. These newer models reduce the amount of energy used. Not only will you notice the difference in your electric bill, the environment will also thank you. In addition, a handful of companies are offering products made from organic cottons (no pesticides are used when growing the cotton), recycled materials, raw materials, etc. The good news is that many of the price tags on these items are very close to the price tags on the conventional items.

10. Stay informed.
Simply put, knowledge is power.

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Author My First Apartment

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Writer/Student/Intern/Nanny, Home Products/Organization/Interior Design Addict

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Comments (5)

  1. Avatar Patrick S.

    Erin, Amanda’s reasoning for using eco-friendly skin care products is 100% on and accurate. I just graduated from medical school, so I know a bit more than the average person when it comes to this stuff The majority of conventional beauty products that you can buy anywhere are full of horrible ingredients that can and cannot absorb into your skin dependent upon how big or small the molecules are. Once they are absorbed (if they even are), they go to a variety of places: your blood, liver, etc. Neither of you are wrong. In my opinion, it looks like Amanda hit the nail on the head by saying it very generally.

  2. Avatar Erin

    Very good tips, but your reasoning for eco-friendly skin care products is off. Ingredients in skin care products don’t absorb into your bloodstream, the molecules are too big. How effective would they be if they just seeped through your skin?

    Instead, look for eco-friendly packaging in all your products. Are they made from post-consumer recycled products? Are they recyclable?

    Oh, and to add to Giorgio’s comment: Dust with those new microfiber cloths. They’re inexpensive and washable.

  3. Avatar Cate C.

    I am so happy that you wrote this piece… I’ve been hearing so much about “going green” and really had no idea what I could personally do. I love your blog and would love to see what your apartment looks like now – aka the “after” pictures.

  4. Avatar Giorgio

    wow…that is great, amanda! not only did the article give ideas on how to be environment-friendly, but also how to save money. i wanted to say, too, is that by using a dish towel and eliminating the use of paper towels, that as well can help the environment!