My ten steps to green your apartment

10. Set up a recycling area. This can be as simple as a grocery sack next to the trash bin. Seriously. It’s not that complicated.

9. Install compact fluorescent light bulbs. It will save you money in the long run – always a good thing.

8. Live close to work so that you can walk, bike, bus, or carpool. Obviously, if you’re already living far from work and moving isn’t an option, this isn’t going to work unless you switch jobs. But if you have a job lined up and you’re looking for a pad, keep apartment-to-work distance in mind.

7. Turn off the lights when you’re not using them. This gets to be a no-brainer habit very quickly.

6. Unplug the toaster, the microwave, and the computer. Strange as it sounds, electricity-powered devices use energy just sitting there.

5. Need furnishings? Think Freecycle. Or Goodwill, or Craigslist, or any other place to get stuff that has already been made.

4. Plant a garden. Plants absorb carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas implicated in global warming, and every little bit helps. No patio space? Live in Alaska? No worries. A kitchen garden with tasty herbs like basil and thyme will work just fine.

3. Use no-VOC or low-VOC paint. That’s Volatile Organic Compounds – the reason normal paint gives you a headache if you use it in a poorly ventilated space.

2. Stock the cupboards with local food. Local organic food is even better. That way, you’re eliminating the use of the toxic pesticides sprayed on many conventionally grown crops, and you’re greatly reducing the distance your food has to travel between where it was grown and where you’re going to eat it.

1. Relax. Going green is a gradual process, just like eating a healthier diet. Do something small every day toward your big goal of greenness, and before you know it your life will be a lot more eco-friendly.

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Author My First Apartment

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Outdoors/adventure writer. Living proof that you can take the girl out of the Midwest, but you can't take the Midwest out of the girl.

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