What are many "green" things that I could do for living in an apartment?

What I want to know..
1) How to save the heating/electric bills.
2) How to save water.
3) What are the products that are useful for lifetime use whether living in a house or apartment?
4) Tips about shopping.
5) Whatever else applies.

5 thoughts on “What are many "green" things that I could do for living in an apartment?”

  1. There have already been a lot of great answers on this topic. Here are a few more easy things you can do:

    1. Use recycled paper products: napkins (why not cloth?), paper towels (conservative use, again, why not cloth?), and toilet paper (don’t use cloth LOL). Toilet paper is probably used the most and comes from virgin trees. Use recycled. Sometimes it’s a little more expensive, but not always. If you have Grocery Outlet (with the rainbow), they sometimes will have recycled TP and tissues (like kleenex) that are recycled and at a very reasonable price.

    2. Use green laundry products. They are more enviormentally friendly, and gentler on your skin and clothes. Some are very concentrated and last a long time.

    Look into dryer balls. They sort of look like a spiked dog toy ball. Use them in place of dryer sheets or softener. They will last for years and reduce drying time. I figure in an apartment you may not have space for line drying, but can use a dryer ball. You can google them, as well as directions for making your own.

    3. Use green cleaning products. Again, more enviromentally friendly and safer for human use. There are lots to choose from but consider Shacklee’s Basic H2. It’s organic, non-toxic, no bad chemicals, etc. Depending on how much dilute it in water, it will do everything from windows, normal cleaning, and degreasing. Yeah, a gallon is like $40 but you only need that one product for all your household cleaning jobs and that one gallon will last a LONG time, saving a lot of money in the long run. Plus it smells good. In place of something like 409, you only use 1/4 tsp to 16 oz of water. For a window cleaner you only add 1 or 2 drops to 16 oz sprayer bottle of water. So you can see it will last a super long time.

    4. Change your lightbulbs to Compact florescent.

    5. Cut down on packaging. Get reusable containers for taking lunches, buying coffee, sodas, etc. Some places give you a discount for bringing your own cup.

    6. Recycle.

  2. Going green is easy, there are so many great resources about the subject. My personal favorite is "The Green Book" which has parts of its book online as well at http://www.readthegreenbook.com.

    As I have been striving to "Go Green" I realize it is like stepping back in time without getting rid of my modern conveniences. I’m doing many things I learned as a child, like line drying my clothes, sweeping instead of vacuuming, opening the windows in the morning to catch the cool breeze, only buying what I need instead of everything that looks cool, growing some of my own food, and canning what I can’t eat now.

    To me "going Green" is a frame of mind. Do what fits your lifestyle and do the easy things first, it is a process and like dieting if you go to radical to soon, you are more likely to go back to bad habits. I also believe there are good, better, best choices in most things. If you aren’t ready to start a home garden, then try finding a farmers market, until you locate one look for produce grown as close to home as possible and go organic when available.

    Many people think "going green" is expensive, I disagree. Some changes may take an initial investment, but they usually have a short payoff time. Things like weatherstiping and insulation cost, but the energy savings will add up quickly. You may need to purchase reusable bags, but most stores give you a 5 or 10 cent credit, so you are paid back within a few months.

    Reduce your packaging, if you eat more fresh food you will generally reduce packaging, it’s the same thing they tell dieters, shop the perimiter, that is where all the meat, dairy and produce are located. Only buy what you will use, many Americans throw away a lot of unused food. Buy in bulk, that doesn’t just mean large packages, but that area with the bins that you buy only what you plan on using.

    Replace disposable items with durable items, if you eat outside often and use disposable paper or plastic plates, it is a wise investment to purchase a set of reusable plastic plates. Replace disposable razors, diapers and cleaning products like swiffer. Avoid bottled water, get a home filter like Pur or Brita.

    Energy conservation tips: Reduce standby energy with power strips, use CFL’s or other energy efficient lighting, only wash full loads, cover windows with drapes instead of blinds, adjust your thermostat a few degrees and use natural light, heating and cooling whenever possible.

    Recycle, http://www.earth911.org will help you locate the nearest recycle center. I try to only purchase plastics that are #1 or #2, they are more easily recycled. I also buy recycled products when available, that includes paper towels, napkings, toilet paper, tissue, school/office supplies and clothing.

    Detox your cleaning, vinegar and baking soda clean almost anything, they can even losen a hair clog. Seventh Generation and Method are a couple mainstream brands that are very earth friendly.

    Just start small and build from there, don’t get overwhelmed.

  3. 1) How to save the heating/electric bills.
    – Get energy saving bulbs. You can take them with you when you move, too. (Keep the old bulbs in a drawer to switch them out when you move.)
    – Turn off the lights when not in a room.
    – Turn off the "heated dry" option on your dishwasher. Open the door to air-dry or towel dry dishes instead.

    2) How to save water.
    – Turn off the water when you brush your teeth.
    – Only wash full loads of dishes and clothes.

    3) What are the products that are useful for lifetime use whether living in a house or apartment?
    – A *good* set of knives. Yes, they are pricey, but they’ll last for years.

    4) Tips about shopping.
    – Use reusable shopping bags.
    – Only buy produce that you’ll eat before it goes bad.
    – Buy in bulk on non-perishable things you use a lot, it saves on packaging.
    – Shop your local farmer’s market. It’s cheaper and you can often find locally grown produce there. (Not all the produce there is locally grown, some of the merchants get produce from the same suppliers grocery stores do.)

    5) Whatever else applies.
    – For clothes, only buy things you love. People tend to wear 20% of their wardrobe 80% of the time. It’s better to have fewer clothes that you love and will wear than a bunch of so-so items that sit in the closet.
    – Recycle.

  4. There are many easy things that you can do to help live a more sustainable lifestyle. For instance:
    1) Simple little things around the house such as: installing dimmer switches and programmable thermostats; purchasing energy star appliances; and installing CFL/LED light fixtures are all easy and simple things that you can do to help save the heating and electric bills. You could ask the owner if it is possible to haveenergy efficient doors and windows installed (break it down to him/her on how much energy can really be saved if it is done).
    2) The bathroom and kitchen are actually the two rooms that consume the most water. Install aerators on the faucets in both rooms, and use low-flow shower heads in your shower (older shower heads use 3-6 gallons of water per minute whereas newer low-flow models use less than 2 gallons of water per minute!). Again, discuss with the owner about replacing your toilet with low-flush toilets which can save you over 14 litres of water per flush (older toilets use 20 litres of water per flush whereas newer ones use 6 litres of water per flush). Or if this is not possible, you could place a sand-filled water bottle in your tank of your toilet (a small 500 mL water bottle is fine) where this can save you 2-4 litres of water per each flush.
    3) Plants: they help to filter and clean your indoor air naturally. Just place house plants throughout your home (while they do eventually die, they are very pretty to have as decoration, help to add a nice smell to the home (reduces your use of chemical odourizers such as Febreeze and Air Wick). They remove chemicals from the air and reduce airborne contaminants. Use peace lily, English ivy, Boston Fern and Philodendron.
    4) BYOB (bring your own bag!). In the United States alone, over 100 billion plastic bags are used each year, however only 1 percent of these bags actually get recycled. Bringing an eco-friendly tote on your next shopping spree is one of the easiest earth-friendly changes you can make. Purchase and use stainless steel water bottles. When you decide to get rid of your old unwanted stuff, dont throw it out in the trash but instead donate it to the local thrift shop or salvation army (unfortunate families would be very thankful of your generosity, plus surprisingly many people now are shopping at thrift stores to live an eco-friendly lifestyle). Donating used books, CDs and DVDs to the library is also another great idea.
    5) A cool new trend that has emerged is planting your own garden in your windowsill or balcony if you have one. One cool way that I have started planting tomatoes is in an upside down plastic 2L bottle. Check out my website for more information on how to do this, and for more ecotips!
    Good luck with greening up your apartment!

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