Being eco-friendly and going green in your apartment doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice your lifestyle and go to extremes to do so. In fact, it’s often the smallest changes that can end up making the biggest differences in helping the planet. Being energy-efficient is a lot easier than you think. Here are a few simple and inexpensive ways to be conscious of the environment right in your apartment:
1. Decorate with Plants
Bringing the outdoors inside not only spruces up your apartment, it also helps clean out the air. House plants can filter out common volatile organic compounds, reducing air pollution. These are some common plants to fill your apartment with for cleaner air:
Aloe Vera: Place this plant by a sunny kitchen window. It helps clear out the room of formaldehyde and benzene, which can be a byproduct of chemical-based cleaners, paints and more.
Spider Plant: This plant requires very little care, but its rich foliage and tiny white flowers battle formaldehyde, benzene, xylene and carbon monoxide.
2. Don’t Heat an Empty Apartment
During the colder months, if you know you’re going to be out of your apartment for a short period of time, turn the thermostat down to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re going to be gone overnight, turn it down to 55 degrees to cut back on energy use and help your monthly bill decrease. For every degree you lower your thermostat, you can save between 1 and 3 percent of your heating bill.
3. Turn Off Your Computer
It’s easy to leave your computer on for hours at a time. But when it’s not in use, turn it off. Not only will you save energy and electricity, you’ll also save your hardware from wear and tear. When you go to sleep at night, let your computer rest as well.
4. Wash Laundry in Cold Water
Next laundry day, use cold water to clean your clothes. Most loads don’t need hot water and 90 percent of the energy used by washing machines goes into heating. The higher the temperature, the higher the cost to both you and the environment.
5. Pay Bills Online
Save natural resources by going online to pay any bills that you have. This simple change can not only save trees, but will also eliminate the fossil fuel needed to get all those envelopes through the mail.
6. Use a Water Filter Instead of a Plastic Bottle
Whether you use a pitcher filter or attach one to your kitchen sink faucet, refilling bottles of water is the best option for the environment. Plastic water bottles aren’t eco-friendly. Rather than being recycled, many of them end up in landfills, lakes, streams and oceans where they never fully decompose.
7. Use Canvas Grocery Bags
If you visit the grocery store often, you’re likely bringing home a large number of plastic bags that end up just being thrown away. Instead, take your plastic shopping bags back to your nearest grocery store where they recycle them. You can also purchase inexpensive cloth or canvas shopping bags that you can reuse over and over again.