As climate change and environmental issues continue to be hot topics on a global scale, more and more people are trying to do their small part at home. Here are some easy lifestyle tips on how to “green” your apartment from a NYC-based zero-waste expert and an eco-conscious interior designer who writes about eliminating single-use items, saving energy, and composting.
Eliminate single-use items
If you could eliminate one thing that’s harming the planet it would be single-use plastics like straws, bottles, and even plastic feminine hygiene products. Try replacing plastics around your home with reusable alternatives like refillable glass bottles for hand and dish soaps and recycled mason jars for dry goods and spices. You could also try replacing a plastic toothbrush with a bamboo toothbrush and replacing plastic wrap with beeswax wrap.
Shop vintage and homemade
Shopping vintage is a great way to recycle and do your part to cut down on mass production. Websites to shop are Craigslist, Etsy, Chairish, and the Real Real for furniture and decor. And shopping vintage isn’t just good for the planet, it’s good for the overall look of your apartment. By shopping vintage, you can add a fun one-of-a-kind conversation piece to your rooms that you can guarantee your friends won’t have.
Use eco-friendly cleaning products
You can make your own cleaning products out of organic household items like white vinegar or transition to eco-friendly detergent strips for laundry that dissolve in the wash. You can also use a dryer ball that captures harmful micro-plastics released from clothing that get flushed into the waterline.
Shop with reusable bags
This is a no-brainer. If you are still taking plastic bags home from the grocery store, try and get into the habit of bringing a reusable bag with you.
Back to the basics of practicing environmental mindfulness… Turn off the water while teeth brushing, turn off lights when you leave a room or the house, turn the heat down a few degrees in winter, open windows to limit A/C in the warmer seasons.
Switch out your light bulbs
This is a simple one; switch out the CFL light bulbs with for LEDs. They can last for up to 25,000 hours as opposed to CFLs which typically burn out after 8,000 hours. LEDs also use half the amount of watts.
Houseplants not only look great and freshen up your space, but they actually improve air quality. The snake plant, for example, was named as one of the top air-purifying plants by NASA’S clean-air study. Also fresh, potted herbs in the kitchen to inspire cooking. If you don’t have a good windowsill to grow them on, consider one of the many table-top hydroponic gardens that require no soil, just water, and come with a built-in grow light.