The key to green living is efficiency – making the most out of the least. It’s a philosophy about reducing what you need and wasting as little as possible, whether it’s energy waste, water waste, or municipal solid waste. All three have a huge impact on our carbon footprint, but municipal solid waste, that is, what you throw out in the trash, tends to be overlooked. This leads to overpacked landfills, a major source of groundwater pollution, heavy metal poisoning, among other issues.
For the newcomer, this can seem like a daunting task. Don’t get discouraged, though – it’s actually much easier than it seems. The key is taking small, effective steps. With that, you can work your way toward a fully sustainable lifestyle in no time. You can’t expect to go zero waste overnight, but here are some great tips on how to get started.
Pay Attention to Recycling: If you don’t already recycle cans and bottles, now’s a great time to start. In fact, the most recycled material in America are tin cans (at 63%), while the least recycled are plastic bottles (at 23%).
Aside from making sure you recycle what you can, though, keep in mind that most plastics, even those marked with plastics recycling codes, cannot be recycled, or at the least, can’t be recycled in most recycling centers. This is especially true of plastic wrapping, which can easily gum up machines. With that in mind…
Avoid Disposable Products and Excess Packaging:Most disposable products – especially those you’ll find in a bathroom or kitchen (paper towels, toothbrushes, etc), end up creating a ton of waste – both from the product itself and from the excessive plastic packaging that generally comes with it.
Try to stick with paper packaging where possible, and see which stores allow you to use your own containers for things like bulk dry food or liquid soaps. Don’t forget to bring your own reusable shopping bags either.
Compost: You cut down on a lot of waste by avoiding things like plastics as much as possible, but food waste isn’t something you can cut down on. Composting proves a special challenge to apartment dwellers, though, since you have less room to work with. This is where you have to get a little creative. The easiest way to compost indoors, or on a balcony is vermicomposting – using worms to help break down organic matter. A vermicomposting unit generally doesn’t cost any more than your conventional composting tumbler, and produces a higher quality compost with less effort. The only real issue you’ll have is who you’re going to share all your compost with. And the worms, of course, if you aren’t into that kind of thing.
Wood Partners has been dedicated to building sustainable apartment communities for over 15 years. With over 75 apartments and condos across the country, and even more to come, we are wherever you are. Contact us today to find a sustainable home to fit your sustainable lifestyle.