Choosing a green apartment home is the first step to sustainable living. There’s more you can do to reduce your negative impact on the environment, though. These five tips will have you on the way to living the ultimate sustainable life in no time:
- Green up the bedroom! Conduct a bit of research before choosing a mattress and box springs. Typical mattresses, made from synthetic foam and fibers, do not biodegrade. Mattress manufacturing is unregulated when it comes to VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) and exposure to these chemicals adds up over time. Look for third party certification like Oeko-Tex Standard 100.
- Choose organic cotton. This luxurious fabric softens over time, and tends to last longer than synthetic alternatives. Formaldehyde keeps typical bedding and linens wrinkle free and shiny, but who wants to sleep on a bed of chemicals? High thread count sheets may be coated with chemical resin to strengthen fibers, so opt for the more natural alternative and seek out organic cotton pillows, comforters, sheets, throws, and couch pillows.
- Use the dishwasher. Newer models are much more efficient than their human counterparts, using just five gallons of water per load. Be sure to choose a phosphate-free detergent and skip the heat-dry setting. It’s best to wait until the dishwasher is at least 75% full before running it to minimize waste.
- Skip aluminum foil, plastic wrap, and those flimsy Tupperware dishes. Plastic wrap hangs around the landfill for about 1000 years, and aluminum foil is there for 500 years. Instead, store your leftovers in glass containers. Not only is glass easier to keep clean, it’s also infinitely reusable, microwave safe, and never leaches toxic chemicals into your food.
- Install motion sensing LED lights in hallways and walk-in closets. These innovative, energy-efficient light bulbs use a fraction of the energy of incandescent bulbs, and last up to three times longer than CFL’s. As a bonus, LED’s do not contain toxic mercury, like CFL’s, making them easier to recycle.
Converting to a greener lifestyle is always a gradual process. Armed with good information and the will to reduce the negative impact you have on the environment, green living simply becomes second nature.