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12 Tips For More Sustainable Apartment Living

Published on June 25th, 2012
By Jennifer Oppriecht

At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, there is a huge push for sustainability.  We think it’s important that their efforts extend to our apartment residents, which is why we’ve created a list of sustainability ideas for renters.

1.  Forego the bottled water.  While it’s nice to have those convenient bottles ready when you need them, the UW now has a refillable bottle station in every building on campus.  Back at home, if you don’t like the taste of tap water, you can buy an inexpensive water filter for a pitcher and keep it in the refrigerator.

2.  Choose soy candles.  Soy candles are petroleum free, which is a switch from typical wax candles.  Be sure to extinguish them when you’re done – candles are the #1 source of home fires.

3.  Compost your food.  This may take a bit of extra effort, but you can deposit your home food waste in the containers at Lot 62 (across from the Natatorium).  You can also pick up a composting bin from Dane County and keep it in your backyard, if your apartment has some green space.  Here’s a link to more info on composting in Dane County.

4.  Get off the junk mail lists.  Apartment renters are big time targets for junk mail, particularly credit card offers and catalogs.  There are a number of great resources that let you opt-out of catalogs, credit card offers, and other types of junk mail.

5.  Wash your clothes without hot water.  Clothes washing consumes a lot of water and energy.  Use cold water and wash between 6-8 am and 8-11 pm (these are non-peak hours for the utility companies.)

6.  Save on water when washing your dishes.  We waste a lot of water washing dishes.  Instead of just letting the water run when you’re washing, fill up two large tubs – one for washing, and one for rinsing.  As an added bonus, use a biodegradable soap.  Then when you’re done, use the water in the bins to water your plants!

7.  Place a glass jar in the tank of your toilet.  You use up a lot of water when you flush the toilet.  Put an upright glass jar into the tank of your toilet.  The jar should be able to hold about a quart or a pint, which is how much water you’ll save with every flush.

8.  Turn off or power down.  When you leave your apartment, turn off the lights – but don’t stop there.  You should also power down your computer or turn off any other electrical items that aren’t in use.  A power strip can help you turn off all your electronic devices at once.

9.  Buy a green shower curtain.  Most standard shower curtains are PVC-coated (the gases from PVCs can disrupt hormones).  Hemp or organic shower curtains can be washed, cutting down on mold and those nasty gases.

10. Use some of our “stay cool” tips.  On previous blog posts, we’ve listed ways to keep your apartment cool and tosleep easier on hot nights.  Both of these articles will provide you with invaluable tips, and help you cut energy costs in the process.

As a long-time friend of the University of Wisconsin, we applaud their sustainability efforts.  We hope you can join us in extending their green efforts to Madison’s apartment community.

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