As much as we want to maintain a more sustainable lifestyle, it’s not easy if we live in apartment buildings. We don’t have a backyard where we can plant our fruits and vegetables. Even if we compost our food scraps, we can’t use the compost if we don’t have a garden. It’s also not easy to keep our windows open so we could have natural light and ventilation. The street noise and air pollution can be unbearable so we keep our windows closed. Privacy is also a more pressing issue than having more natural light. Because apartment buildings are so near each other, windows are often directly parallel to each other. So we install shutters on our windows for privacy.
But, despite these troubles, there are ways to have a more sustainable apartment in the city. When it comes to saving Mother Earth, there are always alternative ways.
Dealing with Food Scraps
Food waste is one of the world’s most pressing problems. Every day, tons of food waste ends up in landfills. And this leads to high levels of methane being released into the earth’s atmosphere. This is very concerning because methane is a very powerful gas that’s even more harmful than carbon dioxide.
But we can deal with the food scraps in sustainable ways. One is making the most of them. After cooking our Thanksgiving turkey, we can set aside the bones to make broth. Vegetable scraps can also be used to make broth.
We can also compost our food scraps. Now, you might think that this is impossible if you’re living in an apartment. But that’s not exactly true. What you can do is gather your food scraps in a metal bowl. Store it in the freezer throughout the week. Then, when it’s the weekend, you can donate your food scraps to farmers’ market vendors. They would gladly take your food scraps because they would need it for their compost.
Doing Proper Waste Management
Managing your waste at home can be an easy task. You’ll just need to have separate bins for biodegradable trash that you can’t compost, non-biodegradable trash, and recyclables. And it’s fairly easy to keep track of what you can recycle. But the hard part comes when it’s time for you to take out the trash.
In most apartment buildings, all trash from tenants goes through one way: the trash chute. It doesn’t matter what your trash bags contain. They would all end up in the same place. And that’s the dumpster in the alley behind your apartment building.
But there are ways for you to properly dispose your trash. You can locate recycling centers near you and just drop off your recyclables there. You can also bring up a proper recycling system to your landlord or super.
Being Mindful of Your Energy Use
A home that’s powered by solar energy is the most effective way of having a more sustainable lifestyle. But a lot of people find it difficult to install solar panels. For one, it requires a major investment because solar panels are quite expensive. You also need to be familiar with the maintenance of them. You have to learn how to clean them and check them every once in a while to make sure they’re still in top shape. And, on top of all of that, you also need to gain approval from the local and state government before you can fully use your solar panels.
But, even if you have the resources to do all of these things, it might be impossible in an apartment. You won’t have the space for the solar panels. It’s not like you can dominate the rooftop since it’s a common area for all of the tenants.
So what you can do is be more efficient with your energy use in your apartment. Purchase eco-friendly appliances. Make sure your fridge is full at all times so that you’re always making the most of its energy use. Instead of using a coffee machine, use a Chemex or French Press. Instead of using a microwave, use a stove or oven.
Living in the city can make us feel more cautious about the level of the carbon footprint that we’re leaving. We’re more exposed to different forms of pollution. Car smoke is always wafting in the air. With the traffic going at all hours of the day, it’s never quiet. People tend to just throw their trash on the sidewalk.
So it’s natural for us to strive to be more sustainable. It’s not easy to do if we live in an apartment in the city. But it’s never impossible.