Renting? You Can Still Go Green!

by Shelly King

There’s a new word I’ve been hearing a lot — Eco-anxiety. It’s the fear that you aren’t doing enough to save the planet or at least those cute polar bears. The other day, instead of using a fresh post-it, I folded over the sticky part of used the back of used post-it. But then I needed a piece of tape for the “post” part and I had this whole big internal debate over if it was better to just use another post-it or risk the polar bears over a piece of tape. The point quickly became moot when, collapsed into a fetal position under my desk, I sniffed dry erase markers until my head exploded.

For most of us, it’s not about doing everything perfectly (thus the anxiety), but about being mindful and doing something. We don’t have to solve the problem, just chip away at it. But you can only chip away at what you control. There’s a huge movement in OMVNA for home-owners to go green. But what about those of us who rent? We don’t own the appliances or put in the insulation or any number of things homeowners do to make their live more efficient. But we can chip away and here are some ideas:

  • Use fluorescent light bulbs. This is a “duh” but there’s no place like the obvious to start.
  • Change your showerhead to a lowflow model. You can save thousand of gallons of water a year.
  • Think you can’t compost in an apartment with no yard? Think again! The Envirocycle Composter is perfect for a deck or patio.
  • Work with your landlord to be sure the seals on your doors and windows are in good shape and air filter in your heater is changed regularly.
  • Sign up for FreeCycle and give your stuff away instead of throwing it out. It’s also a great way to find stuff on the cheap.

You can also talk to your landlord about replacing your appliances for more energy-efficient ones. Do your research and respectfully make your case about dollars and cents and not a moral cause. Your rental is your home, but it’s a business for your landlord.

These are just a few idea, and these websites have many more:

Yes, it’s true that, as a renter, you only control so much of your environment. But if make changes in what you can control, maybe we’ll all be a little less anxious.

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