Eco-Friendly Apartments

by: Jo Montgomery

Most of us recognize the importance of taking care of our environment. And the fact is, we all need to do our part to maintain our planet, fight climate change and keep the earth healthy for ourselves and generations to come. One positive change that is happening in a big and brilliant way is the increase in eco-friendly apartments – green living in commune. At Windsor Communities , through our Windsor CARES initiative, we encourage our communities to adopt eco-friendly practices that are environmentally and socially responsible. We design, construct, operate and maintain buildings and neighborhoods that save energy, use fewer resources, reduce pollution and contribute to healthier environments for our residents and the community. Here are just a few things we’re doing:

• Recycling / Waste Reduction

• Energy Conservation

• Green Practices

• Green Recognition

• Giving Back

You can start doing your part today as well. Making small changes in your very own apartment can have a big impact on a more eco-friendly future. Some changes may seem obvious, like using less water, recycling and walking or biking instead of using the car whenever possible. But there are other changes that may have never crossed your mind. Most are so easy to do, you’ll wonder why you haven’t done them already.

Simple things you can do to make your apartment eco-friendly:

Recycling

We hear a lot about recycling. But does it actually help the environment? You bet it does! Recycling reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills, lessens pollution, saves energy, conserves our natural resources, supports American manufacturing, and creates jobs. Hands down, it’s the most tangible way we can take action for our planet.

Biodegradable trash bags

Did you know that regular trash bags sit in landfills for years, leaching harmful chemicals into the soil and water? Biodegradable trash bags, on the other hand, are not as harmful to the environment because they eventually disintegrate and disappear. And keep in mind, a big part of being eco-friendly is reducing waste. But when you do need to “throw out”, reach for the biodegradable trash bags.

Reusable cloth towels

In the U.S. alone, we use and throw out over 13 billion tons of paper towels – most of which end up in landfills. When you consider how little a paper towel actually weighs, it must take mountains of them to add up to 13 billion tons. To reduce this waste, and save yourself some money, switch to cloth towels. They’re washable, reusable, much stronger, and more absorbent.

Reusable K-Cups

We’ve all gotten pretty spoiled by these little gems! Yes, they’re convenient, but it’s been reported that there were enough single-use coffee brewing pods in the U.S. landfills to circle the globe 10 times. Yikes! That’s why many brands have switched to a biodegradable pod. You just need to look for “biodegradable” on the box. Or, pick up a reusable plastic pod that you can fill with your favorite roast.

Natural laundry detergent

Chemicals in our water system are a huge problem plaguing our ecosystem. All those chemical-based cleaners and detergents we use in our homes eventually wash down the drain and into the water system. Laundry detergent is the biggest offender. The good news is that now there are many natural laundry detergent options to choose from – most available at your local grocery store. When shopping, try and chose a plant-based detergent. Or at the very least, go for non-toxic, non-GMO, hypoallergenic, and biodegradable. 

LED Lightbulbs

LED lightbulbs can use as much as 80% less energy than halogen bulbs. LEDs are also cooler to the touch and free from harmful chemicals and gases. Now, they are a bit more expensive initially, but they more than makeup for it over time by saving energy and lasting over 10 times longer.

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Live indoor plants

Not only will they cozy up any space, but live plants are efficient little oxygen makers. They take in carbon dioxide and give us oxygen in return. They also absorb harmful toxins and release harmless substances. Go ahead and add one to every room in your apartment!

Retro Furniture

Who would have thought that creating an eco-friendly apartment could be so chic? One of the best green apartment ideas is to get yourself a few fabulous pieces of retro or vintage furniture. New furniture often releases harmful chemicals, called off-gasses, which can actually make you sick. Retro furniture has already off-gassed any chemicals. Plus, many of the older pieces were made much better than our furniture is made today, it will cost you less, and you will keep a beautiful and usable piece of furniture out of a landfill. If you prefer new, an eco-friendly option is furniture made from reclaimed wood 

Natural Candles

Unfortunately for candle lovers, most of the candles on the market today are made of petroleum. Some include metals for strength so they keep their shape. To add insult to injury, the lovely aroma is often not a quality fragrance. Studies suggest that many candles produce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are toxic. But don’t give up on the candles you love! Simply choose candles that are made of natural elements like soy wax, beeswax, or coconut wax. When shopping, make sure the only ingredients in your candles are vegetable wax, essential oils, and a cotton or wooden wick.