Green Living Ideas: Renter Edition
When it comes to home-based solutions for helping the planet, you might feel like homeowners have all the top options: rooftop solar, solar water heaters, heat pumps. But renters can also join in the fun! If you rent your apartment, house, or other form of shelter, there is a long list of easy, meaningful, and immediate actions you can take - without worrying about scuffing the walls, scratching the floors, or otherwise jeopardizing your security deposit.
The following is a categorized rundown of no-cost or low-cost steps that renters can take to help stem the climate emergency. Each contains a link to learn more on the Earth Hero website. There are actions you can take from the mailbox to the kitchen to the tub. So let’s jump in!
Stop Receiving Junk Mail Billions of flyers and junk mail are sent each year to convince you to buy things you don't need. This means millions of trees are cut down, fossil fuels are burned all along the way, and the junk mail ends up in landfills. Help break the cycle and simplify your life by saying no to junk mail!
Learn more here: https://www.earthhero.org/act/255-stop-receiving-junk-mail
Switch To E-Billing Can you believe it? Every year, hundreds of billions of bills and updates are sent worldwide, using up loads of trees and energy. But take heart: e-billing is on the rise! Embrace the convenience, save time, and help the environment by reducing paper waste and pollution. Jump on the trend and simplify your life!
Learn more here: https://www.earthhero.org/act/254-switch-to-e-billing
Use Eco-Friendly Laundry Detergent Let's tackle the global plastic pollution issue together! One way is by ditching traditional liquid laundry detergent in plastic containers. Try eco-strips, pods, or powders instead. Eco-strips are water-saving and lightweight, reducing shipping emissions. Eco-pods are also concentrated and use compostable packaging. Choose a plastic-free option and lighten your load.
Learn more here: https://www.earthhero.org/act/452-use-eco-friendly-laundry-detergent
Wash Clothes On Cold Cycle Forget what you've heard about hot water washing, because times have changed. Modern detergents with powerful enzymes work wonders in cold water. It's gentle on clothes, preventing fading, shrinking, and color bleeding. And the bonus? You save money by skipping the water heating costs, as it accounts for 90% of your washing machine's energy usage. Only 10% goes to the washer motor!
Learn more here: https://www.earthhero.org/act/92-wash-clothes-on-cold-cycle
Shower Instead Of Bathe A five-minute shower uses only a third of the water compared to a bath. And when we use hot water, we're not just using water, but also energy for heating. By reducing hot water usage, you're tackling multiple resources at once—saving energy, cutting emissions, and conserving precious water resources. It's a small step that makes a big difference, especially in areas with limited water supplies. Plus, you'll save some money along the way!
Learn more here: https://www.earthhero.org/act/249-shower-instead-of-bathe
Use a Shower Timer By cutting a couple of minutes off your shower, you can conserve 40 liters or 10 gallons of water. Multiply that over a year and it's a significant impact! A timer helps you keep track and enjoy the benefits of shorter showers—less water usage, lower bills, and energy savings. It's an easy way to make a positive difference, especially if you're not yet using clean, renewable energy.
Learn more here: https://www.earthhero.org/act/316-use-a-shower-timer
Turn Off Shower While Washing Save water and energy by turning off the shower when you're not using it. Reducing hot water usage cuts carbon emissions and preserves precious water resources. Try turning off the shower while you shampoo and wash—it may be a challenge at first, but you might realize you don't need it running as much as you thought. Don't worry if it doesn't work for you, though. The most important thing is to enjoy your shower…
Learn more here: https://www.earthhero.org/act/378-turn-off-shower-while-washing
Brush Teeth with the Water Off Toothpaste, water, toothpaste, water... or just toothpaste? Bottom line: there's really no need to keep the water running while you brush. If you brush twice a day for 2 minutes, you can save up to a whole bucket of water in a single day. That adds up over a lifetime! It's a simple switch that conserves precious resources and keeps some extra cash in your pocket.
Learn more here: https://www.earthhero.org/act/11-brush-teeth-with-the-water-off
Boil Only the Water You Need When making hot beverages like coffee or tea, boil only the water you need. It saves time, energy, and water, not to mention money! Boiling excess water unnecessarily drives up energy bills for households. So, let's be smart and efficient with our hot drinks. Bottoms up!
Learn more here: https://www.earthhero.org/act/93-boil-only-the-water-you-need
KITCHEN & FOOD MANAGEMENT
Reduce Food Waste Each year, we waste an incredible amount of food (about 59kg per year per capita in the U.S., according to a 2019 study published on ourworldindata.org). This results in wasted water, land, and energy. By cutting down food waste, we can make a huge impact equivalent to removing half a billion cars from the road.
Learn more here: https://www.earthhero.org/act/46-reduce-food-waste
Save By Not Pre-Heating the Oven Preheating your oven is a waste when the oven is already generating heat. Instead, put your food in right away and turn on the heat. You'll save at least 10% of the cooking time, if not more. Give it a try and cook smarter!
Learn more here: https://www.earthhero.org/act/750-save-by-not-pre-heating-the-oven
Report Methane (Natural Gas) Smells Smell methane? Call your local gas utility to report it and prevent explosions while saving the planet. Leaks from industries contribute to global warming. Notify authorities about any leaks, no matter how small, to safeguard our environment. Remember, the odor is an additive for leak detection.
Use Cloth Napkins and Towels Join the cloth revolution. Swap out paper napkins and towels for reusable ones. It's eco-friendly, saves trees, and adds a touch of class to your home. Say goodbye to flimsy disposables and hello to money saved and no more lugging around throwaway options from the store.
Learn more here: https://www.earthhero.org/act/135-use-cloth-napkins-and-towels
Recycle Everything You Can Let's aim for a world without garbage or landfills. Embrace a circular approach—reuse, compost, and recycle. Start small by researching recycling options, taking notes, and getting organized. Deliver your recyclables to the center. With practice, it becomes easier. Don't wait for perfection; start small so we can make a positive change together.
Learn more here: https://www.earthhero.org/act/122-recycle-everything-you-can
Change Light Bulbs To LEDs Brighten up your energy efficiency by switching to long-lasting LEDs. We collectively save energy and reduce pollution. LEDs shine for over 25,000 hours, saving you time and money with lower energy costs. Illuminate your world with LED brilliance and make a sustainable choice!
Learn more here: https://www.earthhero.org/act/80-change-light-bulbs-to-leds
Use A Natural Light Workspace Position your workspace in a naturally lit area to harness the benefits humans have enjoyed under the sun for ages. Sunlight boosts vitamin D production, enhancing bone health and mood, and regulating sleep cycles. Additionally, switching off electric lights reduces energy consumption and saves on bills. Let natural light brighten your world!
Learn more here: https://www.earthhero.org/act/312-use-a-natural-light-workspace
Turn Lights Off When Not In Use Don't forget to flick the switch! Turn off lights when you leave a room or when you don't need them. It saves electricity, cuts pollution and lowers expenses. Bonus perks: Bulbs last longer, reducing replacements. Plus, it helps keep your home cooler on hot days.
Learn more here: https://www.earthhero.org/act/83-turn-lights-off-when-not-in-use
Use Led Lights for the Holidays LED lights are perfect for getting into the festive spirit! They not only save you money and energy, but they also last longer. Compared to incandescent and CFLs, LEDs contribute less to global warming, ecosystem damage, ecotoxicity, and landfill waste. From manufacturing to disposal, they're the best cost-effective and environmentally friendly option. Plus, there's a wide range of options to choose from.
Learn more here: https://www.earthhero.org/act/643-use-led-lights-for-the-holidays
Unplug Vampire Electronics Don't let vampire electronics drain your wallet! Up to 20% of your electricity expenses go to these sneaky devices that consume power even when turned off. Computers, TVs, modems, routers, and more are the culprits. Unplug or use power strips to save energy and money!
Learn more here: https://www.earthhero.org/act/94-unplug-vampire-electronics
Use Rechargeable Batteries Switching to rechargeable batteries is an easy way to make a positive impact. Most small devices, which account for the majority of alkaline battery sales, can use rechargeable batteries. Rechargeables can be charged up to 500 times and are environmentally friendly, avoiding the release of toxic metals into the air and water. While they may cost more initially, they save money in the long run and reduce waste.
Learn more here: https://www.earthhero.org/act/77-use-rechargeable-batteries
INSPIRE YOUR LANDLORD
As a valued tenant and concerned global citizen, you may be able to inspire your landlord to take actions related to the entire building or home. Some are low-cost or no-cost, and some will require a bit of time and investment. But all will save money in the long term, while also helping to save the Earth:
Water Your Lawn Less This summer's unprecedented heat is literally bringing the climate emergency home to homeowners around the world. Local water companies have been urging people to use less water, but certainly not everyone is getting the message. Send your landlord to the link below to discover actions they can take to do their part, and save some money.
Learn more here: https://www.earthhero.org/act/114-water-your-lawn-less
Switch Electricity to Clean Energy Pick a 100% clean supplier; they're budget-friendly and ditch fossil fuels. Your local utility may not want you to know this, but you can make a greener choice. Check if clean energy options are available in your area.
Learn more here: https://www.earthhero.org/act/379-switch-electricity-to-clean-energy
Install Low-Flush Toilets Be water-wise! Average flushing adds up to over 20,000 liters yearly per person. Opt for efficient toilets using 5 liters with no performance impact. Save a precious resource, help the environment, and prepare for future challenges.
Learn more here: https://www.earthhero.org/act/111-install-low-flush-toilets
Turn Down Your Water Heater Save money and avoid scalding! Lower your water heater's temperature – factory defaults are often hotter than needed. An easy adjustment to save energy and worry. Try it out and enjoy the benefits.
Learn more here: https://www.earthhero.org/act/108-turn-down-your-water-heater
Get Rooftop Solar Go solar for a cleaner, money-saving future! Buying panels pays for itself in under 10 years, with free energy afterward. Renting your rooftop to solar companies gives you free electricity, and they can sell the excess power. It's a win-win!
Learn more here: https://www.earthhero.org/act/79-get-rooftop-solar
THINK OUTSIDE THE HOME
Now that you're on a roll inside your abode, you can also extend your actions to the world beyond. Here are a few more ideas for low-cost and no-cost actions you implement almost anywhere:
Join a Climate Action Group Be a climate hero everywhere! Join a group and amplify your voice together. You'll learn, get resources, and make friends who share your passion for saving the planet. Let's make a difference, one step at a time.
Learn more here: https://www.earthhero.org/act/233-join-a-climate-action-group
Avoid Buying Fast Fashion Fast fashion is all about cheap, trendy clothes, but it's not so great for the planet or the people making them. The fashion industry emits a lot of greenhouse gases due to energy and water use. Plus, fast fashion means low-quality clothes that end up in the trash quickly. Invest in timeless, high-quality pieces that last longer. Also, opt for quality, secondhand, and take good care of what you have.
Learn more here: https://www.earthhero.org/act/561-avoid-buying-fast-fashion
Electric Bike Instead of Drive Discover the joy of electric bikes! They make commuting a breeze, especially uphill or with heavy loads. You don't need to be a fitness buff to ride them, and they're loads of fun! Charge them like your phone, and they can even replace cars for local trips. With their efficiency, e-bikes are eco-friendly and can save you money in the long run.
Learn more here: https://www.earthhero.org/act/9-electric-bike-instead-of-drive
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!
Didn’t find an action that fits your lifestyle? There are plenty more ideas for meaningful and impactful actions on the Earth Hero website, and in our amazing free app. Please visit, download, and start doing anything you can to help save the planet.