Here at EcoVibe, we’re based in the heart of Leeds – and we love it! We’re lucky to be just a few miles away from the rolling Yorkshire Dales, only a 10-minute walk away from a thriving market - which is great for reducing our plastic food waste! - and close to a number of zero waste refill stores. But the problem with our cosy flats is that they’re not always the most environmentally friendly habitats… So, we thought we’d share with you some of our best tips for going green in an apartment!
Reduce what you don’t need. This one applies to everyone really, but it’s so important. Prepare and pack your own lunch, bring reusable cutlery, remember your water bottle and your bags.
Living in an apartment complex also turns you victim to a whole lot of junk mail! Yes, it can (mostly) be recycled, but if you aren’t interested, remember you can opt out of receiving it in the first place. There’s a few steps you can take to reduce the amount of junk in your box. Contact Royal Mail and tell them you don’t want their junk! Just fill in the form and send it to the address on the form. You'll stop getting unaddressed junk mail within 6 weeks.
Water & Energy
Living in flats, we usually spend less on energy than the average householder as simply, there’s less space to warm up and it usually warms up a lot quicker too! But there’s always more we can do. Remember to turn the tap off when you can, take shorter showers and reuse your water when you can! Boiled pasta water can be used on plants when it’s cooled down, or even saved for making stock with your old veggie scraps.
One thing about living in Leeds is that we’re aren’t far away from loads of wonderful charity shops! But without easy car access (and because we’re stubborn and don’t like to drive unless necessary) bags can get very heavy. If you’ve got any old t-shirts, these can be used to make reusable makeup wipes or cleaning rags. The best thing you can get for the environment is the one you didn’t buy.
Food waste that is sent to landfill doesn’t harmlessly break down. It has a big impact on the environment as it rots and releases methane – a harmful greenhouse gas that is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. That’s why it’s really important to recycle our food waste.
Many councils offer a food recycling collection service. The schemes vary, with some councils collecting food waste mixed in with garden waste, while others collect the food waste separately. To find out whether you have a local food waste collection enter your postcode into Recycle Now’s Recycling Locator tool.
If not, wormeries can do the job just great. There’s loads of tutorials online where you can make your own worm bin, or alternatively you can also buy your own ready-made wormery. Just note, it is important to keep a good mix of carbon and nitrogen. Worms also like to be kept around room temperature, so they're the perfect indoor pet that happen to like eating your food scraps. Just don't add dairy, meat, or citrus peels – you don’t want to become a worm murderer! You can typically find red wigglers, the composting worm, at your local bait shop.
Reduced all you can but haven’t been able to find the perfect alternative yet? It’s time to move on to recycling. Shockingly, not all apartment blocks have recycling services! When Anya moved into her new flat, she found out that these were not provided. Don’t worry though, you can request bins for your blocks. It depends on the council, but you can usually get bins for plastics, cans, glass and paper. These can take a couple of months to arrive though. Yes, we know it’s a bit of a pain, but you can search online for your local recycling centres.
5. Buy recycled and renewable materials
When you’ve reduce everything you can, make simple swaps to reusable materials. Coconut scourers make great alternatives to plastic sponges as they’re made of renewable materials. What’s more, they’re made using the husk of the coconut, ensuring nothing goes to waste. You can also get recycled toilet paper, bamboo toothbrushes and plastic free cleaning liquids. There are so many things out there. Just hop on to Ecosia and see what changes you could make today. We’re a bit biased, but our store is a great place to start! If there’s anything you can’t see, get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll look into it!
Reduce your plastic, reduce the problem.