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Live a Greener Life in the New Year

With the New Year comes the time to start things over.

It’s the time to think about what you want to do better, and often being greener is one of those things. But what can you do to make that happen?

Here are a few of the things that you can do to help you get started and keep going with living a greener life.

1. Throw a green New Year’s party

Okay, this may seem like a weird idea, but hear us out. Holding a party like this does multiple things. If you invite people, you’re making it public that you’re trying to be greener and do new things, giving you more motivation to stick to it. It also gives you a chance to practice some of the things that you might not think of. Do you use disposable plates for a green party? Maybe if they’re paper and can be easily recycled. Or is it less impact on the environment to use and clean regular dishes? What foods fit the theme? You’ll have to deal with these questions eventually, so start getting used to it now.

2. Go paperless

Generating a lot of paper seems innocuous, especially since paper can be recycled, but it’s much easier the less of it you have to do. You’ll probably need some paper, but try to go as close to paperless as you can, and recycle the rest. You also want to know whether you can recycle shredded paper where you live. Some areas take it while others don’t. The less paper you have, the more likely it is that the paper you do have has sensitive information on it, so figure out how to handle that ahead of time.

3. Make recycling simpler to do

glass recycling

The hardest part of recycling is actually doing it. When trash cans are much more easily available, you’re much less likely to go through the effort to recycle properly. Don’t just have containers, but set them up correctly. As an example, set up an open recycling container next to a lidded trash can in your kitchen. It takes much less effort to throw something in an open container, so you’re more likely to put things in there. Since it’s open, you’re also less likely to put in food or other non-recyclable things, since that would cause the kitchen to smell. Putting those together, you now have a good system for recycling that makes it much easier to do correctly.

4. Buy more efficient appliances

This depends on if your landlord allows it, but new appliances might be the biggest change that you can make to really have an impact. A fridge, dishwasher, washer, dryer or anything else that uses a lot of power is fair game. It’s expensive at first, but saves you money and is better for the environment over the long run.

5. Find creative ways to reuse things

Sure, there are the obvious ways to go, like using old shoeboxes as storage, but get more creative than that. Is there anything you’re throwing away that could be used as decoration? Could those boxes be used to set up a makeshift standing desk, or any number of other little odds and ends around the house? The more you can do something useful with old items, the less you’ll have to throw out.

6. Unplug things you’re not using

Every little bit helps, so this is worth a look. Whenever you have something plugged into the wall that you’re not using, it’s drawing power. It’s not a lot from any individual device, but it can start to add up after a while. While some of the biggest items, such as your refrigerator, can’t safely be unplugged, look for any large or power-hungry electronics to unplug when you’re not using them. It not only helps the environment, but saves money on your energy bill, too.

7. Use less stuff

minimalist room

Despite being the most obvious, this one needs to be called out. The less stuff that you use, the less your impact on the environment is. Whether it’s electricity, water, gasoline or stuff bought at the store in packaging that fills up the landfill, the less stuff that you buy or use means less of an impact. It’s really the biggest difference that you can make on a small, personal level.

8. Get involved in environmental organizations

If you’re ready to think bigger than yourself, then you need to get involved in bigger things. Whether you’re volunteering your time or donating money, this is the best thing that you can do to help make some real, large-scale change. Even a one-time donation can make a difference, so add that to your list along with the changes to your life to make you greener than you’ve been before.

Go green!

There’s a lot you can do to be green in the New Year, so don’t waste any time getting started. Start off the New Year with better intentions and the actions to go with them. Keep it up and you’ll be living a green life very soon.

Categories: Renters

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About the Author
Steffi Cook

Steffi Cook is the head of content for Rentals.com. When she’s not writing or editing, you can find her on the tennis court, hiking in the mountains or trying a new restaurant.