Waste Not, Want Not and Cut Back on Bad Habits

Apartment Living

01.12.2015 | Updated on 06.29.2017 | 3 Minute Read | By Rent Editorial Team

Whether we take a shower that’s a few minutes too long, or we leave the water on while we’re brushing our teeth, we all have wasteful habits. But cutting back on those tendencies not only helps out the environment, but doing so could also lower your utility bills (woo!).

I mean, who wouldn’t want to see a lower bill each month? I know I’d be pumped about that. Check out these simple ways that you can quit those bad habits:

Food Waste

Did you know that as much as 40 percent of America’s food supply is wasted each year? Think about how much of that food could potentially be going to people in need. Let’s help reduce that number by following these eco-friendly practices:

Reorganize Your Fridge: When you come home with your new groceries, put the brand new stuff in the back of the fridge, and bring the older food items to the front. This way, they won’t be forgotten, and they won’t go bad before you have a chance to get to them.

Plan Out Your Meals: I know it takes some extra time, but creating a grocery list and planning your meals is a great idea. I know whenever I go to the supermarket without a list, I end up with a cart full of food that I absolutely don’t need (never go shopping hungry). With this method, you won’t end up buying too much or too little food.

Keep Track of What You’re Throwing Away: Do you continue to buy loaves of bread but always end up throwing a lot of them away because mold started to grow? Maybe you should either buy less, or buy two loaves, and store one in the freezer. This tactic ensures that when you run out of bread, you’ll have a fresh loaf in the freezer that you can thaw out.

Eat Leftovers: I’m still learning how to cook for one, and I tend to make way too much of the recipe I’m following. In that case, I try to eat the leftovers either for lunch or dinner throughout the rest of the week.

Another option is to freeze your leftovers and save them for later. Obviously a take-out pizza is going to sound a lot more appealing than leftovers, but what’s in your fridge is the better option for the environment and your wallet (and probably your health).

Water Waste

We all use water a lot during the day: when we’re brushing our teeth, washing our face, cleaning our hands, showering, etc. Much of that water waste, however, can be reduced with a few very minor lifestyle changes.

Fix Leaky Faucets: A leaky faucet may not seem as though its wasting much water, but those drops can really add up over time. In fact, you can waste more than 20 gallons of water per day, depending on the leak. Contact your landlord and ask him or her to come take a look and repair your leaky faucet.

Turn Off the Water: I personally am guilty of sometimes leaving the water on when I’m brushing my teeth. That’s one of those bad habits that is super easy to fix – just turn it off!

Time Your Showers with Music: Stepping into a hot shower at the end of a long day can be a huge stress reliever for many. However, consider cutting back on how much water you use by timing your showers.

You don’t have to start a stopwatch or anything. Instead, create a 5-minute music playlist that you turn on when you hop in the shower. This will dictate when you should shut off the water, and hey, who doesn’t enjoy jamming out to their favorite tunes while they’re in the shower?

Trash Waste

It’s incredibly easy to not realize how much  you throw away each week. From frozen meals and coffee filters to cereal boxes and paper cups, there is a whole lot that goes into the garbage. Do your part to reduce trash waste by keeping these tips in mind:

Switch to Reusable K-Cups: I absolutely love K-Cups. They’re so convenient when I need a quick cup of coffee on the go. But those little cups are quickly collecting in landfills.

Instead, opt for a reusable K-Cup. You simply fill the tiny cup with coffee grounds of your choice, which can help out the environment and save you money in the long run.

Bring Along a Coffee Mug: If you occasionally like to stop at your favorite coffee shop before work, bring your own coffee mug instead. That’s one less paper cup that will end up in the garbage.

And think about it – if you get coffee three times a week, that’s about 12 cups you’re not using per month. And for an even bigger bonus? Some places even discount your bill when you bring your own mug.

Recycle: Alright, I know you’ve heard this one before, but that’s not to take away from the importance of recycling. if your apartment complex doesn’t follow this eco-friendly habit, it can be very inconvenient to recycle.

In this case, you can find a recycling center near you to drop off all of your recyclables at the end of each week. Earth 911 is an online tool that allows you to search for a recycling center close to your apartment.

Opt for Reusable Shopping Bags: If you go shopping every week like I do, you probably have a slew of plastic bags stored up somewhere in your apartment. Instead of wasting these plastic varieties, consider buying reusable bags that you can bring with you whenever you go to the store.

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