Sustainable Living While Renting: A Guide To Lower Your Footprint

Sustainable Living

While many people are taking control over their lives in a sustainable way, many renters feel like they can’t do much to lower their footprint. A homeowner can do a lot of things like installing solar, growing a garden and using repurposed material around their home.

While these things are not available for renters that doesn’t mean that they can’t also do things to lower their footprint and live more sustainably. In fact, living in a rental in the city can be much more eco friendly than you realize.

The reality is that there are many ways that people can be more eco friendly and responsible when it comes to your everyday life. Little things do add up to make a big difference if everybody does it.

In this article, I will go over several ways that you can lower your carbon footprint even if you are a renter.

Live close to everything

If you haven’t yet started renting and are just looking, then try to do some research around condos for rent in the area near where you work. Living in a city will easily get your commute time reduced and you will likely be able to walk or ride a bike to work. Even outside the city, if you can simply cut down the time spent behind the wheel then you are going to lower your footprint when it comes to the commute.

Commuters are a major pollutant and add tons of carbon to the atmosphere every day. Even taking a few cars out of the equation will make a difference as time passes. Try to be strategic about where you end up finding your place to rent and it will also pay off in savings as you can reduce your cost to commute, or even be able to get rid of your entire car expenses altogether.

You should also be thinking of the other things you need to be close to besides work. Having a supermarket nearby will help you avoid needing to drive far to stock up and can help you decide to get rid of your car. Make sure that public transportation is nearby so you can further afield when needed as things may not always be walking distance.

Being close to these conveniences will not only help to lower your dependence on a car and decrease the carbon you are putting into the atmosphere but you are improving your life in many ways. Getting in shape is a nice byproduct of not owning a car. And you will also be saving a lot of money.

Reduce, reuse and recycle

This should be the mantra of everybody these days whether you rent or own. But even when you don’t have a lot of space you can be seeking to not throw much away. Instead of buying new, you can look on classifieds for opportunities to upcycle and get things you need for free or low cost as people look to get rid of their lightly used items.

And there are almost always ways that you can reuse things before you even put them in the recycle bin. Old milk bottles can be used as planters or even as scoops for your pet food or litter box.

Coffee grounds can be used as compost either for your indoor plants or to give to a friend that has a garden. And the coffee cans can be used to store pens, nails or any other small items. Paint them up if you want them to look stylish in your home.

The last on the list should be recycling. Although it is much better than ending up in a landfill, the less material we need to recycle the better. Recycling uses a lot of resources and is not as good as simply repurposing other materials. However, when there is no other alternative then recycling is much better than simply throwing it away.

Donate to offset your carbon use

Even when you are doing your best, you can still offset your carbon use by donating money to support causes that lower their own carbon footprint. This way you can get down to an almost carbon neutral standing even when you do consume. Many people who travel a lot for work like to donate to offset the damage that their flying is causing.

Some examples are non profits that are planting forests to absorb more carbon from the atmosphere since so much of the rainforest is being depleted.

Be smart about your appliances

If you are renting a home or apartment that doesn’t come with appliances then you should look to buy the most energy efficient ones possible. Even small appliances like toasters and microwaves can be bought that have a lower energy consumption.

Try to also not use those appliances much when possible. In the summer, look to air dry your clothes on the balcony if you have one to avoid using a dryer. Even without a balcony, you can set up racks in your apartment and hang your clothes up to dry inside. This can be done at night so you aren’t inconvenienced.

Find out the times to use your appliances when the peak hours are over. You will save money and put less of a strain on the grid by using your dishwasher or washing machine at night or on the weekends, for instance. Also, wash your clothes in cold water to use less gas heating it up. There are detergents formulated for use in cold water so you can still get the stains out.


This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to helping the planet through everyday actions. The future of the planet depends on everybody doing the right thing and that includes renters. It may be more complicated, but you just do what you can.

With just a few adjustments we can all do our part without it feeling even slightly inconvenient. In fact, the challenge may even be enjoyable!


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