Meanwhile, renters are, in most cases, at the mercy of their building management. But that doesn't mean you have to throw up your arms and cry pollution. There are things you can do to green your home without breaching your lease agreement.
Here are the top ten ways you can help save Mother Earth this April:
1. Live in a Plastic-Cup and Bag-Free Zone
This one is easy. Instead of accepting plastic bags from the places where you shop, bring your See photos of homes for sale in your area and across the country on AOL Real Estate own reusable bags. (4 billion plastic bags become litter each year.) Also, invest in your own travel mug and weed disposable cups out of your life.
2. Stop Drips
A leaky faucet can waste as much as twelve gallons of water a day! So, if you hear a drip, get it fixed, or do it yourself.
3. Use Your Green Thumb
According to NASA, indoor plants clean the air, which is why they will be a major component of future space stations. The same is true of your apartment. More plants mean cleaner air. (As a sidebar, they are an easy and inexpensive way to decorate.)
You might already live in a city where you have to recycle. If not, maybe this April, make it a point to do your own recycling -- even if you just do it once at the end of the month. Who knows? Maybe you'll discover it's so easy, you'll decide to do it every month.
5. Call the "Green Team"
Con Edison offers a service called the "Green Team" where for $50 a team of experts will visit your home and tell you specific ways you can save money and the planet. Instead of buying that new shirt, in honor of green month, hire the "Green Team" or your city's equivalent.
6. Change Your Light Habits
At this point if you haven't swapped out your incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescents, then you may as well live in a cave. But consider other lights: Tonight turn off every light in your living room and see what is still glowing. Any LED light in sight is wasting energy. If your stereo and TV system is on a light strip, simply switch the light strip off before you go to bed.
7. Indoor Composting
It sounds gross, but with all the latest gadgets on the market, indoor composting is no longer a smelly outdoor affair. For about the same price as hiring the "Green Team," $50 should net you a good composter. For a fancier one, you might have to spend a little more.
8. Turn Off the Lights
If you don't want to deal with buying gadgets or hiring teams, do something easy -- turn off the lights. Agree with other members of your household that during the month of April, lights, televisions and computers go off after 8PM. Or, choose one day a week where those items never even go on!
9. Turn Off the Heat
Similarly, most Aprils are fairly temperate. Make a deal to use fans or blankets rather than heat or air conditioning to make up for the weather. Then simply turn off the thermostat for the entire month.
10. Air Dry Your Clothes and Dishes
Hang a line in your back yard or invest in a drying rack ($35 at Target) and after you wash your clothes, hang them to dry. Similarly, turn off the "Heat Dry" option on your dishwasher, run it before bed and let your dishes air dry by morning.
In honor of Earth Month, change one or two habits and you can change the world!
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