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Sustainable living matters to more of us now than ever. Homeowners across the country are turning to solar panels and ethical energy. Many of us are even growing vegetables in our gardens now.
At this stage, the majority of us even recycle everything from our food waste to our plastic. All the better for improving our lifestyles and our planet at the same time.
But, what happens if you live in a rental? A lifetime of renting is no longer an unusual occurrence. And, there’s no denying that it can make sustainable living more challenging.
After all, the majority of landlords don’t like their tenants to decorate, let alone install solar panels.
You may find that the rental life puts obstacles in your way no matter which steps you try to take towards a sustainable lifestyle.
Lucky for you, that doesn’t mean this is an impossible goal. There are plenty of renters out there who are doing more than their fair share to help our planet. You could be among them if you only implemented the following steps.
Find your Landlord a Sustainable Energy Company they Can’t Say No To
The first difference to note with renting is that you aren’t free to switch to sustainable providers on a whim. The ultimate decision about which energy company provides your property falls to your landlord.
Attempting to change without their say so could see you in breach of your contract. In the majority of cases, you’ll find that you can’t change this without your landlord’s signature anyway. But, that doesn’t mean you need to stick to an unethical energy provider without question.
In reality, you only need to give your landlord a persuasive argument for change. Sadly, there’s no guarantee that they will care as much as you do about the environment. Hence why you may want to approach this with the universal language of money in mind.
Despite what many believe, ethical energy doesn’t have to cost more. There are lots of companies out there that offer competitive rates to beat other companies. You may find, then, that all you need to do is provide a price comparison they can’t refuse. Even if you pay the bills, you can bet they won’t be able to resist a good bargain on your behalf.
Take your Own Initiative with Recycling
We’re lucky enough to live in a country where the majority of postcodes now benefit from recycling. Still, in most locations, you have to register for things like food waste bins.
There’s a chance that a non-eco minded landlord wouldn’t consider doing this before you move in. The good news is, though, that this is free to arrange, so even the tenants of an HDB rental flat can take care of this.
While you may want to give your landlord a head’s up in case they receive letters about this; you don’t expressly need to ask permission. All you’ll need is your address to hand and a knowledge of the services on offer in your area.
So, don’t waste valuable time chucking things like food and plastic into your main bin. Get on top of this as soon as you move in, and enjoy the sustainable benefits a small step like this can bring.
Make Small Changes
Speaking of small steps, it’s worth noting that small changes are often all it takes to create a more sustainable home. There’s a chance your landlord wouldn’t be happy if you painted the whole place with eco-friendly paint.
But, there’s not a whole load they can say about your making small changes which you can take with you when you go. The most beneficial of these would be to replace any existing light bulbs with low-energy alternatives.
This is a simple step, which you can reverse the moment you give your notice. While you’re in the house, though, this can both reduce your energy bills and lessen your carbon footprint.
Along the same vein, you may find that replacing a traditional shower head with an eco-friendly one is an option. Bear in mind that this isn’t always going to be a simple job. If you’d need to change your shower altogether, you would have to get your landlord’s permission for this.
Often, though, this will be as simple as trading parts, and just as easy to undo down the line. These may sound like small things, but they’ll have a significant impact on the carbon footprint created within your household. All because you took the time to do a few alterations when you moved in.
Use Pots for Growing
As we mentioned briefly at the start, altering the way we use energy isn’t the only way to reduce our footprints. Many people also decide to grow their own fruit and veg. Countless gardens are now making way for home-based veg plots.
Even people with small outside spaces are creating raised areas for vegetables. Of course, rental life doesn’t suit that plan. Even if you do have a garden, which not all rentals do, you won’t be able to make any real lasting changes to it.
The good news is, that doesn’t mean growing your own is off your cards for good. All you need to do is work out which vegetables you can grow in pots.
There are more options here than you might realise. Everything from tomatoes to greens grows well this way. By placing large containers of these around your garden, you can ensure that your landlord won’t have any objections.
Even if you don’t have an outside space to play with, you could make use of pots on your window sills for the same purpose. It may not be the allotment of your dreams, but it’s a step in the right direction and one that the environment is sure to benefit from.
There’s no denying that you’ll need to think a little harder about this lifestyle in a rental. Still, it’s entirely possible to look after the planet from a rental if you set your mind to it.