Helping the environment doesn’t have to be a chore. This Earth Day, we hope you’ll make one small change in the way you manage waste. Whether it be reducing, reusing or recycling, it all makes a difference. Here are five simple yet effective ways to go green in an apartment.

Reduce Waste

Reducing is a simpler way to get into recycling. Start by using fewer disposable products and opting for more reusable materials. Ditch plastic bottles and go for glass bottles. Washing a container is easier than separating bottles into recycling bins and taking them to a facility.

Use Reusable Materials

Reusing materials and fixing broken items helps with reducing waste. This doesn’t mean squeezing a tomato until your hands hurt, or using the same towel until it literally falls apart. However, it does mean that using items more than once is better than throwing it away after one use. For example, use glass containers to take your lunch meals to work, or send plastic bags to grocers to sanitize and reuse.

Know What You Can Recycle — And What You Can’t

There are several categories for recyclable waste. It’s important to be sure that what you’re putting in your bins can actually be recycled. Commonly recycled items include aluminum cans, plastic bottles, and newspapers. Some products that can’t be recycled include plastic bags, some kinds of glass, and shredded paper. Of course, there may be a use for these items. Check out this list of creative uses for shredded paper.

Make Designated Recycling Bins

Have a space set aside and clearly marked for recyclables. It can be a regular garbage pail with a sticker on it, a box, or even a basket. The type of container used doesn’t matter when recycling. What matters is separating waste by type.

Composting

Even if waste isn’t recyclable, it can still have a second life. Composting uses that waste to give nutrition to soil. You can purchase starter kits that make learning how to compost in your apartment a breeze.

Text by Sarah Vice