5 Things Philly Renters Can Do for the Environment

fallen leaves in philadelphia rowhome

Think that sustainability initiatives are only for property owners? Think again! As a renter in Philadelphia, you can do a lot to reduce waste and promote sustainability. See our top 5 recommendations below.

1. Power your home with renewable energy

You might not know that PECO allows customers to choose the source of their electricity. Not only can you choose your supplier, but you can also make a choice based on how that electricity is made. This means you can select to power your apartment with electricity that comes from renewable sources like wind and sun rather than coal.  Renewable sources of energy are better for the environment in a myriad of ways, and it’s a big step you can take to contribute to keeping our planet healthy.

Find alternate electric suppliers here!

2. Composting

For a great resource on general recycling info, check out our article How To: Recycling in Philly, but if you’re one of the growing number of folks interesting in home composting, read on.

Did you know that for most of the last century Philly offered curbside compost pick-up? It was discontinued in the early 90s, but in recent years the desire to eliminate landfill waste through composting is back with a vengeance. There are many places to bring your compost throughout the city, but if you (like most of us) can’t always schlep your food scraps to a collection center, Circle Compost offers home pick-up service.

For between $12-18 a month, Circle will bring you a 5-gallon compost bucket for your home, and empty it out either weekly or every-other-week. The scraps are taken to local urban farms and gardens for use in feeding soil. They even use bicycles for pick-ups, so it’s extra earth-friendly. Check out their services on their website, including this handy guide for what can be composted.

3. Stop Getting Junk Mail in Philadelphia

Tired of constantly detangling free circulars from your front stoop? Wish there was a way to eliminate paper waste and street trash by opting-out? Philadelphia now has a plan to deal with the ever-growing issue of take-out menus, ads, and handbills being stuffed into front doors and railings. Fill out this form, called the Circular Non-Delivery Decal Order Form and the city will provide you with a sticker for your front window that makes it illegal for folks to drop these items on your property. It’s a start!

4. Create A Movable Garden

Walk around any neighborhood in Philly, and you’re sure to run into an amazing container garden on a front stoop, porch, or balcony. These luscious plants not only provide some much-needed natural beauty, but help clean and cool the city air. Keeping growing things alive is one of the best things you can do for the environment, and might not be as difficult as you think!

Start small with one or two pots, and then add to your collection as your confidence and knowledge grows. Consider weather-proof materials such as fiberglass or ceramic for the containers themselves, and easy-to-manage plantings that will withstand all seasons.

5. Conserve Water, One Shower at a Time

Thankfully, we do not live in one of the areas of the country affected by chronic drought, but there is still a lot we can do to conserve water in our apartments. One of the easiest is to have a shower bucket. Just stick a bucket under the tap while you’re waiting for your shower to heat up, then use that water to flush the toilet or water your plants.

Speaking of the shower (such a water hog!), you can change out your showerhead for a more water-efficient model. Many landlords will allow you to install your own, but check with them first. Older showerheads can use up to 5 gallons of water per minute, but for just a few bucks and minimal handyman skills, you can lower that significantly.

Now go forth with this newfound knowledge and green your apartment, your city, your life. It’s all part of our slogan: Love Where You Live.

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