By Energy Challenge Intern
This month has been an exciting one between the new job and the new apartment I just moved into. I’ve lived in college dorms and apartments, but they don’t come with the same responsibilities of renting on your own. Namely, bills and getting a suitable home security camera for apartment buildings. Utilities are included in tuition, so prior to this job I had little knowledge of just how much energy costs each month. My second day at the new apartment was also my first day working at the South Coast Energy Challenge. While watching the videos and listening to the presentations, I began brainstorming numerous ways I could save energy and cut down costs in my new apartment. However, I ran into one major roadblock. The entire apartment complex does not provide a means of recycling whatsoever. There are several large dumpsters placed throughout the complex, but I couldn’t find a single recycling bin. This made me realize an even bigger problem. Out of the hundreds of people living in this complex it is likely that close to none of them recycle. When I took out the trash last week I saw dozens of recyclable goods sitting in the dumpster, and realized this was an issue that should be brought up to the managers.
My goal is to speak with my landlord and ask if there is a way the complex could buy and set up recycling bins throughout the complex. I may need to speak with the manager of the complex as well. If they are unwilling to do so, then my second goal will be to find a nearby location that I can bring my recycling to. It may be inconvenient, but it is certainly worth it. However, I would like my neighbors who may not be as motivated as I am to have an accessible and convenient way to recycle. Several hundred people live there and it could be significantly beneficial.
Aside from the recycling issue, a few other actions have been taken as well. The previous renter still had all incandescent light bulbs in the ceiling fixtures. We replaced all of those CFL light bulbs. Although the weather has been pretty mild so far this summer, I also want to make an effort/goal to use the ceiling fan as opposed to the air conditioner as much as possible. Additionally, once I have a little more savings I would like to buy an indoor clothes hanger/dryer that Karen mentioned in one of her presentations. There are coin-operated dryers in the building, but I can see that becoming an unnecessary expense each month, and would prefer the alternative that Karen mentioned.
I will continue to try to find ways to be more sustainable in my energy consumption and ultimately save money throughout the summer.