Creating a planet-strong home – Tips for renting sustainably.

Written by Regan Jade

Many of us dream of living off the grid, drinking from fresh water springs and foraging wild plants from our own backyard. For people who rent, it's a dream that probably seems too far-fetched to become a reality – but it doesn't have to be that way. You can still make habits right now to help you on your way to living sustainably, decrease climate change and save you money.

As a renter, I can understand the frustration when your new home isn't as eco-friendly as you would like it to be. You can't just grab your hammer and nails to make modifications without having to apply to your landlord or property manager first. It can be disheartening when you're suggested modifications are knocked back and your left living in a 'not as sustainable as you would like' abode.

There are many sustainable habits you can implement at home now to help your rental become more sustainable and ease your conscious.

Some of these tips are easy to get started with right away and others require permission from your landlord. So if you are unsure, check with your landlord or property manager first.


  • Turn the lights off when you're not in the room.
  • Open your curtains and blinds to naturally light up the room (it's free!).
  • Change out your energy sucking incandescent lights for LED (Light emitting diodes)or CFL (Compact florescent light bulb) lights.
  • Feeling a bit chilly? Put on a jumper instead of turning on a heater.
  • Use heating and cooling wisely. Check your temperature settings, close the doors when you're using it and only use it in the rooms you are using.
  • Utilise outdoor window shades – keeping the heat out during summer can eliminate the need to cool your house down.
  • Seal up draughts and gaps (Ask for permission from your property manager first)
  • Choose a greener power company like www.
  • Turn off appliances and switches when you're not using them.
  • Check energy ratings on appliances and only buy ones with a good energy rating.
  • Use the natural energy of the sun to dry your clothes by hanging them on the line to dry.


  • Take shorter showers.
  • Use the waste water from your bath and shower to water your garden.
  • Ask your landlord to invest in a water saving shower head.
  • Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth.
  • Fix leaking taps (Ask for permission from your property manager first).
  • Wash your laundry in cold water.
  • Collect rain water to use on your garden, veggie patch or wash your car.
  • Use the half flush when flushing your toilet.
  • Keep our waterways healthy by using eco-friendly detergent.


Follow the waste hierarchy to avoid creating waste.

Image: NSW EPA

  • Check in with your local council to find out what you can put in your recycle bin or download the recycle smart app to have the latest recycling information in your pocket.
  • Dispose of E-waste responsibly or (even better) donate working goods to schools and charities.
  • Give unwanted items to op shops or sell on second-hand sites – after all one man's trash is another man's treasure and you will be saving much-needed space in landfill.
  • Recycle your food waste by Composting, Worm farm or Bokashi bins and decrease the amount of waste you are sending to landfill by 50%!
  • Composting: Great if you have a backyard with some sun. Most organic materials can be added to the compost bin with the exception of meat products, dairy and pet waste.
  • Bokashi Bin: Perfect for the apartment renter that is short on space. Bokashi bins are small and can fit under the kitchen sink. They use microbes to break down the scraps and can handle meat and dairy products.
  • Worm farm: Can be placed indoors or outdoors and don't take up a lot of space. They don't allow you to go through as much waste as compost or Bokashi bins, but on the upside you can put in the waste from your pets.


  • Grow your own plants in pots so you can easily take them with you when you move.
  • Use your composted food waste to add nutrients to your garden.
  • Use mulch to minimise evaporation, mulching can reduce water use by up to 75%.
  • Buy second-hand pots, plants and gardening equipment.


  • Let your food and drink cool before storing in the fridge or freezer.
  • Only boil as much water as you need i.e. Don't fill your jug to the brim to make only one cup of tea.
  • Choose Gas over electric if possible.
  • Wait until your dishwasher is full to do a load.
  • Save rinsing water for the garden.
  • Freeze the ends and left over pieces of your veggies and save them for soups and broth.
  • Compost, Bokashi or Worm farm your food waste or alternatively find a community centre or garden that accepts food waste for composting.


  • Can you choose a location that is close to public transport?
  • Can you choose a location that is close to your work so you can bike or walk?
  • Can you downsize the amount of space you need?


  • Each state is different so check your local laws and regulations before you make any changes to the property you are renting.
  • Call your land lord or property manager for the low down on what you can and cannot do. Ultimately it's up to the property owner to decide what changes they will agree to make.

You have probably heard these tips over and over again, and for good reason - they help! Every little change you can make will be creating a difference and helping to reduce climate change.

Setting up these sustainable habits now will ensure a healthier planet for our future generations and you will be well prepared by the time you end up in your own home.

Happy Renting

Regan Jade is a Marine Biologist with a passion for plastic-free and low-tox living. She believes that our health is inherently connected to the health of our oceans and Mother Earth. Regan is on a mission to inspire women to live lighter on the planet and connect with our oceans while making it easy, fun and stylish for the modern eco warrior. You can read more of her work on her website and sign up for her free 14 day plastic detox email series. Follow her on Facebook, Pintrest and Instagram.

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