Rob Greenfield’s Simple Sustainable Apartment

Rob Greenfield’s Simple Sustainable Apartment


Hey I’m Rob Greenfield, I live in San Diego, California, and I’m going to show you how I live sustainably at home, and how my lifestyle is beneficial to the earth, my community, and myself. Come on in. So basically what we do here in this house is we try to live in a way that causes minimal harm and is beneficial to everything around us. So it’s just kind of a matter of paying attention to our little daily actions and how they affect the world. And that comes down to things like food, energy, water, waste, transportation, and consumption. Those are the things that we deal with every single day, but very often completely forget to think about how they affect people and the planet and animals. So this is just gonna show you how I’m living at home, and you can choose to take some of these things if you want to as well, or not. So these are oats that I bought in bulk at the grocery store. I use a reusable bag, come home, put them in a jar. As you can see, I’m not creating any waste by using this bag, I’ve reused it a hundred times. And then I put it in a jar and then this is my food… I’ve got oats, quinoa, coconut flakes, This is for making my own popcorn. Lentils, seeds, brown rice. This is all herbs and spices, stuff for baking down here. The cool thing is when you eat this way, a lot of the stuff doesn’t have to be refrigerated, which means you’re using a lot less electricity by not having to refrigerate stuff. And you’ll notice all of this is whole, organic food. So it’s all simply one ingredient in every single one of these jars. This water purifier here cost me about $70 and removes everything except fluoride. Really simple, it’s simple to install, I just fill up my water bottle this way. I never have to use a plastic bottle, which again saves me a ton of money and also, creates a lot less waste. It’s pretty good. So I live in an apartment. I rent, which means I’m somewhat limited in things that I can do. Grey water is something that usually takes a little bit more infrastructure. But what I do simply at home, is I put a bucket under the sink, unscrew this pipe, and then, when I let the water out, it goes into this bucket. And then I take this water out and use it to water my vegetables. So that way the water is being used twice. And that’s one way that I cut back on my water consumption. So there’s a lot of really simple things you can do to conserve resources at home that will take you absolutely no extra time or energy. Here, for example, is my current faucet. It’s using 1.8 gallons per minute. I can simply take this off, put this on. This cost me $3 and uses a half-gallon per minute. So this uses almost 4 times less water, but takes me no extra effort to use. And, basically, this cost me $3, which will pay for itself in a matter of a couple of months, in the average house. If you think of the saying, “a penny saved is a penny earned,” Well after 2 months, this thing is literally paying you, using that. Another thing that we do in this house is we don’t use disposable anything. Napkins, paper towels, tin foil, saran wrap, cups, plates, utensils… And basically, by doing that, we save ourselves a ton of money and we create a lot less trash. To give you an example, here we have reusable towels. We use these for drying our hands, drying our dishes, wiping down the counters. And by doing this, we don’t have to go to the store to buy paper towels, which saves us gas, which saves making less trash, which saves us a ton of money as well. You probably won’t notice, but we actually don’t have a trash can or a recycling bin inside the house. The reason is, we just don’t create a whole lot of it. The average American creates about 4.5 pounds a day, and I did a bike trip across America where I created 2 pounds in a hundred days. So about 200 times less than the average American. Having done that, I create very little, and when I do, I just bring it out to the garbage can or the recycling bin in the alley. And the reason is because I’ve found that the more convenient something is, the more likely I am to do it. So if I can make it inconvenient to create trash, it just makes it a little bit easier for me to do that. So rather than tossing my food scraps into the garbage, I compost them. Simply put them into this bucket, and when it’s full, which it is now, I take these out back, into a larger compost. So these food scraps from the kitchen come out here to my little composter. And this is just an old drum that you can get for free. Just all sorts of fruits and vegetable scraps. Then I just pop this cap back on and I’m good to go So, our food waste sits in here and breaks down, and when this fills up, what we do is we take an old bookshelf that we find in the alley, lay it down, and turn it into a garden bed. So what was once in here, we dumped into here, put a layer of topsoil over that, and now we’re growing our own vegetables out of our old kitchen scraps. So it’s an example of being able to put your waste to really good use. So right now we’re growing tomatoes, broccoli, collards, chard, and kohlrabi, and we’ve got fennel back here. And it’s absolutely good quality, delicious stuff, and it’s amazing. I just started gardening within the last year, and it’s so cool to come out here and just be able to grab fresh food, make a smoothie, make a salad… All of this stuff grows basically for free right here in our backyard. And it’s pretty dang easy. So since I started to pay attention to my surroundings, I’ve also learned that food grows for free, all around me. This is nasturtium. I lived in San Diego for two years before I learned that this an edible flower. It’s spicy like arugula and all these leaves are edible as well. It grows free, all over. And there’s all sorts of free food growing, free herbs growing all around San Diego. And probably somewhere in your neighborhood too, if you just go out a take a look. So if you look around my house, you’ll actually see that there’s very few things plugged into the wall. Besides this refrigerator and the internet, at most times there’s nothing plugged in. When I’m using something, of course I plug it in, but then what I simply do is unplug it, and store it away. The reason I do that is because there’s something called residual electricity. So there’s often a bit of electricity being pulled out through the outlet, even when it’s not being used. On top of that, I just have simplified my life to not having a whole lot of electrical items in the first place, because the less there are, the more time I have to do the things I actually want rather than playing around with my electric stuff, plugging and unplugging. I used to be a regular showering guy. And I used to use all sorts of things like body wash, shampoo, conditioner, all sorts of soaps, you name it. I had a closet full of stuff to put on my body to keep myself clean, to do all that rigamarole. I don’t remember too much what it’s like. But! Now, what I have is a toothbrush and toothpaste, coconut oil, and floss. And I think… That’s pretty much it. I use some soap on my hand sometimes, but I’ve found that this is all that I really need to be clean, to be healthy, and all of it’s chemical-free and natural. So there’s a few things that we kinda have to use. Toilet paper is one that most anybody is not going to give up. But you can at least use toilet paper that is made from recycled material. Rather than having to chop down virgin trees to do it. So, really simply, buying products that are less stressful, less harmful on the environment. No matter what we do as a human race, we’re always going to cause some harm. The idea is to minimize that impact, and to do as much as we can to cause no unnecessary harm. This is my first time stepping into a shower since April 20th, 2013. Which is about a year and a month ago. But I’m not in here to take a shower. I’m simply in here to take the old shower head out, which is using 2.25, 2 and a quarter gallons per minute, and replacing it with a low-flow shower head that has 3 settings on it. One that uses a half, another that uses 1 gallon, and another that uses 1 gallon and a half. So for my guests and the people staying here, I can reduce their consumption 4 times. Again, saving money, saving resources, saving electricity and water. And, I don’t shower in here, but let me show you where I do shower. This is where I shower. The occasional weed. Try to pick up a couple pieces of trash while I’m down here. Make a little bit of a difference. So when I moved into this house three years ago, I thought I needed the biggest room. Just a short amount of time went by and I decided I want the smallest room. So this is my closet. It’s 6 foot by 6 foot, which gives me plenty of room plenty of room to lay down. But it’s basically from this way, just as long as I am. And this way, I ‘ve got an extra foot or so. It’s really simple, but it’s really got everything I need in it. Room for my clothes, room for some of my stuff, and I’ve found that when I live simple, I live free. So this is the guest bedroom of the house and we rent out the rooms here, so that our rent is less, so that I have to work less. We rent out the rooms for $50 a night or $850 a month. We have guests on Air BNB, and also Craigslist. It’s a great deal for the people that stay here. They get a furnished room, access to our bikes, surfboard, furnished kitchen. So they have everything they could possibly need for a little beach vacation for $50 a night or $850 a month. So it’s extremely reasonable for them, it’s a great deal, and we, by doing that, most months our rent doesn’t cost us anything because we rent out 2 bedrooms. Our rent is $1600 and we rent out 2 bedrooms for about $1,700 for a month, and we get to live for free, by having other people stay here. And we get to meet a lot of great people. So when I’m not in the mood to ride my bike, I’ll still try to ride my bike anyway. But, if I’m not going to do that, I’ll grab a Car2Go, which is an electric car sharing program and I’ll show you what I’m talking about. Usually, when I leave my house, I try to have as little with me as possible, right now I have my cell phone, some money, the Car2Go card, the shorts on my waist, and my shirt, and an apple. So not a whole lot of stuff, keeps things pretty simple. So, we’ll go to a Car2Go. Car2Go is an electric car share program. By having this, I own a car without actually having to own a car. There’s a simple app where I can find cars nearby. In San Diego, there’s 350 of them. And you simply find one on the app. You can reserve it right on here. If you want to. And just take your Car2Go card, tap it to the window, takes just a moment. When you’re done, just put the key back in the ignition, tap your card to the meter, and it bills your card automatically, and you’re good to go. So two years ago, I got this crazy little idea inside my head to sell my car. And, I made a pro list and a con list. And amazingly, the pro list was about 15 to 20 things long. The cons was 5, maybe 6, 7 things. With that short a bit of information, I realized it makes perfect sense to sell my car. One of the most important things I’ve found is that I was spending $7,000 a year on insurance, registration, maintenance, gas. The average American actually spends about $9,000 a year on their car. Now, I can travel around the entire world for $7,000. As a matter of fact, one year, I flew Japan, down to Indonesia and Thailand, Cambodia, over to Europe, down to Kenya, spent a month roaming with the wildlife there. And then back to America. That was 5 months of seeing the world, cost me less than it would cost me to own a car for the entire year. Thinking about it that way, it made sense to sell my car and ride a bike instead. Subtitles by the Amara.org community

100 thoughts on “Rob Greenfield’s Simple Sustainable Apartment

  1. LOVE this! I can see your "can do" attitude unleashed your resourcefulness! Your vision, focus and determination make it happen. WOW! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Seriously, how could absolutely anyone thumbs down this video! If the world were full of Rob Greenfields we would be living in heavenπŸ˜‡

  3. You don't even need to use toothpaste. I only use a little bit of baking soda. You can buy it in bulk and it lasts a long time. It is very cheap. The baking soda changes the pH in your mouth so you won't get cavities and it absorbs all odor. I have not used toothpaste in nearly a decade and I have never had a cavity in my life.

  4. "used for whiping…" 4:26 this pause-and-look was my answer to "no disposable nothin'? not even toilet paper?"

    9:15 yeah that;s what i thought [ ;

  5. "So when I'm recording, I always use I cheap, low quality microphone. High sound quality is harmful to animals with sensitive hearing, so having poor sound as often as possible minimizes harm, and saves electricity."

  6. Hey Rob, love your show. I have one garden tip. I saw that you were growing in fully composted soil. You can use your food scraps as a layer of mulch. This will slow down water evaporation on your bare soil. I am sure a lot of people told you this. Have a great day and way to go!

  7. What is the name and where did you purchase you are a kitchen water filter in your apartment ?
    DR. HOWARD,PH.D.

  8. I can say that the carbon footprint of flying around the world totally killed all the sustainable effort 😒

  9. Can you kindly leave a link on your description box where you got your water filter and the attachment to decrease the flow your water please 😊

  10. I got rid of toilet paper too. I got a bidet on amazon for like 60 bucks. Just use little face towels to dry and wash towels every week. Works great!

  11. Your ability to solve the trash what the man kind was utilize in in the past , destroyed all the resources in the surrounding environment ……Cheers good to go

  12. so you saying you live free by ripping the people who do come stay at your house by charging them what you would have had to pay to sustain your comfort living expenses? meanwhile….?

  13. Wow that is smart of you to take the closet as your bedroom and rent out the other room especially since you are close to the beach. Also love all of the ways you are living green. I’m going to implement some of your green living in my own life. 😊

  14. I have looked everywhere for years for a reusable bag like the one you used for your oats! Where can I find this?

  15. Thats how i live
    Minimal
    If possible use those little cloths that come in packs of 5/10 or more to wipe in bathroom just ( instead of toilet paper) dedicated for that purpose

  16. "Reusable towels" πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ maybe it's an American thing, but towels have always been reusable where I come from, We also have reusable clothes, reusable shoes ….even reusable beds 🀣🀣

  17. u dont have to use toilet paper. we in the temple use shower after passing. it's cleaner and you feel better. hare krishna

  18. Rob is that a sealed Barrel that you have your compost in is there a drain hole at the bottom and how long does it take for it to turn to soil doesn't it need any kind of ventilation or keep it from turning into gobbledygook

  19. The solution isnt to live small to save money its to make enough to live comfortably then retire young and leave enough for your kids to do the same.

  20. Up through the 70s, I remember when almost everything came in glass bottles. I mean everything from milk, mustard, mayo and soda. The glass, (soda , milk bottles) were turned in for money at the store to be used again. In the late 70s, 80s plastic everything came into use. I hate it. I actually try to use as much glass as possible, there is a lot less waste. In the U.S. we used to do many things that worked naturally, but they were dismissed in the name of marketing. It is funny how we realize we have to come full circle.

  21. We can't buy 'loose' produce anymore here in UK, it was stopped because of health and safety reasons, i.e. too many people scooping up dried stuff – they could have unclean hands, spread germs, etc. etc.,

  22. Paper towels (or kitchen roll as its called in UK) is my downfall – I just can't manage without it. I do also use re-useable towels, but what do you do in the case of spillages ? if you use a reuseable towel, then that has to go into the wash immediately to avoid spreading germs, but then you are using extra energy to wash them !
    You talk about your own rent ? and that it is covered by the rents you get from visitors ? so I assume your landlord doesn't mind that you sublet your home then ? again, this is 'very' illegal in the UK and can carry a sentence of imprisonment !
    You mention that you have to pay rent yourself ? and that it is covered by the rents paid by your visitors ? again, this is something that is 'very' illegal in the UK – and can carry a sentence of imprisonment !

  23. Lots of good ideas, some of them I also use. But no soap or cleaning substitute to shower? How do you do that?

  24. "No matter what we do as a human race, we're going to cause some harm [to the environment]. The idea is to minimize that impact."

    That right there. This is how you know someone isn't a hippie totally disconnected from reality with grandiose ideas about saving the planet. Rob understands the impact people have on our world, both collectively and individually. He takes responsibility for his individual actions and finds ways to reduce environmental harm.

    Keep it up man. You're a leader.

  25. I'm curious, what are your thoughts on flying? How can you combine sustainable living with flying around the world, don't you feel guilty when stepping into a plane? (This is one of the "problems" I have, I love travelling but sometimes it seems absurd to me to try to live sustainably and at the same time fly around the world). Would love to hear your thoughts!! Thanks for all you do!

  26. I’m into some of what you promote. Reuse, recycle, repurpose. I am into salvaging items I can use in my yard. Used cedar fencing becomes a frame for a raised bed garden quite nicely… for example.

    I don’t subscribe to all that you encourage, but I am leaning more towards simplicity and minimalism more and more.

  27. Love to watch your videos. What great ideas! Also, you look (and sound) like this other guy I knew named Rob. It’s so crazy. He’s a great guy and the likeness is uncanny.

  28. Thanks for showing people how to grow their own food or whats okay to eat as our food is changing. Tasteless food has less nutrients to sustain the body.

  29. You are needed for Garden of Hope project. We need caring persons for a permaculture farm community. A go to location for nomads and persons who care about the planet.

  30. I got rid of my fridge by using my 33 feet deep well and a sealed bucket hanging above water level.

  31. If everyone on the world would just live a little bit more like you climate change wouldnt be that much of a problem

  32. 850$ for a room?! what the hell, what are normal rent prices in the US? In germany you pay like 450€ fΓΌr a complete apartment, even at the south coast of france people pay 550€ for a one room apartment

  33. Greta and people sit around waiting for the politicians to fix the environmental problems. Really, there is no other way than this.

  34. So you bathe in salt water? Yuky. I grew up in an island. I can tell you by experience, salt water is NOT good for bathing and you end up stinking. Wouldn't want to be your guest.

  35. Wow Rob i wish more people in our 🌎 would think more and live more like the both of us do im not as sufficient as you are just yet but just by watching your videos you absolutely give me better ideas of how to live and survive happy and freely! You rock brother! Keep doing what your doing eventually people will catch on in time god willing! Ill be looking forward to watch more of your videos

  36. I wonder if the people he lives with share his habits. In my experience, the hardest part of living a lifestyle even remotely like what Rob’s doing is finding a living situation with like-minded people.

  37. Thank you, Rob. I forbid myself from buying a car for decades and eat healthy foods. Aiming to be as sustainable as you are.

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