1. Do not set the sprinkler system. Living here in Florida, we see people’s sprinklers running all of the time in the pouring rain. Never leave your sprinklers on a pre-set schedule; it wastes so much water. We only water the lawn when it is starting to look a little brown, but if you are determined to keep it really green; you can still follow a schedule without the timer.
2. Instead of throwing things like clothing, or household supplies away, donate them to goodwill or hand them down.
3. Instead of taking re-usable bags to the grocery store, we ask to have our groceries bagged in paper bags. We then re-use those bags as our garbage bags and don’t put plastic bags into our garbage bin.
4. Compost. There are all kinds of new composting bins becoming available, and composting is easy, plus it will help the vegetables in your garden immeasurably. Some cities have even begun public composting programs, and you can encourage your city to do so as well.
5. Get a dog. Dogs are very helpful with getting rid of the leftovers that no one wants to eat. Of course, be cautious about foods that are unsafe for dogs.
6. Re-use water bottles. We fill our gallon jugs up every time we visit the grocery with purified water from the machine there.
7. Skip the bags. You really do not need to put your produce into individual plastic bags at the store. They should be washed when you get home anyways, so there is no need for the extra packaging.
8. Invest in a set of mason jars. They are great for storing everything in the kitchen, and they are less tempting to throw away if something goes bad. They are also very easy to clean.
9. Get the water saving showerheads for your showers. I know, I know, they are not nearly as luxurious, but they save a lot of water, and you get used to it.
10. Think about when you are creating heat in your house. The hottest day of the year is not the best time to do any baking or to run the dryer. Consider investing in a clothesline.
11. Use cloth diapers. I know; it is quite a lot of work. It is so much better for your children though, and it is so much better for the environment. It also aids in getting your little ones potty trained earlier, and it saves gobs of money. I managed with twins.
12. Eat at home, or at restaurants that you know have waste reduction programs. It is much healthier to eat at home, and restaurants can generate gobs of food waste.
13. Consolidate trips. If I am going to a certain part of town, I make sure that I run all of the errands that I regularly do in that area, rather than coming and going to different places all of the time. It just takes a little planning ahead.
14. Utilize power strips. When you use strips it is easy to cut off the wasted electricity that goes into things like the television and the computer, even when they are turned off.
15. Learn how to hyper-drive. It is easy to look up the information, and it saves a ton of gas. I always crack up when I see people lay on the gas and then slam on the brakes when they are heading for a red light. It is so terribly wasteful, and it is also hard on the brakes and the transmission of your car.
16. Encourage electronic-free activities at home. Get the kids outside to play, go for walks after dinner, or plan a weekly reading night. Children seriously should not be using electronics very frequently anyhow.
17. Turn the AC up. You can slowly raise the thermostat a degree at a time, and you may be surprised to find that your family doesn’t even notice. I just can’t understand how people can turn the thermostat down to the tundra setting, and then sleep under five layers of blankets.
18. Only buy eggs in paper cartons. I still have not lived anywhere that has a program to recycle those stupid foam egg cartons.
19. Stop ordering the newspaper. You can pick and choose any story or game that you want to see online; you can even get all of the coupons.
20. Just turn things off. Kids are the worst about it, but my husband can be pretty bad as well. Assigning children the task of going around the house and turning off everything that isn’t being used, or even unplugging it, or turning off the power strip can save gobs of wasted energy.