grassy feet

40 ways to go greener at home …besides just recycling

Being intentionally eco-wise is about celebrating the creativity of creation, being good stewards with what we’re given, and passing on those values to the next generation.

The thing I love most about practicing good green green habits? Nine times out of ten, they’re also the more frugal option. Being environmentally-friendly is just good economics—in our home and budget, and with the earth.

There are tons of little things we can do in our homes to play a small part in reducing landfill waste, cleaning the air, and preserving the natural landscape. But we double our efforts when we get our kids involved, helping them understand the why to our what.

When they get it, it’ll be second nature when they’re adults—and that much easier to pass it down to their children.

Here are some small, easy, green choices we can make in our homes. Choose three that you’re not already doing, and make them a habit this year.

40 ways to go greener at home (besides recycling)

40 easy ways to go greener at home—besides recycling

1.  Plant an herb garden.  It’s good to have a reminder around of where our food originates, and this one is super easy.

2.  Switch all your lightbulbs to CFLs (or at least switch a few).

3.  Create a homemade compost bin for $15.

4.  Switch one appliance to an energy efficient model (look for the “energy star” label).

Photo from Flip & Tumble

5.  Stop using disposable bags. Order some reusable bags—my favorites are Flip & Tumble. Or, make your own—they’re insanely easy.

6.  Buy an inexpensive reusable water bottle, and stop buying plastic disposable bottles (my favorite is the Kleen Kanteen with the sport cap.  Then watch The Story of Bottled Water, a short movie about the bottled water phenomena.

7.  Wash laundry in cold water instead of hot.

8.  Turn off lights when you leave the room.

9.  Don’t turn on lights at all for as long as you can—open your curtains and enjoy natural light.

10.  Drive the speed limit, and combine all your errands for the week in one trip.

Photo by Kamyar Adi

11.  Better yet, walk or ride a bike to your errands that are two miles or closer.

12.  Support your local economy and shop at your farmer’s market.

13.  Turn off your computer completely at night.

14.  Research whether you can sign up for green power from your utility company.

15.  Pay your bills online. Not only is it greener, it’s a sanity saver.

16.  Put a stop to unsolicited mail—sign up to opt out of pre-screened credit card offers.  While you’re at it, if you’re in the U.S., go ahead and make sure you’re on the “do not call” list, just to make your life more peaceful.

17.  Reuse scrap paper.  Print on two sides, or let your kids color on the back side of used paper.

18.  Conduct a quick energy audit of your home.

19.  Subscribe to good natural living blogs—I dig Shalom Mama, You Grow Girl, Keeper of the Home, Kitchen Stewardship, and DIY Natural.

20.  Before buying anything new, first check your local Craigslist or Freecycle.

21.  Support local restaurants that use food derived less than 100 miles away, and learn more about the benefits of eating locally.

22.  Fix leaky faucets.

23.  Make your own household cleaners.  I’ve got quite a few recipes in my first book, Organized Simplicity.

Photo by Kasia

24.  Line dry your laundry.

25.  Watch The Story of Stuff with your kids, and talk about the impact your household trash has on our landfills (I don’t love some of their politics, but I can overlook it when watching).

26.  Learn with your kids about another country or culture, expanding your knowledge to other sides of the world.

28.  Lower the temperature on your hot water heater.

29.  Unplug unused chargers and appliances.

30.  Repurpose something. It’s fun.

31.  Collect rainwater, and use it to water your houseplants and garden.

Photo by Lori Ann

32.  Switch to cloth diapers – or at least do a combination with disposables. Even one cloth diaper per day means 365 fewer disposables in the landfill each year.

33.  Switch to shade-grown coffee with the “Fair Trade” label.

34.  Use a Diva Cup for your monthly cycles. At the risk of TMI, I’ve been using mine for more than five years now. (Update: Eight years and counting.)

35.  Use cloth instead of paper to clean your kitchen. Be frugal, and make these rags out of old towels and t-shirts.

36.  Use cloth napkins daily instead of paper.

37.  Read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and be utterly inspired.

38.  Repurpose glass jars as leftover containers and bulk storage, especially in the kitchen.

39.  Watch the myriad documentaries on Netflix about the food industry and environment. Some of my favorites are Food Inc., Amazing Planet, Discovery Atlas, and Food Matters. My daughter was totally mesmerized with that last one—it’s insanely important that our kids understand where our food originates.

40.  Donate to—and shop at—thrift stores.  You’ll be recycling perfectly usable items, you’ll be supporting your local economy, and you’ll be saving money.

top photo source
Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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  1. Wonderful tips, thank you for sharing them !

    Ambiome´s last blog post…L’art du désencombrement

    • i just wanted to say you were very helpful to me..these thoughts were not popping up in my head. i have a project to do that will help the community go green. i appreciate your solutions to going green. thanku!

    • very nice tips!! need to start a herb garden asap

    • An improvement on #14 (signing up for green power) is to buy your own solar panels. Solar power is not only affordable now, it’s cheaper than conventional energy in many American states over the long term. I’m proud to be helping homeowners find truly affordable solar panel installers.

    • blackops2man says:


    • As you can see there is a ton of ways that you can go green. None of them are difficult, and anyone can use them to their advantage. If you care about the world and want to make a difference, know that you can, as proved with these 40 wonderful tips. You can make a difference in the world. Put these tips to good use and the many benefits that come your way will not disappoint you. It is so easy and so simple, why not go green?

    • Charlotte Baker says:

      I didn’t realize until I read this how much of this we already do as money is tight from my many surgerys and can’t work. So remember this all saves money too!

  2. It’s so exciting to me to see how I’ve grown in the past few years! I don’t do all of these things, but I do many. (Patting myself on the back–LOL.)

    I didn’t know about the opt-out option for credit card offers. I hopped right over and did that for my husband and myself. Whew. I hate getting that junk that goes immediately in the trash can.

    I DO wish that our town had a recycling program. Growing up, pretty much everything got recycled. (I lived in a town in Ontario, Canada.) Then I moved to a small Southern town in Georgia. It *killed* me to throw paper, glass jars, and tin cans away!

    I probably need to be a bit of an activist and see what *I* can do to help our little town get started in this direction.

    By the way, Stephanie at Keeper of the Home just released her new e-book today that jives very nicely with this topic. It’s called Healthy Homemaking: One Step at a Time. The subtitle is A 52 Week Journey of Baby Steps to Help You Move Towards More Natural, Nutritious and Sustainable Living. Now couldn’t we all use a book that baby steps us along?

    I’m not affiliated with Stephanie in any way (other than being a dedicated reader of her blog). I just wanted to share a GREAT resource!

    Brianna @ Heart(h) Management´s last blog post…Getting Motivated–It’s a REAL Job! Series #6

    • We live in a very small rural community that does some recycling, but does n ot recycle plastics. It kills me to throw away something that is so easy to recycle, so we save our plastics and when we make a trip to the city we bring it with us.
      .-= Eclectic Visions´s last blog ..Green(er) Living =-.

  3. When it comes to being more ecologically responsible, I find that I need to focus on the steps that I must take in my home instead of focusing on the big picture. It is somewhat like the pennies make dollars mentality. If I focus on the big picture, I feel that I cannot make much of an impact. So, one thing at a time.

    My one thing this spring may be the compost bin.

    Thanks for taking the time to put this information together.

  4. Hooray! I do many of what’s on your list already. I need to get better at turning the computer off at night and I want to do a lot more line drying of our clothes this summer. Thanks for all the great ideas on how to go green at home!

    Sherri (Serene Journey)´s last blog post…Ask The Readers: YOUR Top Book Selection

  5. I love these tips. I don’t turn off the computer completely every night-something we could easily do.

    Here’s a few more:
    We buy frozen juice instead of bottled (saves a lot on plastic waste).
    We also buy powdered mix for gatorade instead of the bottled stuff (cheaper option too).
    We wear clothes more than once before washing, (when not covered with baby dirt)

    A while back, I blogged about a compost bin for my marriage. You might find it interesting. It’s here:

    Nicole´s last blog post…Try This Idol Instead

  6. What a GREAT list — I want to print it out and put it up on my fridge!

    Allegra´s last blog post…Awesome Item of the Day

  7. Thanks for the mention Tsh! This is a great list of things to do, and many of them are frugal, and healthy tips as well! One thing we are doing is going through all of our bills and statements and making them all paperless. This takes a little effort, but most banks and utility companies have the option if they have an online pay system. Talk about simplifying filing day in the office!

  8. I love these tips! We do many of them, and are teaching our 5yo son why we do them, but we can always do more. I’m guilty of leaving the computer on most nights 🙁
    I am looking forward to your Cloth Diapering 101 as we are expecting baby #2 in September and I’m having the cloth/dispoasable debate in my head.
    Thanks for reminding us it really is easy to make a difference, and that small differences add up to larger ones!

    MelissaS´s last blog post…A Bright One Just Because

    • I don’t know what OS you’re using, but with Kubuntu Linux, I have options like:
      – It’s plugged in, the lid’s closed, and it’s been that way (not in use) for an hour, so {shutdown|suspend|hibernate}
      – It’s unplugged, and the lid’s closed, so {suspend|hibernate|turn screen off}
      – It’s plugged in, the lid’s open, but I haven’t done anything in 2 hours, so {shutdown|suspend|hibernate|screen off}

      It allows a wonderful level of detail regarding how to handle power management.

  9. What great ideas!! Some I do already, some I will start to do!! I have been talking with my children about the environment and ways to be green. We have been working on crafts this week that are from recycled items in our home (you can find them on my blog this week.) I am highlighting other blogs that are giving ideas for going green this week-so I will be adding this post there!! I would like to have all the ideas together.

    Onna´s last blog post…Earth Day Activities

  10. What a great, comprehensive list! I’m feeling pretty good about myself, as we do many of these. Some of them just seem like good old-fashioned common sense! The new ones I’m going to commit to are:

    ~ doing an energy audit
    ~ doing nightly computer shutdowns
    ~ doing all laundry with cold water

    Thanks Tsh!

    Kirwin´s last blog post…Edit, Add, and Appreciate

  11. I think I need to seriously consider the 5-minute shower goal, but it doesn’t sound fun! Otherwise, I think my family is doing pretty well. It is interesting to see how many of these suggestions have gotten ingrained into our way of doing things without much effort.

    Does anyone have any thoughts about composting in a condo with very limited yard space?

    Also, how about when two green behaviors cancel each other out–as in the case of cloth diapers? They require hot washes. (But maybe we’ll cover this during Cloth Diapering 101 ).

    Meghan´s last blog post…in need of the truth

    • We’re going to give composting another go this week – and we’re in an urban highrise with a tiled balcony. Last year it didn’t go so well, only because we were doing it wrong. I’m going to try again, this time using my guest poster’s homemade compost bin how-to.

      And yes, that is a major issue with cloth diapering – for us, it only took simple math for us to see that CDing is definitely cheaper for us (even with the extra laundry). Since frugality is my main motivation – and going green is a secondary – that’s why we went that route. We still do disposables for going out for long periods of time (in this country, it just works better) – but I’ll go into these details more in a few weeks.

    • I’ve been reading lately that we don’t *need* to wash diapers in hot water, especially if you use a neutralizing agent such as baking soda or vinegar. I haven’t stepped out on that limb yet – I’ve always learned that the dirtiest laundry should be hot-washed, but I’d be interested in hearing more facts and reasoning to back it up. I still feel great about cloth diapering, though, because we line-dry them most of the time and cut out so much waste.

      Leslie´s last blog post…Just another magic Monday

    • Personally, we live in an area where water is abundant and cheap, but land isn’t. The price we pay for garbage hauling keeps going up… In my mind, it’s still better to use water & energy to wash cloth diapers than to be taking up landfill space with disposables. In theory, you could use greener energy to heat the water, and the water can be treated at a sewage plant. On the other hand, most disposables from 50 years ago still haven’t broken down in landfills….

      • A lot of people don’t realize that TONS of water is used in the production and distribution of disposable diapers. A family washing 2-3 medium hot loads a week to diaper 1-2 kids is most likely a lot less water than would have been used just to produce enough disposables and wipes to diaper 1-2 kids. We actually use less water now, even with cloth diapers, than before we had 3 little ones.

  12. A great list….we already do some of the things on this list but I’m going to try to add a few items into mine and my husband’s lives.

    I’m so glad you mentioned the Diva Cup, it doesn’t get much press but it’s really a great option for women. A roommate in college turned me on to the Diva and I’ve been using it for about 3 years (and I love it!). I love that it’s a frugal alternative to disposable pads and tampons, but it’s also an environmentally-friendly option since you cut down on the amount of waste.

    Also, I’m glad that you mentioned the idea of being green as a way of being a good steward of God’s creation. My husband has a tendency to make fun of my desire to be green and I always point this same thing out to him!

  13. What a great list! I do many of these things already. I’ve been using the CFL lightbulbs for a while and love them. Last time I purchased appliances I made sure they were energy efficient, and I always use cold water for washing clothes.

    I’m just getting into making my own household cleaners. I’ve been trying to find a good homemade cleaner for my laminate flooring, but for some reason what I’ve tried seems to make my floors sticky, and the instructions for my floors say not to use anything with a soap base on the floors. If anyone has any ideas, I would appreciate them.

    Amanda @ Mommy’s Idea Book´s last blog post…A Pair of Red Clogs by Masako Matsuno

    • Nice article, one comment on driving the speed limit. Of course we should all drive safely, but the best way to save energy is to keep your RPM’s low. If you drive a manual stick shift, try to keep the RPM’s under 2000. If you drive an automatic keep the tachometer under 2000 RPM’s. This will reduce the amount of gas you are burning and help save the environment. I try to add tips like this at Thanks for the tips!
      .-= Green Guy´s last blog ..Jill Buck and the Go Green Initiative =-.

  14. Thanks for the green blog links. I always love to find new blogs on topics that interest me, and this is definitely one of those areas!

    I love that you tied this in to our stewardship of what God has given us, because that’s my main motivation for learning to “go green” as well. I consider it just as much of a stewardship issue as anything else- money, time, talents, etc.

    Brianna, thanks for the sweet plug for my eBook! I’m blushing! 🙂

    Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home´s last blog post…Introducing Healthy Homemaking: One Step at a Time!

  15. We do most of these…but I’m sorry, I have to draw the line at the Diva Cup and making play pants out of my worn out track t-shirt! Last month we got an energy star dishwasher, switched all of our standard-size lightbulbs and set our thermostat up to 78 and down to 65…we shaved almost $50 off of that energy bill alone! It was great! For my husband, ‘eco’ is only the first part of ‘economical’ so he was hooked! =)

    Liz´s last blog post…Tunica Hills!

    • Liz, I honestly thought the Diva Cup sounded gross before I used it. But now, I find the idea of pads definitely grosser, and the DC right along the same lines as tampons. I am shocked – shocked – at how much money I’ve saved using it over the past three years. It only cost me $28 up front. Definitely worth giving it a shot, I say.

      • Like Liz, I am dragging my feet at this one, too, but you almost have me convinced, Tsh!Maybe that will be one of the three things I add to what I am already doing.

        Aimee´s last blog post…One For the Babies: Sweet Potato Pancakes

        • I’m also a satisfied DivaCup customer! Takes some practice, but it’s definitely more pleasant than pads, and it’s non-absorbent, and so helpful for avoiding yeast infections.

          Meghan´s last blog post…i saw it first

          • Tips of the Day

            Give your computer a nap: Ask your IT department to set your computers to go to sleep when not in use. Creating short energy breaks can cut energy use by up to 70 percent.

      • There’s more work to be done convincing people that bodily functions are not disgusting, there’s a lingering mentality that menstruation is dirty and should be hidden at all costs and I think it’s a tragedy.
        The only problem I have with the Diva Cup is that you should not use it if you have an IUD because it can cause it to come out.

  16. Homemade baby food is another way moms can go green. Not only do you have the option to use local, organic ingredients, but all the food is prepared and stored in reusable containers. I encourage everyone to check out NurtureBaby (also a sponsor of this site)….

    • Absolutely! You’re right about this – and I think Nurture Baby is an awesome site.

      • Too funny! I blogged abut NurtureBaby today! What a great resource that site is for mothers who want to start making their own baby food.

        Aimee´s last blog post…One For the Babies: Sweet Potato Pancakes

        • I was very hesitant about the Diva Cup at first, and didn’t give it a try until after my twins were born. I have to say that it is so much more comfortable and effective then any conventional menstrual care products. The fact that it is healthier, more cost efficient, and better for the environment are just bonuses. I would recommend the testimonials page at the Diva Cup site if you still need convincing.

  17. I definitely need to work on turning off the computer at night and I’ve been wanting to make my own cleaners for some time now. No time like the present!

    Side note about cloth diapering: I’m a gDiapers user and would gladly answer any questions about the system. I’m not affiliated with them in any way – just LOVE their product.

    • We have two gDiaper covers, and I used two packages of inserts. I love them – and almost loved them as much as cloth diapers – except for the cost. I wish they weren’t so expensive!

  18. Turning off the computer at night is something we’ve gotten terrible about. It was set to shut itself off after a period of inactivity, but when the hard drive crashed and was repaired, we haven’t set it back. I’m also starting seeds for a container garden this summer, as buying a home is our summer plan, and planting a full garden now would be wasteful.

    My mother laughs at how trendy ‘green’ has become, saying “We’ve been green since before it was trendy, and was called being cheap.”

    Rae´s last blog post…We Made it Monday: Original Art.

  19. hey
    I have to give a plug for the Diva cup after a previous poster got the *ick* feeling.

    I have been using one for about 15 years, and it’s truly the best $50 I”ve ever spent. I can not ever imagine not using my cup! It’s the best thing EVER!


  20. What an amazing compilation of super easy ways to make a difference! Our family lives in the desert, so eating locally and gardening are a challenge. But I’m going to give the herb garden a go. Hopefully I’ll have more success than everything else I’ve tried to plant out here. I’m also committed to cloth napkins and plan to make that our next lifestyle change! Love your site. Thanks for the great tips.

    Lisa´s last blog post…keepin’ it green

  21. Great tips! Along with the idea of using reusable bags, I’ve recently purchased some reusable sandwich bags that are machine washable and/or dishwasher safe. They are handmade by a company now called snack taxi (used to be happy sacks) and so far I love them! 🙂

    Steph´s last blog post…Crockpot and freezer menu planning

  22. I was surprised to find we actually do many of those already, what a wonderful thing to realize! I think my fave most recent “switch” would be my reusable water bottle (aka: stainless steel bottle). I actually quite prefer it to the plastic water bottle as it keeps my water super cold! Love the $ we are saving now with this choice (and our Brita!).

    Great tips!

    Angie @ The Creative Mama´s last blog post…about the creative mama.

  23. Great list! The suggestions are both easy and manageable. Our Sunday School class was just discussing how in our grandparent’s day, items were replaced when they wore out. In our day, items are upgraded because we want the latest version.

    Mandy´s last blog post…Gluten Free Recipe for Chicken Tenders

  24. I’m going to plug “environmentally friendly” menstrual products as well! I use a “Keeper,” which is like a Diva Cup, but the Diva Cup is silicone, and the Keeper is laytex. I love it! Less odor issues, and my flow ended up reducing a lot. I spent $30 on it 10 years ago, and would not go back to pads/tampons for anything. I do use a panty liner with it, and during my most recent pregnancy I got to thinking that I really should buy some cloth liners to use with it. I guess I should think about doing that before my cycle returns…

    I was surprised at how many things on the list I am doing either fully or at least “sometimes.” Yay! 😉

    For me though, I draw the line at hanging out the laundry…sorry…with 5 kids, its just too much laundry, my time is valuable! I try to get the kids to wear clothes more than once before washing–I certainly do.

    Jenn´s last blog post…Manic Monday: School Registration, Sign Your Name…

  25. Great post! I started line-drying our clothes (lots of clothes…family of 5) last summer and we cut our PG&E bill by $75-$100/month. Just re-started last week. In addition to conserving energy and reducing expeditures, hanging laundry is a great mental break from the day!

    patti´s last blog post…Congress 2009

  26. Caroline says:

    Wow…great ideas! I feel like we do quite a few of these too, but realize there is always room for improvement. I like what one poster said that her family thinks it is funny how green is becoming trendy…and that she has always been green but it was called cheap” hahahaha! HOW TRUE my friend! I am a garage saler at heart and always have been 🙂 Caroline (momma of 2 *one with the missing tooth, one whom God healed from Eczema ~yay vidazorb~ and BOTH junior greenies!)

  27. awesome list! thanks. i’m inspired to compost again this summer. and the diva cup. mmm…

    minnesota:madre´s last blog post…a morning walk

  28. is also a great book trading website. I look forward to your coverage of cloth diapers. I do hope you mention g diapers in your write up. I think they are a great middle of the road option.

    Bridgette´s last blog post…Food! Specifically, Beef Bourguignon

  29. re: #34

    LOVE LOVE LOVE my cloth pads from Party in my pants!!! ( was a tampon user, but since the kids can’t wear disposable anything without severe irritation. found some of these reusable pads and tried them, meaning to try something like the diva cup. have a cup and still haven’t tried it because i actually love using the pads. Never would have thought i’d be a “pad” girl, but they’re easy, non-irritating, and just go in the wash with everything else. and i really never did think a pad would make me smile, but sll the fun prints do make me smile.

  30. Great list of ideas! Thank you!

    Tammy´s last blog post…~Hello, and Good Bye~

  31. I went to the opt-out program page and they want my ss#. Why? Hubby is wondering if it’s an identity theft scam.

    • I did the same but DIDN’T give it. There’s no reason they need it. I didn’t give the birth date either. My husband used to work for our state’s Attorney General’s Office and said they should not be asking for that. SS # in our state are not allowed to be used for any medical, school or other identification numbers. We lived in another state for awhile and it drove me crazy that our health insurance there used it for our medical ID #’s. I’ve known too many people who’ve battled identity theft, it’s a mess to clear up so I want to avoid it. I never give out our numbers.

  32. I just purchased some mama cloth from our local cloth diaper store. They are absolutely fabulous! I highly encourage mamas to look into it. It’s expensive up front, just like cloth diapers, but will save so much in the long run.

  33. I’m so proud of how much we do already! Love this list, Tsh, and I am sending it around to all my peeps. I keep lecturing about how they need to stop drinking bottled water, but they don’t listen!

    I wash all my Zipock bags, hang them to dry and re-use them. Also almost never take a plastic bag when I purchase something. Going to start to bring my Tupperware containers to the butcher to replace the Styrofoam.

    Aimee´s last blog post…One For the Babies: Sweet Potato Pancakes

  34. Thanks for sharing! I do many of these already but there are few I will adding to my list.

    Angie´s last blog post…Refreshed…

  35. We’re trying to do ALL of them on the list. Making our own compost bin this week, and I just switched to the Diva Cup.

    One thing we do that’s not on the list is to take the junk mail we still get (which is GREATLY reduced) and shred it to use for packing whenever we need to ship a package.

    PsychMamma´s last blog post…Maddie

  36. Wow! I now have seven tabs open in Firefox that I have to go read! Thanks for such a great list. We already do many of these things, and are working on most of the others one at a time. 🙂

    Tiff @ The Faery Inn´s last blog post…Fairy Tale

  37. One item I might add to the list is becoming aware of packaging at the grocery store. so much of our waste comes from food packaging, so buying in bulk is great, but choosing a box over a plastic container of the same item is also important. I’ll be a big cheerleader for cloth diapering week – we switched to them for my second child, and it CURED him of his terrible, reoccurring diaper rash!

    Casey´s last blog post…Happy Birthday, Max!

    • Oh, my, on the cloth diapers, I’m SO loving them!

      My first 4 kids we used disposables because I was working outside of the home, and hubby would not cooperate with cloth. But he is finding that it really isn’t as big of a deal as he thought it would be.

      I did buy some disposables for an out of town trip I took, and promptly put the unused ones on a high shelf in my closet when I got home. Then one night about 2 weeks later S. needed a diaper in the middle of the night, and my hubby didn’t want to run downstairs to get one, so he got one of the disposables. BAD choice. The next morning she had a poopy blow out of epic proportions AND she had developed a diaper rash. Just from one silly disposable. Sigh.

      I love the cloth!

      Jenn´s last blog post…Earth Day, what did you do?

  38. A great list of green-tips and I feel proud that my family is already doing quite well. My three goals for the next couple months are to plant an herb garden (my daughter already plants containers of veg); to buy a Diva cup (I’ve been hesitant b/c a close friend doesn’t love hers); to figure out a new compost bin for our family. A problem area of ours is our long showers. The kids and I have timed ourselves and are nowhere close to 5 mins so we’ll work on improving in this area. Oh, and the opt-out option for credit card offers is not available in Canada.

  39. Great list, and so many of these things are soooo simple and easy to do, but can make a huge impact on the environment.

    Valerie´s last blog post…Treasure Box

  40. For those who are trying composting can try vermicomposting. is a great site with lots of info.

    Asha´s last blog post…Guess whats for Supper?

  41. We try to buy food products in recyclable or biodegradable/compostable packaging, but better yet are the ones with reuseable packaging, such as glass jars, etc. One thing I’d had guilt about is the organic assorted lettuce I buy in bulk – and in plastic – at Sam’s Club. The container is locally recyclable now, but we’ve found they’re perfect for planting seeds in – poke some holes in the lid and you have a mini-greenhouse for early-season starters.

  42. Great list…many of them save money too!

    Ben´s last blog post…Paying for GPS Map Updates is Absurd

  43. I actually do almost all of the items listed here. I guess living in California I’m ahead of the curve. One thing I would like to do is grow more of my own food (I get most of it from a CSA within walking distance). Also, I would like to find a way to get off central heating! A suggestion for mothers: the documentary The Great Mother. It’s both the story of the Dalai Lama’s mother (told through amazing interviews with the Dalai Lama), but a look at motherhood and mothering itself – and the archetype of The Great Mother. It’s a beautiful watch, there are trailers, sales, info, and PBS air times at that site.

  44. Go Veg! It’s one of the easiest, cheapest, and healthiest ways to help the environment! You’d be amazed at how negatively the meat market affects the environment! Read the article here:

    I also do a ton of other things on your list. I <3 cloth diapers. I need to get better at turning my pc & lights off as well. As we’re about to move into our new house, we’ll also be much more careful with the AC/Heat settings. I’m also planning on line drying most if not all of my laundry. =)

    • gail ostrander says:

      i’m glad someone mentioned going veg! people just don’t know how eating meat negatively affects the environment.

  45. Some of these are really great tips! We try to do most of them (although not all), but there’s always room for improvement. Thanks for the nudge =)

  46. I’m doing a lot on the list, but still have more to work on. I just got a collapsible clothesline and as soon as my husband digs the hole for the post I’ll be line drying as much as I can!

    I used to use a lot of ziploc sandwich bags, but I switched to just using little containers for on-the-go snacks and packing lunches and haven’t bought sandwich bags in almost a year.

    I try to limit packaging whenever possible. I shop in bulk when I can and bring my own containers. I love the fact that for a family of 4 we average only 1 or 2 bags of trash a week (and that is including my home office).

    Loretta´s last blog post…Love, Like

  47. If you have any tips on how to get your spouse to participate — would love to hear them! I cannot get my husband to do even the simplest of things, such as turning off the lights when he leaves the room. I also try to recycle all our junk mail, plastic bottles, cans, etc. I have a hard time getting him on board. The sad thing is that we have a single-stream recycling bin “sponsored” by our trash pick-up company so it isn’t like it is hard! argh men!

    I have almost always used cold water for all my laundry. Aside from being more eco-friendly, I also feel like it isn’t nearly as hard on my clothes and helps them last longer. All about that! 🙂

    Jill´s last blog post…Fashion Friday: 3rd Edition

    • Georgette says:

      I’m not sure if this would work in a home, but at my office they installed motion sensors on the lights in all of the shared spaces (i.e. meeting rooms, lunch room, restrooms, etc.) and they’re great. Turn off after no activity for 10 minutes. Occasionally we’re in the middle of a big serious meeting where no one is moving and the lights go off, but that is usually more of a tension breaker than anything else. 🙂

  48. Thanks for the tips and links…. happy Earth Day, All!

    An Experiment for Love´s last blog post…The House Experiment

  49. I gotta say that wearing gently used clothing items has got to be one of the best ideas for saving $ and for recycling. I am also amazed with how much of our stuff was good quality stuff that was purchased off of ebay and craigslist. I am including big ticket items too, like cars and furniture. Using vinegar to clean with was also a huge life change for the better! I hope to keep incorporating more green/frugal changes every year. Thanks fot the additional tips!

    J.J.´s last blog post…I just kept….running.

  50. I’ve been wanting to start a compost bin, thanks for reminding me that I need to get off my lazy but and just do it!

    (the other tips are good too)

    Scott´s last blog post…Women Are Wired Differently

  51. I made my list here before reading yours. I mention a few you don’t but you mention some I do but didn’t think about. Great suggestions!

    Jenn @ Beautiful Calling´s last blog post…More Green = More Green $$

  52. Oh, I wa just doing some baking and thought about another one…buying spices etc. in bulk and reusing the containers you already have!

    Jenn @ Beautiful Calling´s last blog post…John and Baby Wooo-Chisss

  53. This was a great list. Already doing a lot of these, but there are some things I just simply forget. I am gonna print this and put it on my fridge!

    Rachel´s last blog post…tweet tweet

  54. Great tips! I also have to check out the diva cup. I found great eco friendly, non- caustic cleaning products for my home.

  55. A question: what do people do about lining garbage bins in the house? Before switching to cloth bags I’d use the grocery store plastic bags for this purpose… now what?

    • I actually still grab a few plastic grocery bags at the store and use these as our garbage bags. We fill one about every other day (a small, normal-sized grocery bag). I haven’t bought garbage bags in years. Even though I hate using plastic bags for groceries, I figure I still need something for the garbage – so we grab only what we need.

      If anyone knows of a creative, frugal, eco-friendly option for garbage bags, please chime in!

  56. This is a fabulous list. It made me feel really good about the changes that I’ve made in our house over the last couple of years and gave me some ideas to make further improvements.

    Cammy´s last blog post…Ten Things I Want to Teach My Son

  57. What a thorough list! I am doing many of the items, but not all. Even adding just a few more to the household would lessen our impact. Great post.

  58. Thanks for all the useful information.

    I don’t think I will ever go with cloth napkins or using rags instead of paper towels. I am single and don’t use them that often and I simply can’t see how using more water, detergent and electricity is anymore wasteful then using the paper product.

    gloria´s last blog post…Bra-Buying 101

    • Wash the rags or napkins by hand and ang dry. It’s quick and easy and much better than paper. Plus they are softer on the skin

  59. I love this list and I’ll prove it: I featured on my little seedling of a blog. 🙂 Thank you for a lovely reminder that we can all make a difference!

    Domestic Godzilla´s last blog post…Blog Spotlight: Greener Living from Simple Mom

  60. This is an excellent post. There are other simple things that almost anyone can do to be more green and conserve energy, like installing a ceiling fan or a Programmable Thermostat that can adjust the temperature automatically for times when it is not needed, or cleaning or replacing their Furnace Filter or Humidifier Filters with something like Aprilaire Furnace Filters that are more energy efficient. Also, installing Refrigerator Water Filters instead of drinking store bought bottled water, cuts down on waste. Just some ideas that might help the cause.

  61. Great tips! You mentioned a lot of things I haven’t heard of/thought of before! Thank you!

    Andrea´s last blog post…Green Moms!

  62. the diva cup – that will work so good.

  63. This works for me, my friends, and relatives!
    Hang clear plastic bags filled with clear water ; place them inside and outside to be rid of house flies.

  64. I am really into going green and I agree these are really good tips!!!

  65. Great list. I know that this is obvious, but I have to mention it because I am in this field.

    Recycle metal, especially non ferrous metals like aluminum, brass, copper and nickel. You can actually receive money and go green!

    End of plug.

  66. love

  67. Tsh, just when I think I have learnt almost there is to learn from your site, you spring another pleasant lesson. I am proud to be familiar with most of the tips. Nevertheless, this will be printed and kept as a green to-do monthly tips. And thank you for sharing those green blogs- just what I have been looking for! ;D

  68. I do probably 90-95% of these already. The blog suggestions are fantastic. Thanks! It’s a great reminder from you to not buy anything new before checking craigslist, freecycle, or even the thrift stores.

  69. what’s your take on mp3 players, because you have to use your computer to charge them!

  70. Great article.

  71. I feel pretty good knowing I do all but about 10 items (and some are because of my apartment, hot water heater temperature cannot be changed, or because they don’t apply to my life, cloth diapers aren’t useful if you don’t have a baby). To top it off, I’m further along on this list than the first time I read this post a few months ago. 🙂

  72. 33 out of 40. I used to make my own household cleaners, but good green cleaning ingredients are becoming harder to find, oddly. One of the big problems with making good household cleaners is that you can no longer find washing soda (essentially, a coarser and cheaper version of Baking Soda), which used to be available in every grocery and drug store, and now cannot be found for love or money. (Well, it can be found for money- available on line for the low low price of $13 incl shipping for a 3 lb box.
    .-= Xan´s last blog ..Talking to the butcher =-.

    • I saw some at Whole Foods this weekend. Granted, it’s not the cheapest place in the world, but if you live near one, it might be cheaper than buying online and dealing with shipping.
      .-= Tsh´s last blog ..40 Ways to Go Greener at Home (Besides Just Recycling) =-.

    • Ace Hardware, if you have one, allows you to make an online purchase that ships to their store. When you choose to ship to the store, you don’t have to pay the shipping fees.

      • Tsh and Kara– thanks! I tried the ship to store thing with True Value they would only do it if I ordered $100 worth of stuff; forgot that there’s an Ace nearby; I’ll go check them out, maybe they have it on the shelf. At any rate, their price is good, so shipping to me wouldn’t be that bad. I’m a Whole Foods hater, but washing soda might get me through the door. At any rate, this is more info than I’ve found on it in years! Thank you!
        .-= Xan´s last blog ..Talking to the butcher =-.

  73. I got 22/40. Some don’t apply to me though because I don’t have kids, or because we live in an apartment with no say over appliances/energy purchases.

    Still, this is a really good list, with lots of things I intend to do when feasible! I think it’s interesting that most of these things I wasn’t doing just to be earth-friendly, but to be frugal. It’s kind of a bonus that they happen to be “green” too.
    .-= Nikki Moore´s last blog ..Growing up and needing new stuff (and orange furry monsters) =-.

  74. This is a great list, and I was really happy to see that we already do so many things that are “green.” As few other replies noted, our intention wasn’t to be “green” but to be frugal.

    One way that I really cut expenses this year, and went green, is by using reusable swiffer covers. My mom and sister knitted some covers for me because I can’t knit to save my life. However, I’ve recently found a crochet pattern for the same thing. The savings really is tremendous in my home, as we have a large, sheds-every-moment-of-day pup and I was swiffering the tile floor twice a day.

    A Tip Nut link to making your own via knitting, crocheting and sewing:
    .-= Trina´s last blog ..Fiesta!: Aguas Frescas =-.

  75. great list! thanks!
    .-= tacy´s last blog ..Organizing Time with Routines =-.

  76. So many good ideas! Washing the laundry in cold water is tough for me because for some reason I feel like washing in warm water gets them cleaner…but I know that’s not true. Great list!
    .-= Tina @ Ride On Toys´s last blog ..The Batman Power Wheels Will Keep Your Little Crime Fighters Busy =-.

  77. Line drying clothes not only saves energy, but also makes your clothes last SO much longer! I have been wearing the same American Apparel tank tops for over two years thanks to line drying them — they’ve hardly faded or changed shape at all.
    .-= Rae´s last blog ..Spring Cleaning Week: Moving List =-.

  78. This is great!

    We do nearly all of these, it’s honestly because of our move from the states to Germany 2 years ago. They make it so easy to recycle almost everything, we even have roadside pickup for biodegradable waste. I will miss all of this when we go back to the states.
    .-= Satakieli´s last blog ..Chicken with Mushroom and Tarragon Cream =-.

  79. MB Squared says:

    My husband and I just watched Food, Inc. on PBS tonight, what an eye opening experience. I definitely going to start shopping at my local farmer’s market.

  80. There are some great ideas there but I do find it strange that as an environmentally astute person you are choosing to have at least 3 children. I love children, I have worked with children all my adult life but each of those children that you have will a carbon footprint. The original earth day very pointedly encouraged ZPG as the only rational long term approach to humans creating less damage to the earth. Why don’t we have less children and leave them more of an earth to grow up in?

    • This is a big issue, for sure, and maybe (maybe) I’ll discuss this in a separate post some day, but just to state for the record — I disagree with that “theory.” You can be an environmentally responsible person with a large family. 🙂

  81. What a great list! I shared the link to this post on my Earth Day post today!

  82. What a great post! I did want to throw out there that, unfortunately, “The Story of Stuff” is actually quite political and contains a fair amount of erroneous information. I do love your opening paragraph regarding good stewardship. That’s how I’ve explained it to my boys. We make these choices because it is honoring to God to respect and care for His creation.

    • Yes, I agree, TSOS is pretty political, and that’s the one thing I really don’t like about it. I feel like the good outweighs the bad, though. Their short film about bottled water is much better, in my opinion.

  83. I love the list, but have to disagree with #2. The contents of CFL’s are poisonous and I won’t bring them into my home. What I’ve heard from people that have tried them is that they don’t last even as long as a standard bulb and cost a lot more. Doesn’t make much sense to me. Poisonous bulbs that cost more and burn out quicker-how is that green?
    .-= Kelly Cook´s last blog ..Udder Amazement =-.

    • Once these hybrid halogen-CFL bulbs come out, you may be interested. They have a much lower mercury content than current CFLs. Don’t know about the pricing.;posts

      Overall, I’m pleased to see safer developments like these hybrid CFLs and consumer-grade LED lights.

    • Kelly,
      I’m up in the air about these too. I’ve have bought so many to replace standard bulbs and they’re all burning out! Then to dispose of them is a pain because it’s a separate trip to the recycling center. In fact I have a bag of them hanging on my closet door that need to be disposed of….ugh! I would love to start replacing with LED, which are expensive but they use much less energy. Not sure what to try. Plus, my kids have accidently broken two, which is a danger to them and a huge clean up mess. Have decided that they will NEVER be in the kids’ rooms again.

  84. great post! You should add it to my 40 Days of 40 Years of Earth Friendly Living MckLinky to win a huge pack of Elmer’s!
    .-= Kelli @ 3 Boys and a Dog´s last blog ..Blogger Appreciation Day: April 2010 =-.

  85. Ashley Spillius says:

    Another tip is to try going vegetarian/vegan for at least one day a week.
    One of the most carbon dioxide emitting industries is that of the meat and dairy.
    And if it seems fit, it’s greener just to go vegetarian/vegan altogether. 🙂
    Green+Health Benefits=Awesome
    I’ve personally been a vegan for a little over a year now and I feel the best and the most helpful (towards the environment) I’ve ever been.

  86. I just came from a blog post about 10 ways in going green. Now I’m looking at 40? Oh my!

  87. Got #s 8, 15, 17 down

    not sure how #19 helps

    and there is no chance I do #39.

  88. Hey great tips. These have really helped me out. I will bookmark this for sure!

  89. Really nice ways to be people who want care with our crying world. Let’s we start now. so do i.
    Thank’s simplemom. Really i will bookmark for sure!

  90. I keep a 1/2 gallow pitcher by my bathtub. Whoever takes the first shower of the day uses it to catch all the cold water that’s usually wasted while we wait for the hot water to make it’s way upstairs. Then we use the pitcher of water to help fill the toilet tank the next time we flush. It may sound like a bother, but its really no biggie!

  91. Hi,
    it’s great to see so many ideas. I already do most of what is on your list, but I do see 7 new ideas I need to work on.
    I especially appreciate the suggested book on item 37, now on my “to get” list.
    This is definitely is one page I am bookmarking. :0)

  92. Good tips here. One I like to do often is light a few candles and go completely off grid for a couple hours in the evening. Gives one time to chat with family, read a book, or just sit and think. Very powerful and I suggest everyone tries this simple green tip.

  93. Going green is actually easy you just have to make up your mind. Eat healthy foods, walk, bike instead of driving everywhere and choose non toxic cleaners. I am a cancer survivor so green lifestyle is everything for me.

  94. Going Green is easy! i agree with Mary! It’s all about getting into the mindset of living a healthier life in general. If you eat healthy and live healthy so many things start to fall in place. I began my go green initiatives by eating healthier, doing yoga, and also trying to shop green. I found sites like this that help with great tips and have gone on go green search engines. My newest venture is replacing items in my home with Eco Friendly items. Changing bulbs to LED bulbs, recycling more fervently, and finally using eco friendly cleaners! I have been recently shopping on the and have found tons of items to help me shop green!

  95. LOVE LOVE love the tips!

    Shayna!!! just went to the and they have so many eco friendly products. I bought a cleaning kit and two eco lunchboxes for my twins. (they always have to have the same thing.)

    From another ecofriendly shopper to another THANK YOU!

  96. It is my great pleasure to greet all of you inside this blog. Thank you for sharing

  97. There are some awesome tips both in the original post and in the comments. I’d like to add a suggestion to check out eco friendly fundraisers. They are a simple way to not only green your own home, but also share the green message with other families as well.

  98. If you are an organic gardener, note that the new compostable packages like the Frito-lay SunChip bag should not be put in the compost pile. It is not organic and is made of a polyester derived from corn and other plants. These plants are grown with synthetic fertilizers and pesticides and are not organic.

  99. Composting is great for our garden. We spread out our beautiful black soil onto our garden in the spring and watch how lush and fruitful our yields are. We are able to grow our own organic veggies for the summer and… then we are able to keep all our hearty root vegetables in the garage for up to six months without the hefty price tag organic foods can command.

  100. I loved this article! Thank you for sharing all this great information.
    I’ve subscribed to your email, looking forward to learning more from you.

    I’ve also shared it with our readers at

    Cheers 🙂

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