1. Consider the amount of wasteful packaging on certain products – my children were enamored with the “Grab and Go” snack containers at 7-11. The amount of plastic used for the simple purpose of packageing chese doodles is ridiculous. This prompted a useful discussion; I am not convinced that they are completely sold, but at least the lure of pretty packaging will make them think twice.
2. Turn off your lights, and encourage the same practice at work. By the way, does anyone know why so many highrise buildings burn brightly at 3 am?
3. Consider keeping the thermostats high (or low, depending on the seasons) when the house is not in use, or in rooms that aren’t routinely used.
4. Reconsider what the lawn service is dumping on your yard and ask questions: what does it do, is there a good environmentally sound alternative? And, reconsider your relationship with your grass: does it really have to look like a green carpet? Aren’t some of those so-called weeds green and pretty?
5. We are now washing more and more with cold water. The clothes still get clean, and our hot water is reserved for showers. In addition, biodegradable detergents are just as effective as our old favorites.
A disclaimer: our household is hardly the posterchild for environmental stewardship. We drive too much, our house requires more resources than it should and some of our practices are hardly environmentally sound. However, the focus should be on what we are doing to make a difference and to make a point of increasing efforts all the time.