Replace burnt out light bulbs with energy-efficient ones and invest in proper insulation, especially if you have an older home. These inexpensive tactics will not only lower your environmental impact, but they will also immediately reduce your electric bill.
Don't just turn appliances off, get them off the grid. Even when appliances are turned off, if they are still plugged into a live socket, they are still pulling energy off the grid. When possible, unplug appliances that are not in use. In some instances a power strip with a master on/off switch can prove more convenient.
Invest in a solar powered charger for your cell phone and other mobile devices.
During the summer, consider hanging clothes outside to dry. It's easy, inexpensive and is surprising relaxing.
Start composting your kitchen scraps. The Bokashi compost system makes it fast, easy and considerably less smelly to compost in the home. You can learn more about kitchen composting in our previous post about composting.
Donate your old clothes and household items. Instead of creating waste, you will be helping others.
Be smart about water usage. Turn off the faucet when you brush your teeth and shave. Install a low-flow shower head in your shower. (If you tried one in the past and found the pressure unsatisfactory, I recommend giving them a second try. The technology has come a long way.) Scrape scraps off dishes into the garbage or compost bucket before rinsing them. If your faucet does not have an aerator (the wire mesh filter), it is easy and inexpensive to install one. (These little contraptions can reduce your water flow by 50% without negatively impacting water pressure!) If you do not have high-efficiency toilets, consider this low-cost alternative: rocks in a plastic bottle. Just place a water bottle filled with pebbles into the tank and you will substantially decrease your water usage.
Use eco-friendly cleaning products in the home. Biologically driven cleaning agents such as EM-1 Effective Microorganisms uses microbial innoculants to break down unwanted compounds, rather than harsh chemicals. This not only reduces chemical run-off in our ground water, but it also protects your family and pets from excessive exposure to toxic chemicals which can lead to chemical sensitivities and other health issues.
If you arrive at the grocery store without your reusable shopping bag (and who hasn't?), simply find a secondary use for the plastic shopping bags in some other facet of your life. For example, my family uses plastic grocery bags for picking up after the dog on walks and disposing of our cats' litter. If you cannot find a good secondary use for your plastic bags, many grocery stores have recycle bins... just bring them along the next time you go shopping.
Commit to using fewer disposable things in the home. If you use disposable paper towels, cups, cutlery or razors, reconsider. Likewise, filtering and filling your own water bottles saves a tremendous amount of waste.