There are lots of more labor-intensive ways to go green and reduce your household carbon footprint, but perhaps the easiest way to reduce is to, ummm, just use less.
This may sound so obvious that it's not worth discussing, but even I need reminding sometimes that a little less will still get the job done.
The companies that bottle the products we use would love for use to use more than we need -- that just means they get to sell more! A few months back, I had to buy some laundry detergent (I had some particularly foul athletic gear that needed a scented soap). I was reading the directions and saw that I should fill to Line 1 of the cap for a regular load and Line 2 for a large or heavily-soiled load. So, what the heck was Line 3 for? It's like they were trying to fool me into using more than is necessary to get the job done. ;)
And, what about shampoo? Or hand soap? Or anything else that we pump or pour. I tried to limit myself to single pump of the shampoo bottle, but it just felt weird. We're a two or three pump society, at least.
So, how can we overcome the tendency to use more than is necessary? At our house, we like to water things down. Ever looked at the ingredient list on your shampoo, soap, conditioner, detergent, etc.? The first ingredient is most likely water. So, what's a little more? I promise you, your hair/skin/clothes will still get clean, and you'll still get to do the double-pump, like you're used to.
When I buy John new face wash (pictured at right above), I pour about half of it into the old, empty bottle and fill both bottles the rest of the way with water. Guess what? The face wash still gets the job done. And, I've gotten two bottles for the price of one!
What are some other simple ways to reduce our use of household and cleaning products?