Buy in Bulk.
If you're looking to make a change with an immediate and substantial impact on both your budget and the environment, buy your groceries in bulk. If you just want to dip your toes into greener living, start by switching from individually packaged items like yogurt and oatmeal to large containers. If you pack lunches for your kids, use a Thermos or other reusable container for portions.
Hardcore bulk shoppers such as Bea Johnson from The Zero Waste Home take bulk buying to the next level. Bea brings her own glass jars to the deli counter to fill with meats and cheeses. Pillowcases receive freshly baked bread loaves, which are taken home and put directly into the freezer. By choosing groceries without excess (or in some cases, any) packaging, you'll trim your grocery bill and cut back significantly on the waste your family produces.
Eating local requires no sacrifice. Who wants to eat produce picked days or weeks earlier, then packed on a truck or plane and shipped hundreds of miles anyway? Eating local can mean buying fresh fruits, vegetables, eggs and bread at a nearby farmer's market, or signing up for a share in a local farm through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Eating freshly picked organic produce means healthier and tastier food for you and your family. It also cuts down on the energy and pollution involved in shipping food over long distances. Visit localharvest.org to find a CSA in your area.
If you want to eat uberlocal, plant an edible garden in your own backyard. By planting some green, you can save some serious green. One tomato plant can yield 10 pounds of fruit easily over the season. That's about $30 of tomatoes for a $3 investment. Get the whole family involved in the planting and care of your home farm, and the kid who once looked at you like you were trying to poison him with peas will probably be popping pods in his mouth right off the vine.
Make your own natural cleaners.
The chemicals in some household cleaning products are no friends to the environment. Take a look at the ingredients in your laundry detergent or counter spray: Chances are you'll want to swap your sprays for natural solutions you can make yourself. Most homemade cleaner recipes use low-cost ingredients such as baking soda, white vinegar, borax and castile soap. Not only will you be helping the environment, but you'll be cutting down on your expenses, too.
Make your own eco-friendly cleaning products>>
More on green living
10 Ways to green your kitchen
Eco-friendly low energy kitchen tools
10 Simple ways to save energy in your home