If you could choose one thing that is most important to do in order to save the environment, it would be cutting down on the amount of waste generated by your own household. While cutting down on the amount of wastes generated by businesses and other facilities is of course important, a huge amount of household waste is generated by ordinary consumers, and cutting down on that waste is a great way to save money while helping the environment at the same time.

One easy way to cut down on the production of household waste is to recycle the disposable silverware often used at summer picnics and cookouts. These plastic knives, spoons and forks can easily be gathered and reused many times. Simply providing a handy bin for guests to recycle their plastic tableware is a great way to keep those items out of the landfill and to keep you from having to buy a new set before the next picnic.

Buying items in bulk is another way to cut down on waste. A great deal of household waste consists of the packaging of cereal, cookies, crackers, pastas and other staple items. If you can buy in bulk, you can reduce the amount of packaging, and thus the amount of waste. The large number of warehouse clubs and similar stores make bulk buying easier, and more affordable, to many families, and the price of these bulk items is often quite a bit cheaper than traditional items in the grocery store.

Buying items that are durable and made to last is another great way to save money and reduce the amount of items your household throws away. Buying items that are well made and built to last will reduce your overall costs, even if the higher quality item costs a bit more to buy in the first place.

All these items are known as source reduction. Source reduction is simply a fancy term for making choices that help to reduce the amount of waste generated. Things like buying durable items, learning to mend and repair items, and buying bulk and lightly packaged products are all forms of source reduction, and this practice can make a lot of sense, both in terms of family economics and in terms of a healthier and cleaner environment.

Looking Toward the Star for an Energy Efficient Home

You’ve undoubtedly noticed the ENERGY STAR® product label on many household items while out shopping. Washing machines and dryers, refrigerators and air conditioners are just some of the appliances that are rated by the US Environmental Protection Agency to promote energy efficient products and an energy efficient home.

However, there are also many other energy-efficient electrical items and appliances that you might not be aware of and could want or need. Things like residential lighting fixtures, even computer equipment and other home electronics are now rated for their electrical efficiency. There is even a website, energyguide.com, that can assist you in finding out ways to give you an energy efficient home!

General maintenance and cleaning of your household applicances can also assist in keeping your electrical costs down while helping the appliance to continue to run efficiently. Make sure to unplug any item you intend to work on before starting. Also, make sure there is no water on or around the area and that your hands and any exposed skin is not wet either. After you have unplugged an appliance for cleaning or maintenance, it is a good time to check for frayed or damaged cords. If you find a problem, stop what you are doing until you can have it checked by a qualified repair person. However, if all is well with the plugs, go ahead and clean away. Take care not to get any moisture through into electrical parts and do not immerse any appliances or parts in water unless the label states that it is immersible.

Please utilize these tips and also seek out other ways to not only lower your energy costs, but at the same time, conserve our natural resources and help protect the environment.

Author's Bio: 

This article was compiled by the editors at SelfGrowth.com, the number one self improvement resource on the Web. For more quality self improvement content, please visit http://www.selfgrowth.com.