Here are my simplest suggestions as a way to start. Carry a reusable shopping bag and if you must, get a paper grocery bag. Use dishrags and sponges for cleaning the kitchen rather than paper towels. Carry a refillable bottle and ask for tap water instead of buying bottled water. Don’t use disposable silverware or paper napkins, even for parties. Start shopping first at stores that carry used goods. Find out if any grocery stores near you accept compost or look into how you can compost yourself if you have a garden.
Some suggestions from Edward Humes’ book, Garbology:
1. Refuse. Say no to unwanted mail, paper bills, and promotional items.
2. Remember that things that last longer may end up being cheaper in the long run, even if the initial price is higher. You won’t need to throw it out and replace it. For example, better made clothes can be washed and rewashed many times over.
Some suggestion from Garbology, based on Bea Johnson: (This is her blog: http://zerowastehome.blogspot.com/p/about.html)
1. Buy in bulk. It reduces packaging.
2. Refill wine bottles at local events (if you have them).
3. Make your own multipurpose cleaner with vinegar, water and castile soap.
4. Use handkerchiefs instead of paper tissues.
5. When packing a lunch, wrap sandwiches and other food in a cloth napkin.
6. Only recycle paper after both sides have been used.