The trick for me, when trying to figure out how to be more “green” and eco-friendly, is balancing convenience and effectiveness with green-ness. Take dishwasher detergent, for example. I haven’t been a fan of powder dishwasher detergent because it isn’t very effective (at least, it didn’t used to be when I tried it years ago) and the gel stuff worked better. So I’ve been buying gel dishwasher detergent for years. But I hate that it comes in big plastic bottles, very wasteful. Plastic is just evil, evil stuff, in my opinion.
Poking around the net, I’ve found a recipe for powder dishwasher detergent you make yourself. It’s pretty easy, just mix up four readily available and cheap ingredients, and voila! Dishwasher detergent that’s cheap and eco-friendly. I’ll be testing it out to see if it actually works. If it does, then yay! I’ll make the switch.
I’ve tried using a variety of eco-friendly cleaners for my shower. Despite what they claim, none of them really work on soap scum without excessive amounts of scrubbing – the same amount needed if I’d used nothing at all, really. So, it’s Scrubbing Bubbles for me, even though that’s not the “greenest” choice. It does come in a metal can, so there’s that at least. It’s recyclable.
Hot water and white vinegar is effective on my hardwood floors, so no need to use special cleansers in plastic bottles. A couple drops of peppermint essential oil helps with the vinegar smell, which isn’t my favorite.
I mixed up a batch of laundry detergent using my handmade soap. So far I’ve only used it on non-clothing items like throw rugs and towels, but it seems to work pretty good.
This page has other helpful ideas. Some have been effective, others not so much (bathtub shower… see above, lol).