Banana peels never see the inside of a trash can in Laura Britt's Austin, Texas, house. Nor do crumpled-up paper, wilting flowers, or Cheerios that 2-year-old Ethan sometimes spikes on the kitchen floor. All this stuff and more gets chucked in the family compost bin that sits by the back door between the porch and a black 1973 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia convertible-- another thing Laura won't ever let go to waste. "You don't have to build solar panels on your house or collect rainwater to live Green," says Laura. "You can take small steps. Buy low-VOC paint, throw your leftovers in a compost bin, and choose high-quality natural materials that last longer and are better investments."
The way Laura sees it, one of the easiest ways to adopt a Green lifestyle is to cut down on what you throw away, to resist the urge to bring home cheap, disposable stuff that'll probably end up in a landfill in a year. The city of Austin backs her up on this one. In Laura's neighborhood, each household is allowed to fill one garbage bin a week. If you go over that, you're obliged to put a sticker on your spillover and pay more for the pickup.