I wouldn't say that I'm particularly "green." It's not that I don't want to be... I do what I can, but I haven't made the commitment just yet to reduce as much waste as I can. The best motivation for me, however, has been finding things that are an inexpensive alternative. I've been using homemade laundry detergent for a while (except for a brief run of laziness where I didn't want to run to the only store around here that sells washing soda) and I love it. I hate lugging home bottles and it's cheap. Then I ran out of fabric softener the other day and decided to research homemade fabric softener. Here's what I found:
The Recipe from http://www.ehow.com/how_2331685_homemade-fabric-softener.html
1 c baking soda
1 c hot water
6 c distilled white vinegar
6 c water
Get a bucket... I used my mop bucket. Pour in your baking soda and hot water. Don't worry about it dissolving completely.
Go get the kids.... they'll LOVE the next part.
Pour in the vinegar and enjoy the science project portion of the program. (this is why you need a big bucket)
Once the fizzing stops, stir to make sure all the baking soda is dissolved. Add the rest of the water.
It makes a gallon (you can, of course, half the recipe to make less if you want). I happened to have two empty fabric softener bottles and it filled them up, plus the amount I splashed down the drain trying to fill them without a funnel. It says to use 1 cup per load, but I just fill the dispenser on my machine to the top.
I used it on Bill's funky mechanic uniforms and they smelled very clean after. He, of course, had to joke about me douching his clothes, so it's entertainment for the mister as well as the kids!
If you don't have a fabric softener dispenser in your machine, or you prefer dryer sheets, this is what you do...
Go to the store and buy a package of cheap sponges. Soak them in your fabric softener (homemade or otherwise) and throw one in the dryer with your clothes. They're reusable too!
You can find recipes for homemade laundry detergent all over the place. I have one bit of advice... a really popular one calls for Fels Naptha soap. I don't even know what that is or where to get it. Just buy a bar of soap, whatever smells best to you. Works just fine. We use Ivory.