Inconvenient family living: Reduce your trash

This is the first in a series of columns on how to help your family live greener -- and cheaper in the bargain. Check back each week for a new topic.

Is it possible to live more lightly on the Earth after starting a family? Yes it is. Is it easy to go greener with kids? Well... let's just call it inconvenient.

Living greener, trying to leave a smaller footprint, comes into ever-sharper focus when you start your family. How many children will you have? What will they wear, play with, sleep on, eat? What will you teach them? How will you ensure that, when we further our species, we're not also hastening the destruction of our ecosystem?

Big questions, and worthy of making an effort. That's why I came up with a 12-step plan to live greener and cheaper ... along with my family of three small boys and an occasionally-reluctant husband.

Let's take a look at the first step. It's a biggie. And with kids, it also takes some determined effort: Reduce your trash.