ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Go Green the Old Fashioned Way

Updated on January 16, 2012
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

Going old fashioned isn't just a statement. Environmentally conscious people can help save the planet by going back in time. No, time machines are not discussed here, unless tools from yesteryear count! Before the invention of the gas burning engine, men and women used muscle power to run their tools. Foot pedal sewing machines, crank beaters, and long handled gardening tools all made life easier while not polluting the planet.

Lawn and garden care is one place where even planet friendly individuals may find themselves at a loss on how to still care for their property without polluting. Electric trimmers and mowers have seen a boom in sales from people who have been convinced that electricity is cleaner than gas powered versions. While in theory this seems like a great idea- remember that electricity often comes from coal powered facilities. Unless the electricity powering the tools comes from an alternative source, such as solar or wind, the electric tool can still be responsible for pollution!

image via amazon
image via amazon

Tips for Going Green the Old Fashioned Way

Here are ideas to go green by using tools our grandparents used. Most of them take a little practice and energy but are inexpensive and easy to do.

Reel Mower

A Reel Mower can cut grass with no gas or electricity. Reel mowers are what people used before the invention of what is now thought of as a traditional lawn mower. Some refer to them as push mowers or people powered mowers. Unlike power mowers, reel mowers require little care, just blade sharpening and oil once or twice a season. There are large and small versions. Inventive types have mounted broken reel mowers to the front of a bicycle, creating a truly clean powered ride-on mower! Gorgeous, green lawns are never a problem with reel mowers. Power mowers tear grass, while reel movers trim it, much like scissors. The cut is clean, reducing browning.

Sling Trimmers

Sling trimmers are long handled blades used in place of a weed whacker. These are powered by, well, slinging the blade back and forth. Most useful for weed filled ditches and property lines.

Rain Barrel

A rain barrel is used by the side of a home to collect water from storms or showers in place of letting that water run off into sewers. Even in the country, run-off can cause problems by creating natural ditches in yards, washing away parts of lawns, and eroding foundations. Rain barrels can help eliminate these problems and give homeowners clean water for plants, large gardens, and bathing. Some people have created solar heated rain barrels that pipe rain water into their bathroom showers!

More Ideas for Green Living

There are others ways to go green, too!


Many people in the past had animals to feed their food scraps to. These days, not everyone has a pig in the backyard, though. For those who don't- try composting. While there are fancy compost bins for sale all over, all the really is needed is space. Food scraps, grass trimmings, leaves, and even cardboard can be composted by placing in a pile. Layer dirt, then compost material, then more dirt. As the pile grows, turn it with a pitchfork or shovel to aerate. Never add meat! It will smell and draw scavengers. For faster composting, earthworms can be introduced to the pile.

Use Your Property Wisely

Use the front lawn as a garden. Some towns have laws against this, so anyone interested in growing tomatoes instead of pansies should check local laws. If vegetable gardens are not allowed in the front yard, native wildflower gardens most likely are. Local agriculture agencies can offer information on what is native to an area, then may be able to help find seeds or seedlings to plant in the wildflower garden. This type of garden helps native insects, native animals, and can re-establish native plant species that are being threatened by building or invasive species.

Another thought is edible flowers. Many, like pansies, violets, and lavender, are edible when unsprayed.

Simple changes in routines and tools can have a huge impact on the Earth, saving it for future generations to enjoy.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • MemphisYankee profile image


      6 years ago from Tennessee

      Any recommendations for compost bins? A link to a product or a hub on building your own would be great! Thanks!

    • fancifulashley profile image


      6 years ago

      I LOVE this hub! Very informative and useful. I have been wondering if they still sold reel mowers these days.

    • BWD316 profile image

      Brian Dooling 

      6 years ago from Connecticut

      great ideas! i've always want an old fashion people powered lawn mower and if i ever have a yard with grass i want one of those, its great for the environment and your wallet! Also like the rain barrel idea and the alternative yard usage, i've written about similar ideas! voted up!

    • Jennifer profile image


      9 years ago

      I like this hub! Great ideas.

    • Smireles profile image

      Sandra Mireles 

      9 years ago from Texas

      Very nice hub. You have some great suggestions for green living. Thanks.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)