ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Going green: Ten things you can do today to help save the environment

Updated on July 14, 2012

More and more people are finally getting wise to the importance of trying to protect the environment. While some poiticians are still trying to deny that climate change exists, scientists, and the rest of the educated population, are in little doubt. But just like the politicians, many of us don't want too much disruption to our daily lives or to our finances. Many of us are still struggling to find really simple strategies for "going green" that fit into our lifestyles and don't cost us any extra money.Here are ten easy ways to live a greener life, and some of them will even save you money.

BUY recycled goods.

More and more people are recycling but the demand for recycled goods is often low or non-existent. I live in an area which apparently has one of the most advanced recycling systems in the world. We recycle almost everything, but our recycling plant sometimes has difficulty selling recycled materials on to companies, even though the same companies may be cutting down trees and manufacturing new plastics to make their products. Whenever you have a purchase to make, check if the product is made from recycled materials. Make a point of buying recycled when it’s available and asking stores and companies for recycled goods if they don’t seem to be stocking or producing them. If enough of us do this we will slowly 'close the gap' between supply and demand.

Buy used.

E-bay and other auction sites are a great way to be green and save money. The same goes for flea markets, yard sales, charity shops, vintage/second-hand clothes shops and second-hand book stores. Every time you buy a used product you save the energy that would have been used in producing a new one. If you're new to buying second hand or think it's a bit 'icky' force yourself to give it a try. Once you find you can find perfectly functional stuff for a fraction of the price, you may just become an ebay addict. If you find a good support group for this particular addiction, I could use their number!

Invest in a re-usable shopping bag.

So simple, but it’s amazing how many people are still using plastic bags, or maybe asking for paper in the mistaken belief that that is the ‘greenest’ option. The best option is to buy a re-usable bag. They’re available in most stores for a dollar or less, or you can buy a string bag which has the added advantage that it will fold down small enough to fit in a purse or even a large pocket. If you need an extra incentive many stores are starting to charge for plastic bags. It may only be about 5 cents a bag but take a quick look at wherever you store your used bags and see how many there are. Can you imagine how much that's going to cost you over a year or so?


It’s a world-wide organisation allowing members to offer, and obtain, all kinds of items that would otherwise be thrown away. Log on to the website to find your local branch. You can give, and get, everything from used furniture to old building materials. A true testament to the fact that one man's junk really is someone else's treasure.

Walk, don’t drive.

OK, so we all need our cars (or do we - that's a whole article in itself) but it’s shocking how many car journeys cover a distance of a mile or even less. Distances that would amount to a pleasant 10-15 minute walk. It’s not unusual to see people driving from store entrance to store entrance on the same street, or even across a parking lot! People drive their kids to friends’ houses two blocks away or down the street to the school bus stop. Get into the habit of always thinking ‘could I walk it?’ before opening the car door. If you must drive, car pool when possible, slow down (a real simple way to save fuel) and don’t drive with accessories you don’t need - a roof rack, for example, can increase fuel consumption by up to 30 per cent.

Re-use, don’t recycle.

Recycling is great but it still uses up a lot of energy. If you can re-use things instead of recycling, that’s even better. Re-use gift wrap on another gift. Re-use junk mail and other printed paper as drawing paper or craft materials for kids. Re-use plastic food containers and glass jars for storage. Ask local schools and community groups if they can re-use containers for craft projects or storage.

Shower, don’t bath.Wish I could take my own advice on this one. I love a hot bath. It's an important part of my stress management system. But I know I should be showering instead. It uses up to 80 per cent less water and probably gets you cleaner!

Turn the thermostat down in winter, and up in summer.

It’s such a simple step, and that one or two degrees of difference really won't have a huge affect on your comfort level – you’ll just save energy. Set the heat lower at night or when no-one is home, and remember to turn it down ahead of bed-time or the time when the house will be empty. It takes at least an hour for your home to cool down.

Cut out drafts.

No matter how well insulated your home is there will be cold spots. Check for them at the beginning of winter and eliminate them with extra insulation or simple draft excluders. Draw drapes at dusk every night. Even double glazed windows can be an energy leak.

Use simple strategies to save energy when cooking.

Only boil the amount of water required, whether in a kettle or pot. Put lids on your pots whilst cooking to conserve energy. Use cloths not paper towels, and always allow food to cool thoroughly before putting it in a fridge or freezer.

If anybody has any real simple, no-brainer, "I could do that today with very little effort" tips on being green, please share in the comments.





    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      We need many more great hubs like this one. Too many of us are uninformed. I do everything I know to help the environment. There is so much to do and we each nust take responsibilityto help our planet in every way possible. Thanks for the hub - voted up!


    • Karen Banes profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Banes 

      7 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for commenting HikeGuy. Human power - I like it. The ultimate renewable resource, perhaps?

    • HikeGuy profile image


      7 years ago from Northern California Coast

      Good user-friendly suggestions. I use human power for many day to day tasks. I bicycle to do errands, walk instead of moving the car a few blocks when I drive, use a hand mower and hand tools for all my yard work.

    • Karen Banes profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Banes 

      7 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for stopping by Rebecca. If you're a newbie greenie these steps really are simple enough to start implementing straight away. And most of them save money as well as the planet!

    • Rebecca E. profile image

      Rebecca E. 

      7 years ago from Canada

      well done and informative, just starting to get into this idea.

    • midnightbliss profile image

      Haydee Anderson 

      8 years ago from Hermosa Beach

      though many campaigns had already been launched to inform people on how to conserve and preserve our resources there are still a lot who are unaware of what they can do to help reduce their carbon footprints and live the eco friendly way. more information should be needed. good thing, more and more companies are promoting reusables with their products.

    • Karen Banes profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Banes 

      8 years ago from Canada

      Thanks for commenting Sarah. I think the short answer is, people just don't think about the consequences of what they're doing. I love a simple statement my environmental science professor was fond of - There is no "away". Everything you throw "away" stays right here on the planet, in landfills and garbage dumps, unless or until it biodegrades. Really makes you think about the other possibilities before you throw anything "away".

    • profile image

      sarah dawkins 

      8 years ago

      Great hub, but are we really stating the obvious here? Why do people not recycle/reuse, turn down thermostats, drive when they could walk, not insulate their homes and not want to buy second hand items. Why is society so wasteful of resources? I fail to comprehend why anyone would think that not doing any of these is acceptable. Have we been brainwashed into believing that we are an affluent society that can afford to be so wasteful? what other reason could there be? Keep up the good work. Education is really the key. Thanks

    • men are dorks profile image

      men are dorks 

      9 years ago from Namibia

      Weare killing ourselves, slowly but surely...


    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)