Do This, Not That! 20 Green Tips

You might remember earlier in the year that I made the resolution to use reusuable grocery bags instead of plastic and I'm happy to say that I have been sticking with it. I was amazed at how fun and easy it was to be a little greener in my day-to-day life. I'm hardly "granola," but using reusable bags was an easy lifestyle change for me, which is why I started seeking the advice from experts and enthusiasts for 20 other simple tips that can be made to help the environment without having to turn to a solar powered condo and shelling out the big bucks for a hybrid, etc.

The Do This and Not That Green List a.k.a. the greener of two evils:

Use rechargeable batteries instead of single-use or alkaline batteries--good for your wallet and the environment (read more at

2. Use dimmable lights instead of regular light switches--when you dim a light, you lower the amount of energy flowing to that light bulb (read more at

3. Use cloth napkins instead of paper – looks better, feels better and can go in the laundry with your other stuff. Always get darker colors so you can use them longer (

4. Use natural table d├ęcor instead of buying something new for each occasion. Take your kids out for a walk. Pick up all sorts of natural items—leaves, rocks, pinecones. Come home and arrange in glasses. (

5. Buy local produce instead of items that need to be shipped from afar

6. Buy recycled golf balls and you can reduce the demand and production of new balls plus you save up to 50% on the price (

7. Download music online instead of buying music on CDs ( Sweet, I already do this!

8. Wash clothes in cold water with detergent formulated for cold water washing. You'll save carbon emissions and money by not using heated water (

9. Pack your child’s lunch in reusable containers instead of using a disposable paper bag and plastic baggies each school day (

Eat a vegetarian meal once a week instead of meat. A vegetarian meal requires significantly less greenhouse gas emissions to produce, and is a healthy alternative to add to your diet (

11. Unplug your cell phone charger when phone isn’t charging (

12. Use “organic” eco-friendly skin care products instead of skin care products with man-made chemicals that deposit harmful toxic residue in your body and the environment (

13. Go for a walk outside instead of on a treadmill (The Non-Consumer Advocate)

When brushing teeth. Wet the toothbrush with a small trickle of water, and then turn the water off! Turn it back on to rinse the toothpaste off the brush at the end. A family of four could save hundreds of gallons every month just from this simple trick and not keeping the water running (

Park your car and go into a fast food restaurant or bank instead of sitting with your car idling in the drive through line (

Replace an old-style picture tube TV or projection TV with a new flat-screen HDTV plasma that is Energy Star rated. You can cut your TV energy use by a third and get better picture quality, a sexy flat screen, and a bigger picture too (

17. Use an Energy-Star dishwasher rather than handwash your dishes. By using an approved dishwasher, you use half as much energy as washing by hand, and use nearly 5,000 gallons less water per year, compared to washing dishes by hand (Whirlpool)

18. Don’t use disposable coffee or tea stirrers, instead pour milk and sugar in first and then add your drink. And even better, use a mug instead of a disposable cup (

19. Light candles, open windows instead of using canned air freshener (

20. Read blogs and online news sites instead of newspapers! wink, wink, nudge, nudge (Me!)


  1. So if I dont get a big plasma screen T.V. I would be killing mother earth? Sold!!

  2. A lot of them I already do but was surprised about the part about dishwashers being more envir. friendly.

  3. Meghan, seems like only if done right and loading the washer fully. I do waste a lot of water when I hand wash my dishes otherwise.

  4. Hi Meghan - I work with Whirlpool and here is more information about the dishwasher statistic.

  5. I'm pretty good with most of the things on this list. My biggest challenge, believe it or not, is the toothbrushing and water conservation. I've been working on it though.

    And I'd be more than thrilled to use a modern, energy saving dishwasher, but sadly, as an apartment dweller, no dishwasher for us (unless it goes by the name of Kat).

  6. Thanks for the link.

    Perhaps I'll try a tip or two from the list.

    But the plasma screen TV tip? Nice try.

    It's better to stick with a television that's already been manufactured than go buy a brand new one.

    How much energy will you burn to make the money to be able to buy a brand new plasma screen TV?

    Katy Wolk-Stanley
    The Non-Consumer Advocate

  7. Informative post! I recently switched to rechargeable batteries for my mp3 player and love them. Now you've inspired me to get out those cloth napkins.

    One little thing -- I've heard that LCD TVs use about half the power of plasma ones, so if your old TV breaks, LCD might be a good option.

  8. Niagara Conservation has some great tips up at our Web site, We tried to send them to you but we didn't get to you in time! Thanks for inviting us to submit a comment instead. Small things like turning the water off while you brush your teeth and making sure to get leaky faucets fixed can make a big difference!

  9. Great ideas! It's nice to see so many of them in one list. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Wow, that's a great list - I guess it should have been obvious, but I never thought about the drive through one before. Thanks!

  11. Thank you for sharing these great tips! I feel that china sourcing is a good way to be a little greener. Let them do what their resources allow and save our work for what our resources allow so everyone is taken care of with what America can offer. That way everyone is taken care of!

  12. Absolutely right, I do agree with your post. By the way recently I joined a newspaper as a correspondent. I need to write article on Top Workplaces in Pittsburgh. There are so many companies in Pittsburgh which give job satisfaction & growth opportunities to their employee like Cochran, ACHIEVA, ACTION-Housing, Inc. Key Environmental Inc . & Graybar Electric Co. Do you guys have any idea about these companies? I will appreciate your view.