Save green by going green

August 24, 2008|By Tricia Bishop | Tricia Bishop,

The environment finally has its day in the sun.

While climate concerns have been mounting for some time, this past year's rising gas prices and their domino effect on other costs have kick-started the effort to go green.

More people are rallying around recycling, biking to work and calling on corporations to cut waste. According to a study commissioned this year by Havas Media, 79 percent of consumers worldwide would rather buy from eco-friendly companies. And 89 percent of shoppers plan to get even greener as the year passes.

In response, Toyota is shutting down truck production at one of its plants to focus on making more fuel-efficient Priuses. Whole Foods Markets have cut plastic bags from their grocery stores. Wal-Mart has hired a "sustainability officer" to oversee eco-friendly efforts. PNC Bank has trademarked the term "Green Branch" to describe its 40 or so environmentally conscious banks.

And this month's Virgin Festival music blowout even featured eco-friendly cups made of corn.

"A movement is really building around it," said Alice McKeown, a research associate with The Worldwatch Institute in Washington.

Climate concerns have led some to spend thousands to change their ways, buying pricey new energy-efficient appliances, solar panels, scooters and even the occasional windmill.

But you don't have to spend a lot of green to go green.

In fact, changing a few habits, and maybe a few light bulbs, can save you money.

Here are some things you can do to put thousands of dollars back in your pockets while doing your part to preserve the planet.

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