5 Surprising ways to go green

Mar 24, 2010 at 10:53 a.m. ET

Reusable grocery totes, recycled newspapers... With so many ways to help save the planet, are you doing your part? Go beyond common (but still important!) ways to go green and discover some unexpected ways to be kind to Mother Earth.

Woman painting with organic milk paint

Take a step in the right direction

Eco-friendly footwear is responsible (and super-trendy!).

Simple Shoes -- This sustainable footwear is created from recycled carpet padding, car tires, wool and hemp, certified organic cotton, and eco-certified suede and leather.

NFINITY -- This performance footwear for the female athlete is vegan and eco-friendly: No leather or animal by-products and no PVC.

OKA b. -- Wear out these eco-friendly and recyclable flip flops, then send them back to the Atlanta factory to be turned into new shoes. It's the OKA b. circle of life!

NIKE Reuse-A-Shoe Program -- When your workouts wear out your kicks, send them to a Nike recycling center. The old shoes are transformed into Nike Grind, a material used in creating athletic and playground surfaces.

Fix up without breaking down the environment

It's possible to do home improvements without adding to overflowing landfills:

Diggerslist.com -- Here's a free online solution to keep construction waste out of landfills. Excess materials used by building and deconstruction contractors (and Habitat for Humanity) are sold for pennies on the dollar. Recirculated goods get a second life, and you get a sweet discount!

SafePaint -- Paint your walls with milk! A breakthrough new formula offers a green alternative to toxic, chemically based paints. The Old Fashioned Milk Paint Co., Inc. uses ancient technology -- think early cave paintings -- to solve a modern problem.

Keepin' it real in the Ladies' Room

Bathrooms should be waste receptacles, not waste generators:

HydroRight Dual Flush Converter-- Toilets are a large source of water consumption in the home. This toilet add-on uses up to 70 percent less water (and money). It takes only 10 minutes to install and requires no tools or tank removal.

PeopleTowels -- Take this reusable, fast-drying hand towel with you to use in public restrooms. Designed by "The Towel Ladies," this eco-conscious product cuts down on the use of paper towels and energy-devouring driers.

Sea Pearls Sea Sponge Tampons
-- An estimated 20 billion pads and tampons end up in landfills and sewage systems every year. Sea Pearls are a safe, sustainably harvested, economical alternative to single-use tampons. One set of Sea Pearls (Teenie, Regular or Large) can last up to a year.

Share your love of animals

Take care of man's best friends and the planet at the same time:

Cat Food Can Pledge -- Friskies and Fancy Feast are working to educate cat owners on the importance of recycling aluminum pet food cans. (Recycling one 3-ounce aluminum can creates enough energy to power a 60-watt lightbulb for two hours!) For every person who pledges to recycle pet food cans, Purina donates $1 to Keep America Beautiful.

Send a Butterfly -- Don't send just flowers; send a Butterfly Wish Bouquet. These beautiful flower arrangements arrive with living eco-friendly butterflies.

The Worm Factory 360 -- Save on garbage and water bills with a worm composting bin. Live worms divert food and paper scraps from the landfill and turn them into nutrient-rich compost in a self-contained, odor-free unit. The 100 percent post-consumer recycled plastic unit comes with bedding material and instructions. Just add worms!

Bling your way to a cleaner planet

Wear your environmental conscience around your neck:

Bottled Up Designs -- This jewelry is made from antique glass bottles reclaimed from dumps throughout the natural wooded habitats and rural farmlands of Pennsylvania Amish country. Each piece of glass jewelry is handmade by Reclaim Artist Laura Bergman and comes with The Story of Glass (on recycled card stock) detailing what the glass originally was and the age of the piece.

Turtle Love Co. -- These ecologically and socially responsible jewelry pieces are made from recycled materials.

Newspaper Jewelry -- This clever company fashions bracelets, brooches and earrings from recycled newspaper, sweetener packets, loser lottery tickets, guitar strings and more. Make a statement with a pair of cufflinks made from stock listings!