The protein serine/threonine phosphatase protein phosphatase-1 (PP1) is a ubiquitous eukaryotic enzyme that regulates a variety of cellular processes through the dephosphorylation of dozens of substrates. This multifunctionality of PP1 relies on its association with a host of function-specific targetting and substrate-specifying proteins. In this review we discuss how PP1 affects the biochemistry and physiology of eukaryotic cells. The picture of PP1 that emerges from this analysis is that of a "green" enzyme that promotes the rational use of energy, the recycling of protein factors, and a reversal of the cell to a basal and/or energy-conserving state. Thus PP1 promotes a shift to the more energy-efficient fuels when nutrients are abundant and stimulates the storage of energy in the form of glycogen. PP1 also enables the relaxation of actomyosin fibers, the return to basal patterns of protein synthesis, and the recycling of transcription and splicing factors. In addition, PP1 plays a key role in the recovery from stress but promotes apoptosis when cells are damaged beyond repair. Furthermore, PP1 downregulates ion pumps and transporters in various tissues and ion channels that are involved in the excitation of neurons. Finally, PP1 promotes the exit from mitosis and maintains cells in the G1 or G2 phases of the cell cycle.