<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Green News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/green http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.com en-us Thu, 21 Aug 2014 11:10:53 -0700 Thu, 21 Aug 2014 11:10:53 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Stunning Historic Photos of Air Pollution ]]> Tue, 25 Mar 2014 09:36:12 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/air-pollution-AP7004221649_7.jpg Click to see some fascinating images of air pollution throughout the US from the 1920s to the 1970s.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[California Drivers Use Fuel Made From Trash]]> Tue, 14 Jan 2014 12:07:18 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/toppix-23.jpg

An innovative new fuel is now available here in Southern California.  It’s clean, cheap, and made from an unlikely source -- trash.

Trash that is thrown away generates pollution as it decomposes, releasing tons of methane gas into the atmosphere.  Cars also spew out soot and smog that pollute the air.

Now, a Southern California company has figured out a way of capturing methane that escapes from landfills and farms, and turning it into clean fuel. 

Harrison Clay, President and CEO of Clean Energy Renewable Fuels, explained how the science-fiction-turned-reality is done.

"At landfills we drill holes and wells into the landfill, we drop in slotted pipes and we vacuum and we pull the gas that’s being produced within that landfill," Clay said. "We pull that gas out and then we process it until it’s pipeline quality, which means it’s the same as what comes out of your stovetop and what you cook your food with probably every night."

This renewable gas -- called Redeem -- is heavy-duty.  It can power 18-wheelers and any natural gas vehicle.

Hugo Gonzalez fills up his trucks with Redeem near the Port of Long Beach. He is a manager for Lily Transportation.  His company invested in eight trucks that can run on natural gas.

"Fuel is one of the main costs, one of the biggest costs that we have, and switching over to CNG has saved us probably $40,000 a year," Gonzalez said.

That saving comes because Redeem is about a dollar less per gallon than diesel, thanks to state and federal clean air incentives.

California has imposed strict regulations to help reduce carbon emissions by the year 2020. Redeem burns 90 percent cleaner than conventional gasoline when used to power cars and trucks.

"You could see the difference. When you turn the truck on, you don’t see anything, you don’t smell anything.  You smell a very light scent of gas, but other than that you don’t see black smoke, you don’t see anything.  Not even when you start, when you take off from the truck," Gonzalez said.

Redeem is now being sold at some 35 clean energy stations in California – thousands of cars, shuttles and commercial  fleets are running on the fuel now.  Last year, 15 million gallons were sold, which in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, is equivalent to taking 30,000 passenger cars off the road, according to Clay.

"The largest biomethane fueling operation in the world -- and something that we expect to double, triple, quadruple in terms of volume in the coming years," Clay said.



Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS]]>
<![CDATA[Green Car Wash Sanitizes Without Soap]]> Mon, 05 Aug 2013 10:37:08 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/128401773.jpg A car wash in Arizona installed a water filtration tank allowing high levels of oxygen to sanitize the water they use to clean customers' cars — all without soap. An environmental engineer at Arizona State University is skeptical about the car wash's filtration system.]]> <![CDATA[Energy for Sale: Is It Worth It?]]> Wed, 17 Jul 2013 10:58:12 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000003170932_722x406_37270083593.jpg Door-to-door salesmen, telephone calls and direct mail, all trying to sell you electricity or natural gas. The pitches promise to save you money. They are called alternative energy suppliers. There have been more than 1,000 consumer complaints about them to Maryland and D.C. authorities so far this year, and we've been receiving emails asking whether these companies are real and are the deals worth it. CLICK HERE for a list of legitimate suppliers.]]> <![CDATA[State-of-the-Art Green Workplace Provides Lunch, Games and Slides]]> Wed, 01 May 2013 12:13:33 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Slide_aweber.jpg AWeber Communications headquarters in Chalfont, Bucks County, Pa. isn't your average workplace as it features video games, a pool table and even slides. NBC10's Jesse Gary reports ahead of the ribbon cutting.
Click here for information on jobs

Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Junkyard Trash Turns to Art]]> Thu, 25 Apr 2013 10:42:18 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*120/ben+in+trash.JPG With his castoff treasures rattling in the cart, Ben Cowden wheeled back toward his art studio in San Francisco's Recology Recycling Plant to continue work. Joe Rosato Jr. reports on a man who turns others trash into treasure. Read the full story here.

Photo Credit: Joe Rosato Jr.]]>
<![CDATA[Cemetery for Green-Friendly Burials]]> Tue, 23 Apr 2013 08:17:32 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/meadow.jpg A cemetery in Lehigh Valley, Philadelphia, has become environmentally friendly for burials.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Baxter Brewing Company Goes Green]]> Wed, 24 Apr 2013 11:49:39 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/baxter-brewing.jpg Luke Livingston, president and founder of Baxter Brewing Company, talks about ways in which he is expanding his business sustainably, with the help of John Rooks, president of The SOAP Group.]]> <![CDATA[San Juan Capistrano Courts Cliff Swallows]]> Tue, 19 Mar 2013 21:08:22 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/missioncliffswallow.jpg

As they do each year on March 19, hordes of people have flocked to San Juan Capistrano, necks craned hopefully to the sky.

They're eager to witness the annual return of the cliff swallows to the seaside city's historic mission after the birds' migration from South America.

But the swallows – the subject of a yearly celebration and a huge tourist attraction for the south Orange County city – haven't come around in recent years.

The mission is trying to change that, saying it's taken on a goal matching the title of a 1940 classic song associated with the city: "When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano."

Last year, cliff swallows expert Charles Brown, a biology professor at University of Tulsa, helped the Mission San Juan Capistrano install speakers that play a recording of the birds' courtship calls. The speakers are placed behind the statue of Father Junipero Serra, who founded the mission in 1776.

The mission began playing the sharp, squeaky vocalizations this year on March 1.

Listen: Recording of cliff swallows being played at Mission San Juan Capistrano

"I think that eventually we'll get them back," Brown told NBC News, speaking about the project. "It may not be this year; it may not even be next year. But if we keep trying long enough, some individuals will come by, they'll see the mission and they will realize that it's a good place to nest, as they did in the past."

Last year, a number of swallows flew in to investigate the sounds, and the birds were spotted feeding overhead. Still, they nested on nearby freeway overpasses – and as far away as a high school in Palm Desert. The birds also made a home at Xavier College Preparatory High School, nearly 100 miles east of San Juan Capistrano, in 2011.

In 2010, the birds flocked inland as well, to the Vellano Country Club in Chino Hills.

Yet each year, the birds are still expected to darken San Juan Capistrano skies on March 19, or St. Joseph's Day. The mission rings its historical bells, and hundreds of schoolchildren and tourists learn about the history of the grounds and, of course, the swallows.

This year, the city's 55th Annual Swallows' Day Parade, which attracts thousands of tourists, is on Saturday.

A number of changes have prompted the swallows to alter their centuries-long destination for spring and summer months, according to Brown.

The birds are attracted to grasslands and prairies – the kind of landscape that once surrounded the mission, he said.

The mission's Great Stone Church, itself likely appeared to swallows as a huge cliff – perfect for making mud nests, as shown above.

But now the mission is just one of many big structures in the urbanized area, and the birds have been known to nest elsewhere nearby – under freeway overpasses and the like – or go much farther away.

Surprisingly, the planting and growth of trees in the area has also contributed to the swallows' failure to return to the mission, Brown said. Swallows tend to avoid trees, preferring open spaces.

They birds have been seen in increasing numbers in Great Plains states, while coming in lower populations to Southern California, Brown said.

He said it's possible urbanization and the changing features of the region may affect the birds' possible return.

"Eventually, the Southern California landscape may be just inappropriate for this particular species," Brown said.

Related: Swallow study suggests link between shorter wingspan and reduced roadkill

At the same time, preservation work done in recent years to stabilize the church's crumbling walls required old swallows' nests to be removed. Bird sightings have been rare since.

Nonetheless, St. Joseph's Day and the idea of the swallows remain a big draw for tourists coming to Mission San Juan Capistrano, considered the "jewel" of the state's 21 Spanish colonial-era missions.

Rafael Gutierrez, the mission's bellringer and an employee for 47 years, said the day is about history, not just about hoping the swallows return.

"Siempre viene, no muchos, pero viene," he said, meaning "they always come, not many, but they come."

When they've come in past, the swallows are said to take flight again for their return to the Southern Hemisphere on the Day of San Juan, Oct. 23.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NBC4's Vikki Vargas contributed to this story. 



Photo Credit: Photograph courtesy of Mission San Juan Capistrano]]>
<![CDATA[LA High School Students Win $100K for River Project]]> Fri, 15 Mar 2013 15:38:34 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/SAM_04421.JPG

A group of Los Angeles high school students and their project on improving LA River water quality bested thousands of other schools nationwide, winning more than $100,000 in prizes.

Franklin High School teacher Jomel Villamil and his advanced placement environmental science students entered Samsung’s Solve For Tomorrow contest with a video about urban runoff and its contamination of the LA River.

“This project is to promote awareness for everyone that water is essential,” student Grace Punzalas, 17, said. “It could be an inspiration for everyone to conserve water and take care of our natural resources.”

The video ultimately received more than 80,000 online votes, making it the Community Choice Award winner.

“It’s a great feeling to have that support in your community, and whether it’s for a video or anything, you know they are there for you,” student Arnoldas Geidreitis, 16, said.

Villamil saw the contest while he was browsing online and said it was a “no-brainer” to get two of his classes -- about 60 students -- involved.

”I thought it was great we were going to participate in something like this, because the LA River’s water is not the best quality,” Geidreitis said. “It’s good we could put out this message to people to let them know what’s going on and how to change.”

The students installed basin catch screens in the river to collect trash and filter stormwater before it entered the aquifers. Their water tests showed high bacteria, nitrate and phosphate levels.

The students then pitched a three-step solution: to install and maintain catch basin screens to reduce trash and prevent entry of pollutants; contain, filter and reintroduce stormwater to recharge aquifers; and to educate their community on environmental sustainability.

“We’ve been doing water testing for years, so it’s already in the curriculum,” Villamil said. “We’ve been focusing on water quality, so why not submit our project for consideration?”

He was continuously surprised as the project soared to the top.

“Words can’t express how much gratitude I want to extend to the community,” Villamil said. “This honor belongs not just to Franklin but to every person who made us their favorite video.”

More than 1,600 schools entered the contest that kicked off in September, and 75 classrooms -- 25 each from the three categories of rural, suburban and urban -- were selected as semifinalists.

Those 75 semifinalists received Adobe editing software, a laptop and a Samsung camcorder to create videos to be voted on by a Samsung panel. The group was narrowed down to 15 finalists, who were guaranteed $40,000. The public then voted on the final 15 videos.

Franklin High School's victory was announced March 11.

The Solve For Tomorrow contest has awarded 150 schools a total of more than $3 million in technology since its creation in 2010 for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education.

“We’re really trying to make STEM fun for students by making it relatable in their community,” Solve for Tomorrow’s program manager Bree Falato said. “We hope we raise the enthusiasm level by bringing in the latest technology, and we hope it sparks an interest in learning.”

Samsung has been working on education outreach since 2004 and launched the Solve For Tomorrow contest in a partnership with DirecTV and Adobe in 2010.

The company asked the students, “How can STEM help improve the environment in your community?” Their response was award-winning.

The school will receive $100,000 worth of technology from Samsung, Adobe and DirecTV; a cash grant of $7,000 from DirecTV; and licensing for Adobe Premiere software.

Once awarded, the school has full discretion of how the prizes are used. The total package’s retail value is $110,000.

Villamil and two students will join four other winning schools at the award ceremony in Washington, D.C., on April 17.

“We would need political backing,” Villamil said of continuing the water filtering of the LA River. “This trip includes a trip to Capitol Hill, so maybe the two students who will go with me on the trip will push to get support for this.”

Geidreitis and Punzalas were set to accompany Villamil on the trip, but Punzalas will be competing in another science competition during that time. Villamil will select another student to bring in her place.



Photo Credit: Jomel Villamil]]>
<![CDATA[D.C. Has The Worst Traffic]]> Tue, 05 Feb 2013 08:49:47 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/traffic-4.jpg Washington, D.C. has the worst traffic congestion in the nation, according to a new report from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.]]> <![CDATA[Helium Shortage Threatens More Than Balloons]]> Fri, 25 May 2012 19:29:43 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/9752940_N5PPKGHELIUMSHORTAGE_722x406_20714285.jpg

It's peak season for balloon shops, but with a helium shortage, business is deflating.

Shawn Agheassi, owner of Elegant Balloon in Studio City, says he is losing customers daily, and that business is down 50 percent.

"I’m surviving right now, but struggling," Agheassi said.

Agheassi is struggling with a dwindling supply of helium globally -- a problem that's affecting medical suppliers, television manufacturers -- and party businesses.

"Years ago it was like $30 to $40 a bottle. Now it’s $168. Yes, a tank.  And I’m lucky if I get one or two,”  Agheassi said.

He says his helium suppliers are even getting out of the business.

"I was talking to the supplier and he was crying. He said, I have a million dollar business and I don’t know what to do. I don’t have helium to sell it," Agheassi said.

Helium is a natural byproduct of the decay of radioactive elements.

In 1996 Congress mandated that the federal government to sell off the gas from its underground reserve by the end of 2014. That's caused all sorts of problems

The problem is, now we are running out, possibly in eight years, and this ballooning crisis is affecting more than birthday parties and other celebrations. Helium is used in hospital MRI scanners and in flat-screen TVs.

And once it’s out—it’s out.

"Helium, like oil, is created by natural processes, but it’s a very slow process," physicist Gregg Harry said. "So whatever is in the ground now is pretty much all that's available."

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<![CDATA[Electric Motorcycles: The New Green Machines ]]> Thu, 19 Apr 2012 17:08:30 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Electric+Motorcycle+cropped.jpg

Motorcycles evoke images of loud engines, sputtering exhaust pipes, and rough riders.

The two-wheelers and their drivers are the last things you’d associate with the green movement, but a new bike is showing motorcycle enthusiasts that they no longer have to sacrifice performance for environmental efficiency.

"Everybody’s concern with electric vehicles is performance, range and also looks. Electric motorcycles are the coolest electric vehicles around and you can do 90 miles an hour, 114 miles on a charge,” said Harlan Flagg, owner of Hollywood Electrics a leading dealer of Zero Electric motorcycles.

Located in West Hollywood, Hollywood Electrics is a specialty store that sells a variety of two-wheeled electric bikes. Flagg and his business partner Josh Kearney are life-long riders, who are passionate about introducing the latest eco-friendly technology into the motorcycle community.
 
“For us it really is a lifestyle, we love these bikes. When a customer walks in our store, they recognize how much we believe in these products,” said Flagg.
 
Zero (as in zero emissions) motorcycles are made in Santa Cruz where the company is based. The 2012 line of Zero electric motorcycles provide the speed and range that had been lacking in the fledgling industry.
 
Hollywood Electrics have already sold more Zeros this year than the two previous years combined. 
 
“Every month that goes past we think oh we’ve sold all our bikes but people keep coming and coming so currently at the moment zero motorcycles is on backorder,” Kearney said.
 
The bikes retail between $7,000 and $14,000, which is about the same as a Harley Davidson. But with California’s $900 Clean Air rebate and hundreds of dollars a month in gas savings, Flagg says the bikes are a smart investment. 
 
“You never have to worry about maintenance; it costs you about a penny a mile in electricity to charge it up. So 10,000 miles, about $100 worth of electricity, you know you can’t really get around LA for cheaper than that,” Flagg said.
 
The bikes charge in any standard AC outlet and Hollywood Electrics will customize a bike to fit the rider’s needs or personal style. With no clutch to worry about Flagg and Kearney say the motorcycles are so simple to operate that you don’t have to be a seasoned rider to own one.
 
“60% of our new bike sales are going to riders who have never ridden in their entire life because the bike is so easy to utilize,” Kearney said.
 
Kearney and Flagg are so passionate about pioneering the electric bike revolution that they started a riding group called the Electric Cowboys. Made up of customers, they showcase their eco-friendly bikes throughout the streets of Los Angeles.
 
“We’re paving new roads and frontiers as a cowboy did in the old days and that’s what we’re trying to do now," Kearney said. We’re trying to show people that our electric steeds can do everything that a gas bike does.”

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Photo Credit: Electric Motorcycle]]>
<![CDATA[How to Be Earth Friendly Without Nagging]]> Wed, 18 Apr 2012 16:20:39 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/143072279.jpg Just because you like to recycle doesn't mean others do. How can you talk to people about their green habits without sounding like a nag? Watch how to be environmentally friendly without offending your friends! For more exclusive videos go to iVillage.com

Photo Credit: Getty Images/PhotoAlto]]>
<![CDATA[Earth Week: Complete Coverage]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 13:40:29 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/greenuniversal.jpg ]]> <![CDATA[Teaching Kids to Recycle]]> Wed, 11 Apr 2012 13:30:34 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/recyclekidsgreen_722x406_2221795961.jpg You may think that teaching your kids how to recycle is difficult, but it may be easier than you think. Turning disposable trash into reusable items is a great way to help the environment. iVoices Beth Engelman, Sharon Rowley, Amanda Rodriguez and Brandi Jeter sit down with Kelly Wallace to discuss ways to encourage kids to recycle. Find out what tips and tricks work to help kids reuse and reduce waste. For more exclusive videos like these go to iVillage.com]]> <![CDATA[Growing an Environmentally Green Garden]]> Fri, 30 Mar 2012 19:40:12 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/216*120/gardening+2.jpg

Water-wise gardening is becoming more than just a trend among the green thumbed. Experts say it is good for the environment, good for the pocketbook and easy on the eyes - creating a lush and lovely outdoor oasis.

"Drought tolerant plants don’t just mean cactus. There is a huge number of plants you can grow that don’t take a lot of water – like foliage plants, succulents, blooming flowers that don’t take a lot of water," said Julia Chai, senior garden editor of Sunset Magazine.

Chai touted Cordylines specifically, with their bright and thin fanning leaves.

“It’s got these arching leaves in a neon pink color,” she said, adding that cordylines also come in a vibrant green.

Another drought resistant plant, texas rangers, is covered with blooms for a long season, Chai said. But cautioned that even these water-wise plants aren't water-wise at first. They require more care until they develop deep roots.

"Think of it like a baby that needs a bit more attention," she said.

Potted plants are popular with many apartment dwellers and as an accent to gardens. Chai said potted plants need more attention than ground plants.

She advised using a container with holes for drainage, and loose potting soil which allows the water to flow more easily to the roots.

And how do you know when to stop watering a potted plant? When the water drains out the bottom.

Another trend – and a tasty trend at that – is the edible garden, which includes fruits, vegetables and herbs.

While edible plants have an obvious use, their aesthetic contributions should be overlooked, Chai said.

"Edibles can be really beautiful," she said. "They can be colorful and leafy; and you can get big fruit hanging from trees that add an ornamental aspect to the garden, as well.”

For more information on greener gardening, visit pottedstore.com.

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<![CDATA[Palm Rustlers Don't Pay a Dime for Damages]]> Fri, 01 Jun 2012 11:11:19 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/Palm+Rustlers+still+1.JPG

A local nonprofit slapped with a $450,000 lawsuit for removing palm trees from an LA freeway won’t have to pay a cent in damages, leaving taxpayers to foot the bill for repairs needed after the removal, NBC4 has learned.

The state agency Caltrans sued Global Trees, Inc. last October, accusing it of illegally digging up huge palms along the freeway worth $20,000 each, with the intention of reselling them for profit.

Global Trees contends that it received written approval from a Caltrans official for the removals and had not acted wrongfully.

In a settlement obtained by NBC4, Caltrans requires Global Trees to return the missing palms, but drops its demand for over $350,000 in monetary damages.

Residents of the area are furious at the decision by the agency to backpeddle on the financial penalty.

“Caltrans figured by getting the trees back, that would’ve been enough for the residents, but it’s not,” said Brent Greene, who witnessed and reported the removal of the palms to police last July.

Residents want to see Global Trees pay damages and be prosecuted.

Global Trees recently returned and replanted five 40 foot Canary Island Palms next to the freeway in mid-city LA, according to Caltrans.

But in its lawsuit, Caltrans also accused Global Trees of damaging the fence and irrigation system along the freeway, when it removed the palms last year. The suit demanded that Global Trees pay damages, in part to pay for repairs that came at public expense.

But the settlement, signed last week by both parties, does not contain any provision for such a payment from Global Trees.

Mike Miles, Caltrans District 7 Director, acknowledged that taxpayers wound up footing the bill to repair the fence and irrigation system allegedly damaged by Global Trees.

“It would have been difficult to recover that money" from Global Trees,” Miles said, because “it is a very small company.”

But residents say Caltrans may have had a different motive for settling the suit.

NBC4’s investigation found evidence that a Caltrans supervisor gave unofficial permission to Global Trees to take the huge palms.

“Had Caltrans pressed Global Trees for more money the nonprofit would’ve proven that Caltrans was involved in the removal of the trees,” said resident Brent Greene. "That would have made Caltrans look worse.”

Caltrans says the CHP is about to finish an 8-month criminal investigation into the disappearance of the trees, which will be sent to the Los Angeles County District Attorney.

“The people that took the trees should be prosecuted," Miles said. "They were stealing trees.” says 

Residents of the area want to see everyone involved be held accountable.

“We want to make sure that Global Trees gets prosecuted and any state employee that was a part of this too,” Greene said.

NBC repeatedly called Global Trees president, Kyle Olson, and his attorney, for comment. Neither returned our calls.

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<![CDATA[Q&A: "Greenie" Creates Market With a Twist]]> Tue, 31 Jan 2012 17:30:29 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/196*120/ranasabeh-1.jpg

Rana Sabeh has lived a green lifestyle for close to 10 years. But it wasn’t until the Huntington Beach resident was laid off from her job that she decided to make her lifestyle, her life’s work.

The 34-year-old launched Healthy Bargains, a discount natural products website, in 2010 with the goal of selling notoriously pricey green merchandise to people on a budget. However, when funding dwindled, she came up with an idea that could help promote and increase revenue to her business and others like it. Sabeh created the Orange County Green Market.

The OC Market works much like a farmers market, the only difference being that vendors are exclusively green business owners. The market is held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. the second Saturday of every month on the Irvine Valley College campus. Vendors promote and sell products and services that range from natural body care products and green fire logs to therapeutic services. The market also hosts nonprofit organizations.

After a false start in August 2011, Sabeh had a grand re-opening of the market on Nov. 12 with a better understanding of the organizational needs of the monthly event.

NBC Los Angeles recently chatted with the OC Green Market’s founder and organizer about the reason for her latest business venture, what people can expect to see at the market, and how she intends to win over the reluctant greenie.

Q. Why open a green market?

A. Part of my intention was to have a way to sell products I offer on my website. Also, there are so many local businesses out there that are starting on their own like me. They can’t access larger consumer markets in Orange County. I just thought that this would be a really good venue for products today. Also, I just absolutely love products. I love everything we can use in our daily lives. What is really becoming important to me is socially driven companies. We have power in a capitalist society in where we spend our money and what kind of products we buy.

Q. What makes the OC Green Market different from farmers' markets that have opened up in great measure in the last few years?

A. When I started trying to get in those to sell my own products, they were kind of limited in what they could sell [produce, prepared food]. There aren’t too many in Orange County that are open to other kinds of products. And there are certainly not any in Orange County that are dedicated to green products and services, holistic/alternative therapy treatments and nonprofits. What I wanted to create is basically a marketplace for all three and more. I’m trying to make it well-rounded.

Q. What products and services can people expect to see when they walk into the market? Tell me a little about your vendors.

A. One of the coolest companies I’ve had is Earthlog. They make fire logs, but they make theirs out of used candle wax and coconut fibers. And it lasts so much longer than the dura logs. I have a 100-percent soy candle vendor. Green Life Gallery is so cool; she finds artists that are making functional eco-friendly art. There is one person that makes purses out of chopsticks. Another artist she has makes bowls and art out of nuts and bolts. One vendor I have is called Intrinsic. His passion is designing and creating laptop bags in villages in Kenya. I have an organic food delivery service called In Every Way Gourmet. They work with you to develop a menu. Zoey and Bailey's vegan cupcakes makes the best cupcakes I have ever had! She has a chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting I can’t stop talking about. Simply Straws, I love this product. They make reusable glass straws so you don’t have to use plastic straws, which are not recyclable. There’s so much stuff, it really is amazing. The innovation is so inspiring.

Q. There are classes offered too?

A. It’s just another component. As an added plus [merchandise], they can stop by and listen in on a lecture. The topics I have in mind are really diverse. It’s focused mainly on healthy living and green living. I just want people to know best practices and things they can do to improve their lives.

Q. And the nonprofits? What's their role in this?

A. Every nonprofits reason for being there is going to be the same. Mainly the two things are getting the word out [on their cause] and recruiting volunteers. Sometimes they will have petitions that they are trying to get signed, but usually it’s informational.

Q.  Green products have a reputation for being pricey. Should people be concerned about pricing when they come to the market?

A. There is a really diverse range of pricing at the market. My vendors sell anything from 5 bucks up to the hundreds.

Q. How will you get the not-so green people interested in your market?

A. My bigger mission with this market is to introduce people who don’t really know about the green lifestyle to other options to the way they are living now – let them know that the market is here. The biggest thing is that there is no pressure or a sense that green is better. The whole key is just to do what you can do every day. Just don’t beat yourself up over it. That’s what I want to convey at the market.

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<![CDATA[Recycling Electronics for Charity]]> Fri, 09 Dec 2011 18:11:34 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/108037884.jpg

E-waste is on the rise as technology advances prompting users to make space for new products.

E-waste items include electronic products that are nearing or reached the end of their functionality, like computers, TVs and cellphones.

In California alone, an estimated six million computer monitors and televisions are piled up in storage units and attics, according to governmental recycling agency CalRecycle.

Los Angeles County’s waste per person in 2010 was expected to amount to 6.9 pounds per person, according to a disposal rate report by CalRecycle. However, the county’s waste came out to be just 4.2 pounds per person.

To continue this waste reduction, Planet Green and the Borgnine Group have partnered to create a day for the public to get rid of electronic waste while raising money for charity.

Recycle, Reuse, Rejoice!” will be held at The Sportsman's Lodge Hotel in Studio City from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, December 10.

The environmental benefit can be seen with the amount of resources that will be saved, said  Planet Green spokewoman Mary Mussard.

Saturday’s event will be the first of its kind.

Planet Green will partner with the Borgnine Group to include celebrities and their various charities, Mussard said.

Kevin Sorbo from "Hercules" and Anson Williams of "Happy Days" will be just a few of the celebrities on hand at the event.

Charities that will benefit include A World Fit for Kids, The Sunshine Kids, The ALS Association, Nothing but Net Campaign, The Boys & Girls Club of Pasadena and United Cerebral Palsy.

Mussard said a large portion of the money raised from recycled ink cartridges and small electronics will be donated.

"We recycle the cartridges then sell them," Mussard said. "Then 15 percent of the value will go to the charities."

To explain the benefit of recycling e-waste properly, Mussard said that one ink-jet cartridge takes three quarts of oil to make.

Mussard said the small electronics, such as cell phones or GPS devices; go to their partner, All E- waste. These items will then be refurbished, valued by pound and 100 percent of value goes to the charities.

"We will then pool all the money and divide it equally," she said.

Mussard said the benefit to the environment can be seen with the amount of resources that will be saved.

Throughout the day, proceeds from hot cocoa sales, product raffles, door prizes and other activities will all be donated to charities.

The free event will also include a raffle for a printer and iPod.

Mussard said people can still attend if they do not have an item, but a $5 donation is suggested.

Cal Recycle suggests old electronic products should not be disposed of in the regular garbage. They suggest nonfunctioning electronics should be given to organizations that are able to handle them.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[State Sues Alleged "Palm Rustlers"]]> Mon, 04 Jun 2012 10:15:11 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/Palm+Rustlers+still+1.JPG

The state of California has filed a civil suit against a ring of alleged “palm rustlers,” that it claims stole palm trees from public land along the Santa Monica Freeway.

An NBC4 Investigation in October first exposed this alleged thievery of the forty-foot palms, which belong to taxpayers.

Caltrans, the state’s transportation agency, sued Global Trees, Inc., a nonprofit organization, seeking more than $400,000 in damages.

The suit, filed in LA Superior Court, alleges that this nonprofit illegally removed five mature palms from next to the freeway, and resold them “for illicit financial gain.”

The Canary Island Palms, which are in demand from developers, are worth about $20,000 each, according to the lawsuit.

Workers for Global Trees were illegally digging up the palms in evening and early morning hours, possibly with the okay of Caltrans employees, according to evidence uncovered in an NBC4 investigation.

Residents of the mid-city LA neighborhood were angry when they learned of the state’s lawsuit, because it mentions no alleged role in the thefts of the state employees.

“Caltrans was either involved or let it happen,” resident Matt Koval said of the palm thefts. “I would like to see someone get fired at the very least, or perhaps someone go to jail.”

The NBC4 Investigation uncovered a letter signed by Jose Escobedo, a Caltrans supervisor, authorizing Global Trees and its president Kyle Olson to remove palms from the 10 and 101 freeways. Olson is named as a defendant in the suit.

Escobedo apparently skirted Caltrans mandatory procedures for granting anyone permission to remove trees from public land. “I don’t know why he signed that paper,” said Escobedo’s supervisor, Jim Fowler.

An internal investigation into the role its employees might have played in the removal of the palms is now underway, Caltrans told NBC4. The California Highway Patrol is also conducting a criminal investigation into the thefts.

The state’s lawsuit seeks $100,000 in damages for the value of the stolen trees, plus another $300,000 in "treble" damages, a legal term that indicates punishment for willful conduct.

Ever since the palms were stolen in July, Caltrans has promised residents near the freeeway that it would find the stolen trees and replant them, or replace them with other trees.

Residents tell NBC4 Caltrans hasn’t done either, and has stopped returning their calls

“Caltrans, you guys need to understand, we’re not going to let this go away,” said resident Brent Green. “If you think you’re going to ignore us, think again.”

Follow NBCLA for the latest LA news, events and entertainment: Twitter: @NBCLA // Facebook: NBCLA 

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<![CDATA[Three Women Create Sandwich Bag Alternative]]> Thu, 17 Nov 2011 15:00:15 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Sandwich+Bag.jpg

Jennie Stoller is a Silver Lake mother who got tired of throwing out yet another plastic bag from her children's school lunches, so she and two other mothers came up with Lunchskins, designed to replace the traditional plastic sandwich bags.

"These are exactly the same size. One will end up in your landfill. The other you can bring back home and reuse," Stoller said.

"We were sitting around the kitchen table one day and we realized that between us we throw out about 12, at least 12 bags a day," Stoller said.

The group -- which includes Kirsten Quigley, Cristina Bourelly and Stoller -- estimates 20 million plastic bags from school lunches are thrown into the trash daily. The company began in 2009.

Stoller, a graphic designer and the creative director for Lunchskins, is in charge of the designs, which range from large colorful graphics to simple monochromatic looks.

The mother of a 9-year-old boy and 12-year-old daughter said the bags are water resistant and are made from a thick cotton fabric coated with a polyurethane liner imported from Germany. They are certified as lead, Bisphenol-A and phthalate-free, according to the company website.

"Because it is made from this European pastry bag material, which is food safe, it withstands high heat," Stoller said. "So all you have to do is turn it inside out and throw it in the dishwasher."

Lunchskins aren't just about fashion and function. In fact, they are also educational tools.

"It's empowering a lot of our kids, like my son is one of the guys in school who separates the trash and makes sure that people are throwing things in the right place, questioning the overuse of kids plastic bags because he knows it doesn't need to be that way," Stoller said.

While perfect for the little ones, the sub, sandwich and snack sized bags are also good for moms and dads. Adults have used them to hold receipts, makeup and even dog treats, according to the company.

The bags are available online and in retail stores such as Whole Foods and the Container Store. They are priced between $7 and $11 and can be found in local shops such as Kelly Green in Silver Lake and Eco by Design in Pacific Palisades. A percentage of the sale of each bag also goes to environmental groups and causes.

More information about Lunchskins is available at www.lunchskins.com.

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<![CDATA[LA Auto Show: Green Car of the Year Finalists]]> Thu, 17 Nov 2011 11:58:25 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/autoshow-cng-fuel-green-car.jpg A look at the different technologies that go into the five finalists for Green Car of the Year at the LA Auto Show, Nov. 18-27.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>