Friday, April 24, 2009

Freecycle - one person's trash is another's treasure.

Have something around the house taking up space? Like free stuff? Before throwing away or buying new, check out the Freecycle Network. It's a nonprofit grassroots organization that's "all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills." The way it works is simple; members of the 4,700+ local groups post or browse ads where they can give away or get things for free. Membership is free and there's sure to be a group near you. Cheers to Freecycle's three-part mission: reducing waste, saving resources, and building community!

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Los Angeles to Boost Green Buildings and Green Jobs

A new law on the books in Los Angeles will be great for green building, green jobs and potentially the economy.

Last week the L.A. city council unanimously passed a “Green Building Retrofit Ordinance” that will retrofit all city owned buildings larger than 7,500 square feet or built before 1978 with a target of hitting LEED silver level certification.

The ordinance also outlines:

• Establish a pipeline to green careers by recruiting disadvantaged workers into the city training programs that can train and connect unemployed and underemployed workers from under-served communities to construction apprenticeship positions on green retrofits and to job placement elsewhere in the public and private sector;
• Foster inner city economic development by supporting local minority and women-owned green business development;
• To ensure quality green products are being used & purchased locally, encourage local green manufacturing, purchase locally produced green goods that prevent waste and prohibits toxic chemicals that are unhealthy for workers for retrofitting;
• Foster public sector career development within the city by hiring city workers from city training programs, and upgrade part time workers to full time.

The good news about an ordinance like this one is that it really brings a focus to the importance of green building. When a city takes a stand and wants to improve their community by making buildings greener and making the environment as a whole healthier, it speaks volumes to what individuals can do as well.

Posted by Kirsten Saladow

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Diversion is imperative. Diversion is necessary. Diversion is sustainable.

Why do we feel it is necessary to have someone else take care of our problems? We as Americans believe it is our right to throw things away. It feels empowering. And yet we are simply externalizing the problem and offering no solutions. It has become out of site out of mind. Then we get NIMBY involved. The Not In My BackYard philosophy is one that has shaped our culture and continue to do so in a manner than is truly the paradox of sustainability.

It always amazes me what a disconnect there is between understanding of green and the definition of green. The definition of sustainability is the closest example of a “green” definition we have, yet both words scare us. We cannot continue to borrow from our future in the effort of bettering today. This goes for anything – waste is a prime example because it affects us as a society in so many ways. The fact that only 4% of what we “throw out” has no place but a landfill yet our national diversion rate is 32% is testament to the fact that a disconnect is breeding our stupidity towards solving the problems we face.

Posted by Matthew J. Macko
(guest blogger & friend of
Deconstruction Network)
Environmental Building Strategies

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Green Friends are Good

I just want to take a moment to thank Rhonda DeFelice and Johnny Dam from LA Talk Radio for visiting our newest home deconstruction project in Manhattan Beach yesterday. They were kind enough to document the work on video (total pros) and share ideas with us. You both are great and we are truly appreciate your support.

I appeared on thier show back on February 14 and it was a lot of fun and we all realized we could work together to bring more attention to our mission. As soon as the video is done we'll post it here. More to come...

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Cell Phone Recycling Week is a Great Time to Think about ReUse all around your Home

Spring Cleaning (or Spring Greening) is here and the EPA has made it extremely simple to get rid of your cell phones through a program called Cell Phone Recycling Week which runs from now until April 12th. The environmental impact of 2008’s recycling drive saved “enough energy to power more than 2,000 homes for a year.” Imagine the impact of 100 million recycled cell phones. The task is easy and the impact is large. So come join the cause by requesting a pre-paid mailer from any wireless provider or find a convenient drop off location.

An easy and free recycling program isn’t the only perk of Cell Phone Recycling Week. Many companies are jumping on board and pledging to do something extra for each customer that is joining the cause. For example T-mobile has promised to plant a tree for “each customer that recycles a phone, goes paperless or upgrades to the Motorola Renew.”

Wondering what is going to happen to that clunky Samsung or Motorola you chose to recycle? The program is centered on the concept of “reuse.” Therefore the phones that are collected are going to go under “rigorous testing.” The results, an innovative way to reuse or repair the phone. If not they are ISO certified to recycle the phone and its precious metals while keeping the landfills safe of any toxic materials. This is a win-win situation for all and is a perfect way to make a difference by Easter!
While you're at it, why not recycle some of the other things around your home? Contact your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore and they'll give new life to your old items.

Thank you to Vanessa Dang, one of our terrific Orange County interns for this blog post.

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Energy Resource Center

An impressive example of building material reuse can be found right in our own backyard. Southern California Edison’s Energy Resource Center (ERC) is located in Downey and meant as a “one-stop idea shop where customers can find the most efficient, cost-effective and environmentally sensitive solutions to their energy needs.”

Built in 1995 to replace a smaller SCE complex, the ERC managed to incorporate 62% of the former building’s materials into its makeup. Creative reuse of offsite materials can also be found here, including guns collected by the LA Sherriff’s Department which were melted down and incorporated into the building’s steel frame. The ERC hosts regular seminars and exhibitions where visitors are given a firsthand look at its energy efficient design and technology.

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Monday, April 6, 2009

Nike Grind

Nike has created a program that takes old used shoes and reuses them for the surfaces of courts. Their program is called Reuse a Shoe and they have numerous locations and events that allow people to bring in athletic shoes of any brand and give them away. Nike turns the worn shoes into a material they have called Nike Grind. With this material they create their own rubber, foam, and upper. They have also collaborated with the leading surface manufacturers to use this Nike Grind in different athletic surfaces. Essentially people play the sports they love on the shoes they give away. Could Nike's innovative technology lead to similar reuse in home foundations? For more information visit

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Deconstruction And Buildingmaterials Reuse Network Inc