Hollywood studios are upping their sustainability game by donating used props and set material to Habitat for Humanity. Rather than hauling leftovers to a landfill after a movie or TV show wraps, studios have found new ways to reuse what often adds up to tons of material.
Just recently, Warner Bros. donated plywood, joists, furniture, faux brick, and other set material once The Hangover Part III wrapped. Ten truckloads unloaded at Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles, to be sold in Habitat’s stores in Gardena and Norwalk. The proceeds supported the organization’s mission of building and renovating homes for the needy.
“The crews take pride in what they’ve built, so if we’re able to salvage the materials and give them another use, everyone feels good about that,” Mike Slavich, director of sustainability for Warner Bros. Entertainment tells the LA Times. The studio last month supplied Habitat’s stores with more than 30 rolls of carpet and linoleum flooring from the set of the CBS TV show “The Mentalist.” Continue reading
It’s not the kind of cheese Dr. Seuss might have written about, but what actually makes a cheese ‘green’ is something we probably don’t think of beyond being organic and non-GMO. But cheese, like other mass-produced food items, can have a detrimental impact on the environment.
The Huffington Post asked five cheese experts to name their favorite sustainable brands – including a vegan brand.
Jeff Roberts: Long before sustainability was celebrated, Lazy Lady Farm in northern Vermont utilized green practices. The farm operates completely on solar and wind power, while the hillside aging caves take advantage of ambient temperature and humidity to make a diverse array of seasonal and organic goat’s and cow’s milk cheeses. La Petite Tomme, a bloomy-rind disk from goat’s milk, is a signature product. The soft surface yields to a moist interior with hints of mushroom, milk, and nuts. $11 for 6 ounces, available seasonally at gourmetlibrary.com Continue reading
There are plenty of products on the market that are eco-friendly – or at least claim to be. A product can attach the word ‘green’ or ‘natural’ to its label in order to lure in eco-conscious consumers without actually being all that earth-friendly. That sneaky marketing scheme is known as greenwashing. The term is generally used when significantly more money or time has been spent advertising being green, (operating with consideration for the environment) than spending resources on actual environmentally sound practices.
Unfortunately, there is very little regulation around products that claim to be green but aren’t. However, there are certain labels, applied by third parties such as nonprofits or government agencies that can help us detect which products are actually sincere in their claims to be sustainable.
According to Triple Pundit, the following eco-labels seem to be the most trustworthy by consumers:
Government: USDA Organic and Energy Star are government issued labels that require adherence to very specific standards, carry hefty fines for misuse, and require certification and testing of operations and products by an accredited certification agent. Other government issued labels include: the Green Vehicle Guide, Design for Environment, and WaterSense programs from the EPA, the USDA BioPreferred program, and the Canadian EcoLogo programs. Continue reading
Oregon’s booming billion dollar film industry is home to feature films and commercial shoots as well as three prominent television shows – Portlandia, Grimm, and Leverage. The industry is now looking to go green and make an environmental impact as great as its economic one.
Oregon Film is informally working with the industry to encourage everything from recycling and composting to lowering energy use. According to Sustainable Business Oregon, the Oregon Governor’s Office of Film & Television is also advocating for reduced transportation needs and sustainable building materials in set construction, among other green initiatives.
“If you take this industry above all others, it is really green — except that it’s very in and out,” said Oregon Film’s Jane Ridley. Ridley works with producers and studios to take green concepts from good ideas, to actual reality.
“They have to go the extra mile a bit,” to make the production green, said Ridley. Sometimes that means requisitioning used chairs for the office or working with props that have been used on other sets, and then donating them when work is over. Sometimes it’s more complicated – like getting an energy efficient power supply to some remote area of the state. Continue reading
Eleven years after the 9/11 attacks, the World Trade Center rebuilding process is in full swing. The new WTC buildings will feature plenty of sustainable attributes that maximize energy efficiency, reduce waste and improve quality of life.
According to the official World Trade Center website, World Trade Center Towers 2, 3 & 4 are striving to achieve a U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification, as well as meet other Sustainable Design Guidelines and goals.
The buildings will also include the following green design features:
- WTC 2, 3 & 4 will offer tenants the ability to provide direct daylight and outside views for more than 90% of their regularly occupied space.
- Full-height low-iron glass will allow tenants to reduce energy costs by installing daylight dimming controls.
- A high percentage of WTC 2, 3 & 4’s core-and-shell electricity needs will come from renewable energy.
- In a typical business year, electricity costs at WTC 2, 3 & 4 will be approximately 35% lower than in a generic Manhattan office building, due in part to a power purchase agreement with New York Power Authority.
- Environmental innovations at WTC 2, 3 & 4 exceed traditional office buildings, such as: Continue reading
You can now add one more innovative idea to Starbucks’ efforts towards being an environmentally responsible, sustainable company. In an attempt to both lessen its environmental impact and reduce food waste, Starbucks in Hong Kong is testing out a recycling process that will turn old baked goods and coffee grinds into laundry detergent and bio-plastic.
According to the NY Daily News, the project, led by scientists at the City University of Hong Kong, is being tested at a new food ‘biorefinery,’ that diverts food waste and transforms it into viable, usable products. Biorefineries transform corn, sugar cane, and other plant-based material into bio-based fuels and other products.
Recycled food waste is good for the planet in two essential ways. For one, it keeps tons of food garbage out of landfills and second, it reduces the need to manufacture goods from virgin, raw materials.
Starbucks Hong Kong produces about 5,000 tons of used coffee grounds and unconsumed baked goods that end up in the garbage bin every year. Currently, most of the waste is incinerated, composted or disposed of in landfills.
So how will old coffee grinds and stale banana bread be transformed into something more useful? Continue reading
As kids, nearly all of us dreamed of constructing the perfect tree house — nestled up high, hidden away from the hectic routine of daily life. Throughout the years, eco-themed resorts have sprouted up to accommodate tree-dwelling fantasies. Now however, there’s a community in Costa Rica where people can live up in the trees all year long.
Finca Bellavista, named for the river that flows through the region, sits in the trees above the south Pacific coastal region of Costa Rica.
Part of their initiative, according to their website is
To provide an opportunity for ecologically minded individuals to reside within the treetops of a unique rainforest ecosystem while promoting the conservation of species and the natural environment.
The Finca neighborhood spans across 600 acres throughout a lush tropical rainforest and reclaimed pasture. It began to cultivate its first residents in 2006 when it became the world’s first planned, modern, sustainable tree house community.
So what sorts of amenities does a tree house community provide?
The Environmental Media Association along with Southern California Edison and Green Seal honored the city of Simi Valley with a Silver level status in So Cal Edison’s California Green Communities Program (CGC) this past Monday night.
Simi Valley is the first city in Ventura County to achieve Silver level status in the CGC program.
California Green Communities encourages cities to adopt innovative and environmentally sound practices involving energy efficiency, waste reduction, water conservation, renewable and alternative fuels, efficient transportation and other activities. The goal is to reduce carbon emissions and energy consumption, while building sustainable communities.
Amongst other efforts, Simi Valley succeeded in achieving the following sustainable practices: