Going Green at a Music Festival?

First off let me start with answering the question in this blogs heading...YES they can!! I am a trusted source since I have seen it first hand at this years Bottlerock.

Just this past Memorial Day weekend I attended the 3rd Annual Bottlerock Music Festival in Napa, CA. This annual festival boasts 30 wineries for wine tasting, 81 gourmet food vendors, 26 local breweries and about 25 performers per day. Some of the headliners of the festival in the past have been Outkast, No Doubt, Florence & the Time Machine as well as the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The festival continues to grow year to year thanks to its evolving music line-up. Over the last four years attendance at Bottlerock has grown from a mere 30,000 to a whopping 120,000.  With growing attendance comes growing environmental issues. When you are talking about quadrupling your attendance you need to look at ways you can minimize your impact on the community and surrounding area.

Napa Valley and surrounding cities are very environmentally conscious when it comes to waste, trash and emissions. If you were to walk from restaurant to tasting room, depending on rathers, you would see how items are farm to table whether that be your wine or chicken sandwich. So why wouldn't a music festival follow suit?

When Bottlerock first originated  in 2013 the event planners were focused on having a successful music festival with environmental issues not top of mind. As the music festival has evolved over the years so has the thinking of environmental actions. The festival has tried to tackle waste, trash and emissions in every way possible. They have even gone so far as to create a "Green Team of Volunteers" for the three day weekend of festivities. These green team volunteers are there to help attendees dispose of items in their respective bins in case the illustrations on the bins, see picture to left, are not enough. A lot of people get hung up on what waste items go where. Having someone help guide you to the right bins helps to make sure items are disposed of correctly. Outside organizations such as Sustainable Napa County, Napa Recycling & Waste Services, and Napa Valley Expo joined forces to put a plan in place for the vendors of the event. The group put together guidelines for food and beverage vendors so that items used for eating and drinking were either reusable, recyclable or compostable. The main goal for this years event was to divert 65% of waste compare to the 2015 event so that 2/3 of materials created from the attendees of the event are either recycled or composted.

Just like any other large festival traffic is an issue at Bottlerock. Though many attendees are from  the Napa area a vast majority of attendees of the festival are out of towners, just like me. With that being said the festival promoters tried to cover all of the bases when it came to smooth sailing of traffic as well as curbing GHG emissions. On their website they cover opportunities for bus transportation, carpooling, ridesharing, bike parking as well as flying.

Bus transportation was offered for free for those within the Napa Valley area and if you resided within the surrounding 9 cities there were charter buses available for a low price. If you were to carpool with more than 4 people in a car you were automatically entered into a drawing to become VIP for the day. As for ridesharing, Uber and Lyft were lined up and ready to take riders. The ridesharing companies also offered discounts and coupons to those that entered in a Bottlerock discount code. As for bike parking it is as simple as it sounds. You would just ride your bike to the event and lock up your bike while security watched over them. Sadly I do not have the number of GHG emissions that were diverted by the actions of the festival promoters, but any little bit that was saved means it was a success.

With Bottlerock implementing sustainable measures into the foundation of the annual music festival and showing how easy it can be I have to ask will others follow suit? Sure Coachella does implement similar items into its annual festival but not to the same extent. Bottlerock is paving the way to sustainable music festivals that make humans and the earth happy.

Get Your RecycleMania On!

I remember hearing about RecycleMania when I was in college. Even though my school always had a green mindset, we didn’t join the RecycleMania tournament until 2008 or 2009 and while the school is doing wonders with waste minimization, there is a long way to go in other areas.

Photo Source:
RecycleMania is a competition among colleges and universities geared towards reducing waste and expanding recycling and composting programs. The participating schools measure and report the amount of recycling and trash collected each week for eight weeks. This competition has taken place each Spring since its launch in 2001 and it has the following goals (taken from the RecycleMania website):
  • Motivate students and staff to increase recycling efforts and reduce waste generation
  • Generate attention and support for campus recycling programs
  • Encourage colleagues to measure and benchmark recycling activity in their effort to improve their programs over time
  • Have a fair and friendly competition

Unfortunately, many of us – including myself at times – don’t know what can be recycled and what cannot. In addition, many cities, including college towns, don’t take certain recyclable items nor do they educate the public on what they do recycle. The RecycleMania program allows millions of students each year to learn about recycling and take the information back to their hometowns. It can also inspire a town or community to expand its recycling programs or start one if one doesn’t already exist.

Photo Source:
Over 700 colleges and universities have participated in RecycleMania and over the years have prevented the release of so much carbon dioxide, it equates to take 7 million – that’s right, seven MILLION – cars off the road for a year. This program continues to gain momentum and has even motivated my own college to become carbon neutral by 2035.

If you are a college student, a faculty member or a staff member at a college or university, look into RecycleMania for your campus! You get national recognition if your campus wins and you get to help your school save the planet! One bin of recycling at a time. How cool is that?

The Green Teams Part II

I try to be energy conscious and waste as little as I can. Then again, I am lucky to live in a part of the country that allows me use public transportation (or walk) to almost any destination, does not have air conditioning in any apartments and has compost and recycling bins nearly everywhere. (For those of you that don't know, I moved to Seattle! and am happily still working full-time for the Clean Energy Organization.) I never use a hair dryer for more than a few minutes and only run big appliances (laundry, dishwasher) after peak hours. My microwave and stove get used once a day, max. But this is energy use on a very small scale for one very small person. 

SCREAMS inefficiency
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So what happens when, instead of being in charge of just your own energy use, you’re suddenly in charge of hosting tens, even hundreds, of thousands of fans (who are hungry and thirsty, cold or hot, and may be seated far from the action of the game) in a stadium that holds all of these people, food and ticketing staff, security plus the stars of the event and their managers, coaches, team owners, etc? Not only is there a need for several food and beverage booths, powerful HVAC systems, jumbotrons, surround sound speaker systems, expansive locker rooms, and numerous multi-stall bathrooms, but everything (and by everything, I mean every nook and cranny) has to be brightly lit and perfectly air conditioned. That sentence included A LOT of energy-draining things, which can only mean that the energy needed to power all of them is nothing shy of A TON. And as I mentioned in Part I of this mini-series, it seems hypocritical to live as I do and work where I do when I also snatch up every opportunity I get to go to one of these events.

We energy-enthusiast sports fans got lucky, though, because the industry has been significantly decreasing its energy use for a few years now. At this massive scale, energy use will always be high, but hosting these events in a LEED building or incorporating solar panels does make a difference. Take the Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania for example. In 2010, 40,000 solar panels were installed; they power the entire facility and cut the raceway’s annual energy bill by over $500,000! That’s a lot of savings! It was also the first raceway to participate in the Dream Machine program, which provides a fast and easy way for fans to recycle. You can read more about these and other green initiatives here; and think about incorporating similar practices yourself because as the Raceway itself declares, “it’s not that tricky”.

Photo Source:
I've been playing tennis for nearly two decades now and learning that the US Open Tennis Center in Queens has been going green since they launched a pilot program in 2008 with NRDC (thanks to the amazing Billie Jean King, see pages 24-26) made me very ecstatic indeed! Initiatives cover recycling, transportation, energy management, and many more facets of the jam-packed two-week event, including event merchandise. The Center reduced water flow by 75 percent (!!!) in 2011 with new low-flow faucets; all match balls are reused in summer camps or donated to community organizations; all tennis ball canisters are taken apart so each metal and plastic component can be recycled separately and correctly. Plus, the Center composts almost all of its waste, down to the cooking oil. What does this amount to each year? HUGE savings and hundreds of tons of waste diverted from landfills. Can’t beat that!

NFL and MLB fans, stay tuned for Part III!

Wellness Wednesday: Reducing Food Waste

I have mentioned waste and recycling in a previous post, but recently came across another article in the Fresno Bee talking specifically about food waste. UC Merced and several other colleges have received praise by the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency for their efforts to reduce food waste and increase awareness on the topic.
Source: Schaumburg's Sustainable Future

Food waste is expensive, crowds landfills, and adds to greenhouse gas emissions.  UC Merced composts cafeteria waste and has switched to recyclable food containers as part of its goal to achieve zero net energy consumption by 2020.

Ways you can help reduce food waste:

  • When eating out, order an appetizer or two, choose from the children’s menu, or share an entrée with a friend. Portion sizes at restaurants are absolutely out of control! This tip not only will help with food waste, but likely the size of your waist. I usually gravitate towards the appetizers on a menu because they just sound better! If you still have leftovers, take them home and enjoy for tomorrow’s lunch or dinner or get creative and incorporate with other ingredients for a whole new meal.
  • Take inventory of your fridge and pantry before grocery shopping. How many times do you come home from the store and struggle to find room in the pantry or refrigerator shelves? Take a cue from those who live in big cities: shop more frequently and only for what you will use for a few days or up to one week. Sure it is a bit more effort but you are more likely to use all of your ingredients before they expire or rot. I like to challenge myself to become more creative in the kitchen by utilizing everything I have to the very last drop, so to speak. Soups and stews are a great way to utilize leftovers and produce that are on their last leg. Overly ripe fruit that has not yet spoiled can be cut up in small bits and then frozen for use in smoothies or frozen yogurt.
  • Similar to the tip above, never grocery shop while hungry! It’s amazing what ends up in your cart when your stomach is growling. It’s likely that these impulse purchases will lead to extra waste/waist.
  • If portion control is an issue for you, eat off of smaller plates/bowls. You are less likely to stuff yourself silly and/or throw the extra bits of food on your plate in the trash.

Wellness Wednesday: Waste, your waist, & a song about recycling

Who would have thought that the little song I crafted back in early 1990s for an Odyssey of the Mind sketch would still be haunting me today. Only I could have come up with embarrassing lyrics that went a little something like, ‘R-E-C-Y-C-L-E, find out what it means to me!’ and watch my teammates perform them on stage because there was NO WAY I would be caught dead doing that. Too bad I didn't know Courtney back then because I am sure she would have been up to the task. After all, I somehow got her to meow at a small bird trying to eat her dinner.[note from Courtney: this is true.  It was a fat, rude bird that was not intimidated by meowing] Anyway…

An email floated across my desk just the other day explaining how Governor Jerry Brown has signed new restrictions on California’s bottle bill. In a nutshell this bill serves two main points: one, deter those cheater, cheater, pumpkin eaters from crossing state lines, importing bottles, and exploiting the system; and two, encourage (fair) recycling. When consumers purchase canned or bottled beverages and some packaged food products, they pay a fee. This fee can then be redeemed upon recycling. I remember gathering all the cans and bottles our family would accumulate and taking them to the recycling center with my dad. For our efforts he would let me keep the few bucks we received in exchange for our waste.

minimize waste = minimized waist
In addition to the benefit of the spare change as a reward for recycling, it is important to note that recycling can help to save energy. Making something from scratch takes far more energy and produces much more pollution than if a manufacturer were to use recycled materials. The best solution, however, is to simply use less. Yes, we are talking about those three R’s – reduce, reuse, recycle – and you can bet that was incorporated into my song. Not only does cutting down on what you use help to shed those pounds of greenhouse gas emissions, it can also help to shed those unwanted pounds of fat on your body! This is Wellness Wednesday, people. You should have expected that.

While it sounds silly, it is true. Packages, boxes, bags, cans, and bottles mean extra trash and a greater carbon footprint. They also signal that a food item has been processed and this typically means chemicals, preservatives, and sugar. Stick to Mother Nature’s packaging and opt for foods that come in their natural state – think fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Try to shop the bulk section of your grocery store and when you have to use packaging opt for the biodegradable brown bags over plastic.

So, no matter which waste/waist concerns you more you should always practice those three R’s and you (and the planet) will be reap the rewards.  

photo credit: MonotonousSarah via photopin cc

photo credit: matt.hintsa via photopin cc

Photo from California Integrated Waste Management Board

photo credit: bcmom via photopin cc

I, Robot: Machines manuever into the living room, assembly line

Asimov wrote about the Three Laws.
Humanity creates a robot to clean up the space debris enshrouding the Earth.

It's sometime in the future, and the broken-down satellites and other trash in orbit threaten to derail the fast-expanding colonization of the region outside the atmosphere. World leaders settle on a solution, a relatively small and unimpressive but strong and highly mobile machine.

At first, the robot does its job perfectly. However, its obsessive drive for perfection puts it in conflict with humans. After all, they caused the trash and continue to contribute.

By the time the robot has finished its directive -- creating a massive metal orbiting sculpture that reads "PEACE," it has killed nearly every human on the planet. Job well done.


Heavy Metal
Maybe not. I believe the story comes from one of the earlier issues of Heavy Metal magazine. (I have every single issue in boxes in order in the garage, something my wife Peggy is not impressed by.)

But it's a robot story. And that makes it cool.

Robots are starting to pop up more frequently. They're common on assembly lines, in medical centers and all over many technical processes.

A news item by Belgian-based Containers Maes got me onto this topic. The waste management and container company plans to install a robot on its various recycling lines that can separate the valuable materials. Dubbed the ZenRobotics Recycler, the machine has artificial intelligence and articulated limbs that deftly pick wood, stone and metal from incoming construction waste.

Containers Maes officials say their system incorporating the ZenRobotics product will run on solar power. (And thus the clean energy connection.)

"We want to change the game," says Werner Willemoons, environmental director of Containers Maes, in a statement.

Willemoons says the future of recycling lies in innovative technologies and calls the robot a "no-brainer."

A lifetime of service

Robots also are finding their way into the consumer market. Roomba's already up to the 700 series of its floor cleaning robot.

Says Ali Heriyanto of of the $599 780: "This newer generation seems like it floats on air around your home and it will get every piece of dirt – big or small, before calling it a day." She says it lasts longer than past models and calls it a robotic workhorse.

I'm thinking about getting one. I love clean floors, so why not?

The Three Laws

It's just a matter of time before we have to worry about smart robots. Before "Terminator," there was Isaac Asimov. In his fiction, positronic robots conformed to the Three Laws of Robotics:
  • A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  • A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  • A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

Asimov reasoned that these rules were inescapable. Robots developed their own intelligence, and at some point in his writings, they appeared more highly developed than our species.

When I first read his books, I had my doubts I'd ever see such developments. Now, I'm not so sure.

Robots are here. They're just a little slow. But they'll get faster and smarter.

Let's get somebody else to clean the skies in the meantime.

Valley businesses and UC Merced are inducted into the Green Hall of Fame

Five businesses and organizations and four individuals were inducted into the International Green Industry Hall of Fame during a ceremony at Fresno State University.

SunRun, UC Merced, Green Apple Horse Network, Electronic Recyclers International and Grid Alternatives were the inducted businesses and organizations. The individuals were Ed Begley Jr., Christina Schwerdtfeger, John Shegerian (CEO of Electronic Recyclers) and Alan Tratner, who received Lifetime Achievement awards.

  • SunRun is a San Francisco-based company that offers solar leasing and power purchase agreements.;
  • University of California Merced has six buildings that are LEED certified, and students and faculty are leaders in solar-energy research
  • Geen Apple Horse Network, based in Marin County, helps the horse industry go green, and manages a directory of green products and services;
  • Electronic Recyclers International, a Fresno-based firm that is the nation's largest electronic waste recyclers;
  • GRID Alternatives, an Oakland nonprofit that installs solar panels on low-income households throughout California. The Fresno office has installed solar power systems on more than 300 homes in the Valley, all owned by low-income families
  • Ed Begley Jr., an actor and environmental leader who is chair of the Environmental Media Association and Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy
  • Christina Schwerdtfeger founded Coto Consulting in 2009 as a woman-owned, small business enterprise to provide environmental consulting services to private and public sector clients throughout the United States. She specializes in multi-media compliance for air, water and hazardous waste, with particular emphasis on greenhouse gases and sustainability.
  • John Shegerian, a serial entrepreneur, is chairman and CEO of Electronic Recyclers. Prior to his work at ERI, Shegerian co-founded, one of the most successful student loan companies in the country, and founded, a comprehensive, interactive website dedicated to helping those struggling with the disease of addiction, that has become the leading online space for the recovering community.
  • Alan Tratner, international director of FD3′s Green2Gold in Santa Barbara and president of the Inventors Workshop International and Entrepreneurs Workshop, director of the Small Business Entrepreneurship Center in California and former publisher of Lightbulb Journal and INVENT!.
 Also honored were Climate Ride, a nonprofit in Missoula, Mont., that organizes charitable bike rides to support sustainable solutions, bike advocacy and environmental causes, and Aquacue, a San Jose firm whose customers set a baseline, reduce waste and engage the community to reduce water bills and advance sustainability.

Fresno businessman Sam Geil founded the International Green Industry Hall of Fame to recognize  pioneers, leaders, and visionaries who have contributed to the Green movement.

Coalition seeks to boost Calif. green jobs through recycled manufacturing

California Assembly Bill 32, also known as the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 has within it a mandatory commercial recycling component that is designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5 million metric tons.

To achieve that objective, an additional 2 million to 3 million tons will have to be recycled annually by 2020. A coalition supporting increased manufacturing in California using recycled material wants to divert that waste to in-state companies to increase jobs.

To do this, the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce and others have been working to focus the power of AB32 to not only recycle but create opportunity. The Recycling Build Infrastructure Now Coalition seeks to tie the jobs component to the measure's rollout similar to the highly effective "We can do it" campaign of World War II.

The BIN Coalition's summit is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 9 at the University Plaza Waterfront Hotel, 110 W. Fremont St. in Stockton, Calif. The formal rulemaking process for the Mandatory Commercial Recycling Regulation will begin in early September 2011.

The BIN team seeks to include language in the regulation that identifies domestic demand for material to reduce greenhouse gases as well as a number of other measures.

Others in the effort include the California Association of Recycling Market Development Zones, the California Product Stewardship Council Board, the California Resource Recovery Association, the Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley and the California Association of Local Economic Development.

Going Green Tips: 5 Easy Things You Can Do at Home

by Ellen Bell

Going green, also known as eco friendly living, is a growing trend around the world.

Now more than ever, people are beginning to realize the impact their actions and decisions have on the world around us. Every time we get in a car, ride on a plane, or make a purchase at the grocery store, we know that energy is consumed, greenhouse gasses are created, and landfills get a little fuller.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the vastness of it all, but relax and take a step back. No one of us has to save the world alone. But what we can do is each take a few small steps every day. Small changes make a big difference in the grand scheme of things. With that in mind, we’re going to discuss a few easy things that you can do at home to make a big difference in the world around you.

1. Recycle. Experts agree that recycling is one of the best and easiest ways to make a difference. If every person on the planet recycled, we could reduce landfill waste and greenhouse gasses in a very significant way. Most communities have recycling programs in place already, making it easy to participate. If your city doesn’t, inquire with local officials about starting a program.

2. Don’t throw it away! We have a tendency not to think about items we throw away. They disappear from our sight, so they are out of our minds. But all those things that the garbage truck hauls away every week do have to go somewhere, and that place is a landfill. Landfills are a major cause of greenhouse gasses and ozone depletion. So next time you get ready to throw something away, ask yourself if you could possibly use the item in another way or donate it.

3. Turn off the water. U.S. households waste thousands of gallons of water every year. A significant amount of this water goes down the sink while we are brushing our teeth, washing our hair, or soaping up in the shower. Turning off the water during these activities can save a huge amount of water, which not only helps the environment, but also saves you money.

4. Ride your bicycle. For short trips around town, air up the tires and ride your bike. It will save you gas and give you some good exercise. If you don’t have a bicycle, you can walk, ride rollerblades, or even a skateboard.

5. Install low flush toilets and showerheads. This is another way to consume less water in the bathroom. Even better yet, if you’re getting ready to put in a new toilet fixture, look into composting toilets. These fixtures are clean and odorless, and will save you a significant amount of money in water and sewer costs.

While the suggestions above may seem like really small things, don’t underestimate the impact these changes can make. If every person in the United States made a conscious effort today to turn off the water while brushing their teeth or shampooing their hair, think how many millions of gallons of water would be saved!

Now multiply that over the course of 50 years, and the result is astronomical. So what are you waiting for? Now is a great time to jump on the going green bandwagon by recycling, saving some water and using less energy. The environment will benefit, and in many cases, your pocketbook will, too.

Ellen Bell is a freelance writer and part-owner of the Composting Toilet Store, an online retailer of compost toilets. For more information or to request a free catalog, please visit us at This is her first guest post for SJVCEO.

How to reduce your office’s carbon footprint

By Kieron Casey

For many a green minded individual the time they spend at work and the time they spend at home could not be more different.

Whilst this can, of course, refer to the level of relaxation and comfort available it can also refer to their implementation of green practices and policies. At home many an eco-conscious individual will spend a far amount of time making sure all their waste is recycled in the proper fashion and that all unneeded electrical equipment is redeployed or given to a new home.

At work, however, many individuals find themselves in an environment where green measures take low priority. Recycling and sustainability are not often seen by business decision makers as high priority or a general mood of ambivalence surrounds this issue at the workplace. However, it is possible, with just a few small actions, to implement widespread changes.

Like most strategies the best area to begin trying to implement change is right at the top of this business in the hope good practices will become standards throughout the company and will trickle down.

Although management at companies are often busy and green issues may not be the number one item on their agenda it is certainly worth highlighting this area to them particularly if you can highlight ways in which green policy can save a company’s money.

A prime example is via the use of printers; many older printers take longer and use up more energy than their newer counterparts – replacing them with streamlined models can see an increase in productivity, better time management and a lower carbon emission.

Something as simple as switching all printers to utilizing both sides of paper as a default setting will similarly half waste paper which of course is as great for a person in a finance department to hear as it is for a green minded individual.

Another way in which printers can be made more environmentally suitable would be to check their cartridges; whilst some can be recycled others can not. Also it is worth noting that it takes the same raw materials to create a larger cartridge as it does a small one.

If it is possible to convince management of these measures perhaps try and suggest co-ordinating meetings to discuss environmental measures with other members of staff. Small suggestions such as a car pool scheme or cutting down on use of paper cups in favour of bringing water bottles to work can go a long way in cutting a carbon footprint substantially.

Also one of the many reasons a company may not be aware of the many ways it impacts upon the environment is due to an uncertainty; many businesses are not aware of how much they waste let alone how to improve their records.

One of the best ways to combat this is to put into practise a chart, similar to a financial one tracking a company’s fiscal losses and growths, which measures the companies green performances and their recycling strengths and weaknesses.

Once green practices are observed in such a fashion it is possible then for a company to see where they are going wrong, what areas need change and how plans can be set up to implement these.

Once a company has monitored what can and cannot be recycled, what constitutes waste that should be disposed of in the usual fashion and what should not, it can go about looking at ways to actually getting on with putting a proper recycling plan into action.

Based on a town’s local recycling habits and pick up times it is possible for a business to make plans around these. Yet, perhaps, the most important action a business can take is to ensure that appropriate waste bins are put in place; there should be appropriate and separate disposal units set up for plastic, glass, paper and other materials, which accumulate on a work premises. The bins should be clearly labelled and the staff should be made aware of which materials should be placed into which container.

Author Bio
Guest blogger Kieron Casey is a green minded, vegetarian, BA (Hons) Journalism graduate who lives in Bradford, United Kingdom and blogs regularly on subjects including IT equipment, the environment and green living. He is writing on behalf of Equanet.

Poop Power: 3 Reasons To Not Let Waste Go To Waste

More zoos are realizing they have a ready supply of nutrient-rich compost, courtesy of their vegetable-eating residents. And zoos are beginning to realize that poop can lucrative.

Fresno's Chaffee Zoo is the latest to, as Fresno Bee reporter Marc Benjamin says in this story, no longer let waste go to waste. Here's why:

1/ The zoo saves hauling costs. Chaffee's two elephants alone produce 55 tons worth of waste per year. If it can be used in composting, that saves $11,000 in disposal costs, according to The Bee.

2/ Chaffee Zoo can probably sell the compost, earning extra revenue. Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle earns $15,000 per year from sales of its "Zoo Doo."

3/ It benefits the environment. Some zoos also use the money to operate conservation programs.

Dung is mixed with straw, landscape clippings and fruits and vegetables to make compost. Chaffee Zoo will eventually add in droppings from zebras, giraffes and addax. Only waste from herbivores is used.

Hopefully, this year I'll be able to buy Chaffee Zoo poo for a soil additive.

The San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy Organization is a nonprofit dedicated to improving our region's quality of life by increasing its production and use of clean and alternative energy. The SJVCEO works with cities and counties and public and private organizations to demonstrate the benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy throughout the eight-county region of the San Joaquin Valley.
(Image from

Three Reasons To Divert Building Materials From Landfills

A non-profit organization devoted to diverting building materials from landfills has expanded to the Central Valley, providing more green options for builders, potential tax savings for property owners and employment opportunities in the field of "deconstruction."

The ReUse People salvages building materials - everything from toilets to landscaping to drywall - and packages it up to resell at bargain prices. The goal is to deconstruct rather than demolish a building.

Alex Breitler of The Stockton Record describes it as "watching a house being built in reverse" in this story about ReUse's expansion to the Valley. The ReUse People, which is based in Oakland, recently opened a warehouse in Sacramento to sell the recycled merchandise to do-it-yourselfers, other nonprofits and the budget conscious.

The organization has recycled about 270,000 tons of building material since it debuted in 1993, said Kristin Williams, the group's Central Valley manager.
Williams said the primary mission is to divert construction material from landfills, but also noted that property owners can get a pretty tidy tax write off and that contractors, who are struggling in this real estate recession, can use deconstruction to generate work.

Founded in 1993, the organization's best year was 2008 when 200 houses in California were deconstructed. The ReUse People will teach the deconstruction trade through courses. If interested, there's more on the Web site.
(photo from