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Sustainability Secrets for Moms and Dads

SAVING PLANET LA - Over the last year, I have “met” some of the most giving people in my life. Mothers, fathers, friends and family, and strangers from all over the city offered advice on being a parent. They gave away their gently used baby items, they shared info on doctors and nannies, they shared recipes that help baby or breastfeeding moms, and they created meet-up groups to support each other.

I’ve joined a group that is strictly for moms (one can only join through referral) where mothers posts range from their personal experiences to community news. I also created the LA Moms and Dads Facebook group for locals, so I can spend more time with moms and dads by getting together monthly, so we all can share stories, and so our babies can play with each other, and so that we can regift those gently used and so quickly outgrown baby items.

If you are a parent but don’t know many other parents who could hand down some items to you, join Peace, Love, Swap. This organization started in 2009 by California Mom Meg, who wanted to keep baby clothes that were in perfect condition out of landfills and she wanted to create a fun event for families that would be affordable, easygoing and accessible. So if you have kids 0-14 years of age, check out Peace, Love, Swap and join in the fun.

Even if you are not a mom or a dad you can participate in reuse programs.

Freecycle has been around for many years and I’ve used it to give away things as well as to find great stuff, all for free. So if you haven’t joined one in your area, I highly recommend that you do. I’ve met actors through this group, I met resourceful people who pick up old electronics to fix them up. I met animal lovers who help find homes for pets. And all of them have one thing in common, they reuse, reduce and re-cycle.

LACoMax is similar to Freecycle. LACoMax is a free service provided by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, Environmental Programs Division. The primary goal of LACoMAX is to conserve landfill space by helping businesses, organizations, and institutions find alternatives to the disposal of valuable materials which are presently discarded as waste. You can use their online service to find something you need, to make available something you have (or will have), or to spot an entrepreneurial opportunity in someone else's discards.

If you own a home or work in construction, check out  The ReUse People, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, who reuse lumber and building materials, instead of dumping them into the landfills. They take back up to 80% of materials into the market! Find your local branch here and contact them to either donate or to get involved or maybe even to get hired.

LA Shares is similar to The ReUse People but it collects recyclables from businesses and then gives them back to local Schools. LA SHARES is a non-profit materials reuse program, which takes donations from the local business community of reusable goods and materials (both new and used) and redistributes these items FREE-OF-CHARGE to non-profits and schools throughout Los Angeles County.

Car sharing is another great way to reuse and reduce. The most familiar car-sharing program is ZipCar and now there is a new one in LA called LAXCarShare. But there are other options that allow you to avoid car ownership but still have access to a car. If you support local car rental businesses, like Hollywood Rent a Car (Hollywood and Silver Lake locations) or 699 Rent a Car (Valley, Hollywood and West Side locations), you are supporting your local economy and the community.  

Also, if you have roommates or friends that live close by, you can start sharing the cost and the usage of a car. I often ask friends if I can use their car for a couple hours, if I can’t ride my bike for whatever reason, while they are at work or out of town and I always return the car in better condition than when it was given to me. I wash the car, fill it up, clean the inside if needed, fill the tires with air, etc.  I also have my own insurance, which covers the cars I borrow or rent. Contact some friends and start sharing. Why own a car that mostly sits empty and unused if you live in a dense area where you can do errands by foot or bike.

If you find yourself with lots of electronics that are outdated and wonder how it can be reused instead of recycled, visit the listing of organizations who take back equipment for reuse or to recycle. You will feel better knowing that you didn’t dump your electronics illegally and you helped someone, who I couldn’t afford to buy a TV, a computer, a coffee maker, or an lamp that you no longer use.

Of course you can recycle and reuse everything by posting on your Facebook page/profile and on your twitter feed. Someone might read your post and know someone who could use what you don’t  need anymore and help extend the life of something that you have no use for.

You can also start your own local share program in your neighborhood or in the apartment complex that you live in, or in the house if you have many roommates. Items like a drill, or an iron, or a fax machine, etc, are things that we don’t need every day, so let’s share whatever we can with family, friends and neighbors, and lighten the burden on our environment.

And since you are sitting at the computer, make a change by signing these local petitions:

City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks: Replace the lawn at Los Angeles City Hall with sustainable landscaping.

Pasadena City Council: Stop development in the Arroyo Seco and revise the Hahamongna Master Plan

Honey Love petitionLegalize Urban Beekeeping in Los Angeles!!

(CityWatch Sustainability Editor Enci Box is an actress, mother and community activist. You can follow her on Twitter and find her on Facebook) –cw

Tags: Enci Box, Sustainability, Los Angeles, reuse, recycle, reduce, Saving Los Angeles

Vol 10 Issue 13
Pub: Feb 14, 2012