Systems Thinking is Vital in Sustainability

Sustainability has become a part of every industry. No longer a fad or for ‘tree huggers’, it is part of what shareholders expect from successful corporations. Systems thinking is imperative to having a viable corporate sustainability plan. Facility managers are on the front line of the future of sustainability. Read more in this article from board member, Bill Conley...

OCSC Spearheads County-Level Research

OCSC has partnered with Claremont McKenna College’s Roberts Environmental Center (REC) to investigate the obstacles that prevent companies from engaging in environmental initiatives. Instead of focusing on leading sustainable companies throughout the county, the project has a comprehensive scope that will embody companies that exhibit a range of sustainability initiatives. The team of research analysts includes Sierra Gibson, Henrietta Toivanen, Chad Redman, Su Min Ha, Hilary Haskell, and Jesse Pence.  Through surveys, internet research, and interviews, we hope to gather information to protect the environment by consulting with companies to help them overcome these obstacles.  The REC analysts will publish a report this year on their findings and strategies for addressing issues companies face in implementing sustainable business...

Call For Instructors – National Registry of Environmental Professionals

The National Registry of Environmental Professionals (NREP) stands testament to a long and continuous journey that started as a response to the emergence and the growing intensity of environmental awareness in the modern, environmentally conscious world. Established in 1987, NREP has emerged as a leading not-for-profit organization that provides professional certification and official recognition to environmental professionals. We, at NREP, help professionals gain an in-depth knowledge of environmental laws and best practices as we inspire them to maintain high levels of commitment toward ethical practices and guide them to address the multifaceted demands of their core work area. The foundation of our endeavors is our quality training which is delivered by a team of highly qualified environmental professionals who have created a distinction in the field of environmental and safety education. At present, we are looking to expand our team and invite instructors to join NREP as independent consultants to conduct online certification workshop programs. You are eligible to be a part of the vibrant NREP team of instructors if: •  You have a NREP Certification or a professional certification in environmental education from a legally-recognized institute •  You are skilled to develop quality training content •  You have the expertise in creating engaging environmental and safety webinars •  You are proficient in creating instructional tapes to promote easy learning •  You have prior experience in conducting training seminars, workshops, and other instructional programs We help instructors generate an optimal value from the engagement and we plan compensation packages appropriately to perfectly align their skills, qualifications, efforts, and expectations. Your compensation will include air and land travel, food and...

OCSC Learns of Goodwill of Orange County’s Sustainable Practices

On Monday, July 29, the Orange County Sustainability Collaborative Staff, Interns, and friends took a tour of Goodwill of Orange County Headquarters in Santa Ana, Calif. The tour started with a very informational overview of Goodwill’s strong mission, sustainable ways, and impact on the community. Opened in 1924, Goodwill of Orange County has been in charge of collecting and selling donations around Orange County, and helping the community as it sees fit. Boasting a mere 8% of the items and goods that they receive through donations and collections going into landfills, Goodwill has developed a phenomenal and praise-worthy system for reusing and recycling materials. It starts, as they showed during the tour, at the donation centers where donations are sorted and priced, or disassembled and properly recycled. Any clothing that is gently used, does not have holes, tears, or stains are tagged with the color of the week to be sold in Goodwill Stores. Damaged clothing, along with donated pillows and underwear, are bundled and sold by the bale to recyclers. The color-coded tags help determine the age–or how long an item has been out in the store. If an item is not sold in four to five weeks, Goodwill tries to sell it for half the original price. If the item still does not sell in cycle, it is placed at the Goodwill Marketplace, where buyers can pick and choose clothing and buy it by the pound. The final step in this process is the baling of the clothing and other textiles, to be sold to companies that can repurpose the materials. Branded clothing and higher-end goods are...

City of Stanton Launches “Cease the Grease” Campaign

When grease, fats, and other oils are poured down kitchen drains, they tend to clog up the pipes. Many studies have shown that pouring used cooking oil down kitchen sinks can lead to clogging. This is because as the grease travels from the kitchen sink into the sewers and water treatment plants, they tend to cool, harden, and eventually build up on the pipes. They can accumulate over time and block certain pipes, causing very costly damage. Not only that, but clogging the pipes in cities can cause sewage and other wastes to be directed instead to waterways and other bodies of water, which can be harmful to both the environment and to residents of surrounding areas. On July 24, 2013, the city of Stanton officially started the “Cease the Grease” campaign with a press conference and light reception for residents. Although it shares the same name as a Dallas campaign to educate residents on proper grease disposal, Stanton’s campaign takes it a step further. With local government-provided services that will actually enable residents to properly dispose of their grease, the campaign is geared to protect the environment, and reduce potential costs that can be caused by sewer and pipeline blockages. Local leaders are thinking ahead, not just to save residents tax dollars in the future, but to save the environment, as well. Residents are now encouraged to recycle fats, oils, and grease rather than risk improper disposal. They can collect their oils and grease and with the help of the Orange County Sanitation District and CR&R Environmental Services, a Stanton-based recycling company, eventually recycle the grease. Residents can call...

Sports Apparel Companies Join the Effort to be more Eco-Friendly

It is no question that climate change and global warming has been a serious threat in the last couple of years. As the threat grows, more surf, skate, and other board companies attempt to become eco-friendly. With the warmer temperatures come melting ice caps, plummeting wave heights, and the potential destruction of coastal cities, which can obliterate the sports of surfing, snowboarding, and even skateboarding altogether. Orange County boasts some of the most prominent sports apparel companies in these sports, and a lot have joined the effort to preserve the planet. A lot have implemented more eco-friendly processes and materials into their businesses, and some have even taken initiative in reporting. Many critics, however, claim that these steps toward becoming more sustainable are mere publicity tricks. Consumers are becoming more conscious of the things they buy–and that steps have been taken to produce them in more sustainable ways. At the same time, in order for businesses to move several steps forward in becoming more eco-friendly, even more steps are needed to be taken backwards financially. As appealing as having a completely zero-waste facility or using only recyclable materials may sound, it also costs a lot; and only few buyers are willing to shell out extra for such products. Thus, many companies have taken shortcuts–creating EP&Ls, Higgs Index, and other tools that report how much is being taken away, but not necessarily addressing or solving any problems. They have all entered an experimental stage, trying to see how to accurately balance pleasing their customers, helping the environment, while still making money. Perhaps, with a little more integrity, some leadership, and...

Stricter Regulations Approved for Southern California Beach Fire Rings

More than 500 fire pits dot the Southern California coast to be used by beachgoers year-round, free of charge. For many, spending the day in the water and starting a bonfire in the fire pits at night are a cheap and almost traditional way to spend summer—and definitely not something they are ready to give up anytime soon. Last month, however, the Southern Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) regulators suggested the removal or relocation of many fire pits down the Southern California coast. They claim that small particle pollution, which come from the bonfires pose a serious health risk to the residents of the beachfront houses on the coast. A study conducted has shown that the pollution from one fire pit alone is comparable to standing next to three diesel-run vehicles. Since more than one fire pit is located on each given beach—with Huntington Beach boasting over 500 fire pits on its shores—the accumulation of the small particle pollution has made beachfront residents and air regulators worried for their health. Additionally, as they are now, most of the fire pits are too close to the homes of residents; the buffer zone is less than 700 feet, especially in beaches like Newport. The air district proposed that new regulations be imposed on the fire rings. Studies supported by the air quality regulators found that over 700 feet away, the particle pollution becomes more distributed and scattered than when they are closer. This led to the proposal that fire pits must be at least 700 feet away from any residences, unless they are spaced out 100 feet apart. The new proposal...

Central OC Hosts its First Food Swap

On June 23, the first ever Central OC Food Swap occurred in Santa Ana. Started in March 2010, one of the first Food Swaps occurred in Brooklyn, initiated and led by Kate Payne, founder of the Food Swap Network, along with Emily Ho. Since then, the modern food swap movement has spread all over the United States, Canada and even abroad. The Food Swap Network acts as a worldwide registry for all Food Swap events. Most Food Swaps occur in the same format. A Food Swap is a chance for a group of people to bring homemade and homegrown goods and trade with other participants, using a barter system. They are recurring events in certain neighborhoods or regions. The Food Swap usually lasts for two hours, with anywhere from 5 to as many as 40 participants. The Swap starts with 30 minutes of greetings, introductions and set up. The next hour is dedicated to sampling of the different goods and participants write their names on lists of items they are interested in. The final 30 minutes of the Food Swap is when the actual swapping and trading begins. Conceptualized by Sarah Whittenberg and supported by Slow Food Orange County and the Orange County Food Access Coalition, the Central OC Food Swap boasted nearly 20 registered participants; a huge number for its first time. With participants coming from all over the county, one even traveling 70 miles from Rainbow, Calif., the Food Swap had a huge variety of homemade and homegrown goods. There were stone fruits, rosemary jellies and even some plants. There were vegetables from a community garden, different...