Green Hippo Products

I stumbled across Green Hippo Products in Northridge today and chatted for a few minutes with COO Curtis Westfall about the company and what they're selling.

Green Hippo makes natural and organic products for gardening (organic fertilizers and plant foods), pet and equestrian care (non-toxic flea and fly control sprays), and personal and home cleaning (hand sanitzers, hand washes and cleaning products).

Curtis told me the products are made in Glendale and sold primarily online. I can't vouch for them personally, but thought locals might be interested in another option for green stuff made right here in town.

Funding for Environmental Justice Projects

Local green non-profits might want to apply for new Cal EPA grants of up to $20,000 each to be used for environmental justice projects. The program has $250,000 to give away.

Applications must be received in Sacramento by Aug. 5. The stated goals of the funds are to:

- Enhance meaningful public participation.
- Promote community capacity building.
- Collaborate with academia and/or other governmental agencies to document data related to exposures and health complaints.
- Promote community involvement in climate change emission reduction processes and programs.
- Provide funds to continue and/or expand projects funded under the previous grant cycle that have proven effective with excellent progress and results.

Sustainability Tradeoffs

One of the most frustrating things about trying to be green is having to constantly deal with the question of "paper or plastic?" Of course I mean that in the broadest way possible because of course the answer to that is "the reusable bag you bring yourself."

For instance, is it better to recycle a plastic shopping bag or use it to pick up dog poop (which means it ends up in the trash)? Is it better to use a plastic bag to line a recycle bin or to use no bag but have to "spend" water to clean the bin occasionally?

Sorry to say I don't have a great answer for the question. How do you make these types of decisions?

Fuel Cell Rainforest on KNBC

Local channel 5 did a nice news story on the Cal State Northridge "rainforest" that I posted photos of recently. Check it out.

Recycling Wood Shingles

My 60-year-old house in Northridge has wood shake shingles that are on their last legs so my husband and I have decided to take the plunge and re-roof. It seems we can save on labor costs (over $1,000) by removing the existing roofing ourselves. That got me started on thinking about how great it would be to recycle the old shingles. After all, they're just wood, right?

Wrong. A call to 1-888-CleanLA, also known as the Los Angeles County Dept. of Public Works-Environmental Programs Division yielded a big thumbs down. Turns out that most wood roofing materials are treated with fire retarding chemicals which are toxic.

So no mulching or recycling -- they must go into the landfill. That makes me sad.

The upside -- the new roof will be much more energy efficient and we're also taking the opportunity to have some cellulosic insulation blown into the roof to further reduce our energy costs. That will have to do, I guess.