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Sustainability Guidelines

SoCalGREEN bases our programs on these guidelines for sustainable communities

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California Green Solutions bases our programs on the following guidelines for sustainable communities:
1. Sustainable Community
Healthful local communities balance use of natural resources for social, life-support and environmental sustainability among all living creatures and habitats. Think globally and act locally recognizes the natural resource systems that are global in scope and that are impacted by local values that drive actions.
2. Energy Efficiency & Conservation
Energy efficient technologies and conservation practices for lighting, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, appliances, office equipment, and transportation.
3. Water Efficiency & Conservation
Water efficient technologies and conservation practices exist for appliances, equipment, processes and landscaping.
4. Cradle to Grave Product Design
Minimal packaging reduces the amount of paper and plastic used, reduces transportation weight and cost, and reduces the amount of waste that is discarded in the environment. Products are designed with principles of healthful use, recycling, reduction, reuse and waste management built into each element of the product, marketing, distribution and its eventual demise.
5. Service Design and Delivery
Sustainable services promote shared use of limited resources, provide cost savings to the community, and provide services that protect health and well-being of constituents.
6. Recycling & Composting
Recycling services exist for many waste products such as water, paper, glass, plastic, metal, grease, chemicals, tires, ink & toner cartridges. All waste can be diverted from landfills and made into recycled products, nutrient-rich soil. Zero-waste is now a feasible and necessary goal.
7. Sustainable Food
Sustainable food products support the long-term maintenance of ecosystems and agriculture for future generations. Organic agriculture prohibits the use of toxic synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, irradiation, sewage sludge, and genetic engineering. Plant-based foods require fewer natural resources and create less pollution per calorie consumed.
8. Sustainable Local Economies
Locally grown foods and locally produced products reduce the amount of pollution associated with transportation primarily by fossil fuels and support diverse local economies using local workforces and natural resources.
9. Pollution Prevention
Pollution prevention is achieved through source reduction, reuse, or improving operational practices.
10. Recycled, Tree-Free, Biodegradable & Organic Products
Recycled products are made from materials that are collected from post-consumer or post-industrial waste sources. Tree-free products are made from alternative plant sources such as bamboo, hemp or kenaf. Biodegradable products are capable of being decomposed by biological agents, especially bacteria. Organic products are grown without the use of toxic synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, irradiation, sewage sludge, and genetic engineering.
11. Chlorine-Free Paper Products
Chlorine-free paper products are unbleached or whitened with alternatives such as hydrogen peroxide, oxygen, and ozone. The term Process Chlorine-Free (PCF) identifies recycled paper that is unbleached or bleached without the use of chlorine compounds. The term Totally Chlorine-Free (TCF) identifies virgin paper that is unbleached or bleached without the use of chlorine compounds. The term Elemental Chlorine-Free (ECF) identifies paper that is bleached without the use of elemental chlorine (but may use chlorine compounds).
12. Non-Toxic Cleaning & Chemical Products
Non-toxic cleaning and chemical products are biodegradable, free of hazardous ingredients, and are safe for people, animals and the environment when used properly.
13. Green Power
Electricity and other forms of power are available from renewable resources of energy such as wind, solar, geothermal, small hydro and biomass. These energy sources cause dramatically less air pollution and environmental damage compared to fossil fuel, nuclear, and large-scale hydroelectric energy sources.
14. Green Building & Construction
Green design, construction and maintenance practices significantly reduce or eliminate the negative impact of buildings on the environment, occupants, and the local community. Good stewardship of constructed environments also saves money, time and health impact.
15. Employee Education
Staff members make better decisions and act with greater stewardship when they have policies that provide guidance on shared responsibilities, along with explanations about the environmental impact of their jobs, company and industry and a path toward ecological sustainability.
16. Environmental Justice
Distribution of sustainable products and services will be made available to all communities regardless of economic, racial, gender or location. Hazardous products and waste will not be concentrated in any one area that can affect the health and sustainability of individuals or communities. Responsible handling or elimination of all hazardous materials is at the heart of good stewardship.
17. Common Sense Stewardship
Stewardship is based on a personal and group commitment to the connection of all people and all of the earth’s natural resources. Common sense replaces transient pleasures with respectful use, reuse, reduction and recycling of our limited natural resources.

SoCal GREEN will emphasize solutions to the following community systems because these activities cause up to 80 percent of the total environmental impact in society.*

  • Automobiles
  • Air travel
  • Food (chiefly meat and dairy)
  • Home and related energy use -- including heating, cooling and other energy-using appliances
* The "Journal of Industrial Ecology" examined the types of products that cause the most environmental damage through their use of resources such as energy, contribution to global warming, toxic impacts, and production of solid waste.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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