Save Water, Energy, Money and the Environment

Volume 8, Number 12

December 2012

Calling Volunteers!
5th Annual Volunteer Reception
Save Our Planet: Smaller Footprints
Don't Throw That Away!
Turning Stuffed Animals into Children's Backpacks
L.A. Metro
9 Uses for Recycled Sweaters
Sanitation Districts
Sharing is the New Shopping
West Basin
Holiday Seasons Savings on the Road
City of Torrance
10 Things You Didn't Know About E.V.s
Staff Spotlight
Legislation Corner
Cities in the News
December / January 2012 / 2013 Events & Workshops
A Worthy Read
Interesting Domestic and International Articles Discussing the Environment, Energy Efficiency and Water Conservation

Quiz: What You Don't Know About World Energy 


Explore Water Conservation With a Water Use Calculator 


There has never been a better time to help out and be recognized.

Email Martha, call her at 310.371.7222, x 209 or complete our volunteer application and submit it by email or mail.   
You can make a huge difference! 

 Visit Our Cities

El Segundo
Hermosa Beach
Lawndale Lomita
Manhattan Beach
Palos Verdes Estates
Rancho Palos Verdes
Redondo Beach
Rolling Hills
Rolling Hills Estates

SCE Customers in
San Pedro & Harbor City

County Unincorporated Areas in South Bay 



Southern California Gas Company  


Southern California Edison


West Basin Municipal Water District  


 En Español


Southern California Gas Company
Southern California Edison Sanitation Districts of LA County

  County of Los Angeles 



Find us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView our profile on LinkedIn 

To read the South Bay Cities Council of Governments' latest edition of its newsletter, 
South Bay Watch,
click here

Where Does Your City Rank in the 

SCE Energy Leader Partnership Program?


Platinum Tier
20% Energy Reduction Stay Tuned


Gold Tier
10% Energy Reduction 
City of Hawthorne
City of Lomita 


Silver Tier
5% Energy Reduction 
City of Carson
City of El Segundo
City of Hermosa Beach
City of Inglewood
City of Lawndale
City of Manhattan Beach
City of Redondo Beach
City of Torrance 
Valued Level
City of Palos Verdes Estates
City of Rancho Palos Verdes
City of Rolling Hills
City of Rolling Hills Estates
City of Gardena

Did You Know?

"There's about a half-pound of food waste created per meal served, that's taking into account both back- and front-of-the-house waste. So restaurants and the customers are both joining forces to waste a whole lot of food." 

- Jonathan Bloom, author of American Wasteland

Message From the Deputy Executive Director of Environmental Programs


The spirit of childhood innocence is celebrated during this magical time of year, and we feel it even more now with its overwhelming loss in Connecticut.  This is the moment to reflect on what we have and through simple acts of kindness, share with others who are hurting or less fortunate.


Let us not forget to connect with the child within us, being awestruck by Mother Nature and Her wonders. How can we protect the treasures that surround us for generations to come?  What steps can each of us take to ensure a global future that sustains, protects and nourishes life on earth?


This end-of-the year edition of the SBESC newsletter offers ideas for how we can address this personal challenge through simple acts - all meaningful gifts - many not purchased.  Let us embrace the good of 2012 and resolve to build a safe and sustainable future in the New Year. 

Peace on earth, Goodwill to all. 


Catherine Showalter


5th Annual Volunteer Reception 
Thanking SBESC's Great Volunteers   
The South Bay Cities Council of Governments (SBCCOG) held a reception on November 15, 2012 to honor our South Bay Environmental Services Center (SBESC) volunteers and specifically those who have provided more than 100 hours of service. 


Save Our Planet: Smaller Footprints
Unwrap the 3R's (Reduce, Repurpose, Recycle) with Eco Friendly Holiday Greetings and More!

There are 2.65 billion Christmas cards sold each year in the U.S., which is enough to fill a football field 10 stories high (approximately 50,000 cubic yards of paper). Annual trash from cards, gift-wrap and shopping bags totals 4 million tons, all for a few days per year. This season, leave smaller footprints by protecting our environment, making every step count.  


Send holiday greetings to family and friends via e-mail. If you prefer sending hand-written notes, make your own cards with paper you already have. Look for holiday cards printed on recycled paper. Eliminate envelope waste by sending postcards or folding and sealing notes so you can address them on the outside. Holiday recycling helps you "Be the Solution".


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Energy Upgrade Logo
Energy Upgrade California
For the Holidays: Low Interest Energy Loans and Exciting Financing Updates
We hope you have stayed warm and dry this winter season! If not, it's a great time to make simple home energy efficiency improvements now and reap the many benefits that come along with upgrading. To help you, Energy Upgrade California in LA County's Energy Loans program is offering its 2% Financing through December. We encourage you to take advantage of the extremely low interest rate currently offered and apply by the December 31, 2012 application deadline.  Read the 2% Financing closeout rules.

To assist you now and in the future, Energy Upgrade's Energy Loans program has new, lower interest rates and payback periods, in addition to an increased maximum loan amount (up from $30,000 to $50,000). 

If you've been thinking about working with a contractor to make green upgrades and get a Green Label for your home, you must act soon to qualify for up to $2,000 in rebate funds available until February 1, 2013. Find out more.


"Give Green" by Decking the Halls with Less Waste This Year!

As part of its ongoing efforts to promote a more sustainable California, the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) is helping residents cut the amount of trash generated this holiday season.


Their seasonal webpage is your one-stop site for simple steps to recycle your holiday waste and conserve our natural resources.

For example, an estimated 2.6 billion holiday cards are sold each year in the United States, enough to fill a football field 10 stories high. Electronic holiday greeting cards, offered through a variety of websites, are a convenient, no-cost, waste-free alternative.

It's estimated that between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, more than 1 million tons of additional waste is generated each week nationwide. In fact, 38,000 miles of ribbon alone is thrown out each year--enough to tie a bow around the Earth.


For more information, please email CalRecycle's Office of Public Affairs, or call us at (916) 341-6300. Happy Holidays!

Holiday Waste Reduction Tips

Southern California Gas CompanyThe Gas Company

Give the Gift of Warmth: Donate Today 


Caring customers like you can help less fortunate members of our communities stay warm this winter. SoCal Gas' Gas Assistance Fund enables local nonprofit agencies to provide emergency bill payment assistance to seniors, disabled individuals or newly unemployed with a one-time grant for the amount of their gas bill, up to $100. In addition, Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas®) will match dollar for dollar your donation, through matching shareholder contributions. For example, if you donate $25, then SoCalGas will donate $25.

You have the power to provide immediate help and hope for those in need. Please make a contribution today!

Donate Here


Tips to Avoid Becoming a Victim of Utility Imposters

  • Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) encourages customers to be vigilant and question anyone who presents themselves as a representative of the utility.
  • SoCalGas workers who perform in-home appliance services, work on gas meters or work on gas pipeline wear uniforms. However, some other employees do not. Always ask for identification before allowing someone inside the home.
  • The majority of our authorized SoCalGas employees will always be in uniform with our company logo, carry an official employee badge, and most of the time drive a company car.
  • Most of the time a SoCalGas employee visits in response to a service request. If no one scheduled an appointment, call SoCalGas before allowing anyone inside the home.
  • To verify the authenticity of anyone claiming to be a representative of SoCalGas, customers are encouraged to ask for proper identification or call headquarters at 1-800-427-2200 (or 1-800-342-4545 in Spanish) during normal business hours. SoCalGas customer service representatives are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Visit our Safety section for more information on staying safe. 




Because of the teamwork between SoCalGas and South Bay Cities Council of Governments Local Government Partnership, a rebate was awarded to the city of Lawndale for $6,614 for a heating and air conditioning system installed in the city's former community services center. From left to right: Greg W. Stevens, GSE Solutions; Marilyn Lyon, South Bay Cities Council of Governments; Amy Vulin, SoCalGas Account Executive; Mike Harriel, SoCalGas Public Affairs Manager; Harold Hofmann, Mayor of Lawndale; Robert Pullen-Miles, City of Lawndale Councilmember and Pat Kearney, City of Lawndale Councilmember . 

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Don't Throw That Away!
Ten Common Landfill Items that Are Recyclable

As the population continues to grow, the amount of trash that is discarded seems to grow even faster. In just one year's time, humanity is now throwing away nearly a ton of trash per person. And only about 30% of that is recycled. What a shame when its realized that it costs more to throw away recyclable items then to recycle it. The $30 it takes to recycle costs $50 to ship to the landfills or $70 to incinerate. Here are 10 recycling ideas to help reduce these growing landfills.

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Southern California EdisonSCE  

Concerned About Rising Costs In the Coming New Year? Take Control of Energy Costs


With today's new energy efficient appliances and more efficient lighting there are many ways to save energy costs at home.  Southern California Edison has an on-line tool that can be used to evaluate your energy use right in the privacy of the home!

Control energy use by becoming proactive in learning just how and when to use energy at home.  Go to The Home Energy Advisor.


Ready, Set, Save!

The Home Energy Advisor helps residents understand their energy use, and learn how to save more. Here's what can be learned from this valuable tool:

  • Custom Recommendations: Based on responses to the energy survey, a resident can see their household's unique energy-saving options.
  • Projections by Priority: Get savings projections in order of priority to maximize the home's energy efficiency.
  • Break It Down: Get insights into how household members' energy use breaks down by type, including appliance use, water heating and more.
  • By Comparison: See how the home's energy use compares to that of other households.
  • Energy Ed: Learn a lot about how residents can save energy at home and see cost savings in return.
  • Programs & Rebates: See how participating in energy-saving programs, like Demand Response and rebate initiatives, fit into your household energy strategy.
  • Going Solar? Easily calculate what size solar panels will best fit your home, needs and efficiency goals.

Need Personalized Assistance?

Give us a call at South Bay Environmental Services Center 310-371-7222 and our friendly and knowledgeable staff can guide you to the latest rebates and incentives to save energy and money.


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How to Upcycle a Stuffed Animal into a Child's Backpack
A Tired Old Stuffed Animal Can Seek New Flavor As a Plush, Upcycled Kid's Bag 
When did life get so... heavy? There once was a time when things were just plain old fun and positively carefree. Then all of those seemingly ancient family members (who were actually still quite youthful) started cluing us into the Debbie downer future ahead...

L.A. Metro


Here are some F.A.Q.s about Metro's ExpressLanes:


What are the Metro ExpressLanes?

Metro ExpressLanes convert 11 miles of existing carpool/ High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes on the I-110 Harbor Transitway (between Adams Bl. and Harbor Gateway Transit Center) and 14 miles on the I-10 El Monte Busway (between Alameda St and I-605) to High-Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes, known as ExpressLanes. Buses, motorcycles, vanpools and eligible carpools that use the ExpressLanes lanes with FasTrak ® will not be charged a toll and solo drivers may choose to pay a toll to use the lanes. General purpose lanes will continue to remain toll-free.

What is the Congestion Reduction Demonstration Program?

The Congestion Reduction Demonstration Program is a multi-modal, one-year pilot program overseen by Metro, Caltrans and several other mobility partners. The program includes the introduction of congestion pricing by converting High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes to High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes (known as ExpressLanes) on the I-110 and I-10 Freeways in Los Angeles County; the improvement of transit service and other alternatives to driving; the upgrading of transit facilities; and, the improvement of parking in downtown Los Angeles.


More F.A.Q.s




There are many benefits to participating in a Metro vanpool:

  • Save money on gas and other commuting costs
  • Receive an ongoing subsidy of up to $400 per month
  • Reduce wear and tear on your car
  • Save time by traveling in carpool lanes
  • Reduce traffic and pollution
  • Qualify for special perks at work, such as preferred parking, prize drawings, subsidies and more
  • Lower commuting stress
  • Meet new friends

Are there any other added benefits?

As an added bonus, both employers and employees can benefit by participating in "Commuter Benefits", a program outlined in the federal tax code, that offers employers tax breaks for subsidizing vanpools for employees. In addition, employees may benefit when they set aside pre-tax dollars for vanpool commuting expenses.


If you are interested in learning more about Metro's Vanpool program and how to qualify for a $400 monthly subsidy, be sure to contact SBESC and ask for Melissa.


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9 uses for recycled sweaters
We All Have Unwearable Sweaters Hanging Around, Here's What to Do With Them
It's that time of year - to recycle sweaters, that is! It's hard to get rid of a good wool sweater; they're cozy, they're warm, and they are usually not cheap to buy (for good reason; wool, alpaca, mohair and other sweater ingredients are labor- and energy-intensive to produce, and there are many steps to creating a sweater, often including hand-knitting). But just because you've grown out of a favorite sweater or styles have changed, doesn't mean you can't make it useful. Recycle your sweaters! Wool sweaters (and other wooly items too) can have at least nine more lives when you're done wearing them; here's some inspiration. 

Sanitation Districts of LA County

Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County

Why Recycle?


Recycling conserves our natural resources, saves landfill space, conserves energy, and reduces water pollution, air pollution and the green house gas emissions that cause global warming.  "Reducing, reusing, recycling and buying recycled products" make up a comprehensive waste and resource reduction strategy that benefits our natural world and our economy.


Click here for a list of e-waste recycle/collection locations in the South Bay.  


This holiday season, drop off unwanted household chemicals and other hazardous waste that cannot be disposed of in the regular trash at designated South Bay locations. To see when and where you can do this as well as a list of what you can and cannot bring, click here


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Sharing is the New Shopping
Embracing the Virtues of Sustainability During the Holiday Season

Black Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year. Grown men and women stampede into stores looking for a discount, like sharks circling chum-filled waters. What started as good clean fun has become a symbol of all that is wrong with consumerism. 

Read More


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West Basin Municipal Water DWest Basinistrict 
Ocean Friendly Garden at Redondo Union High School (RHUS)


West Basin, Cal Water, Surfrider, G3LA and Redondo Union High School are working together to build an ocean-friendly garden at RUHS. Turf has been removed, the irrigation system is being reworked, sheet mulching has been performed by the students and native plants will soon be installed. The new garden will eliminate runoff and reduce water use by up to 80%. More to come. Follow the development of this ocean-friendly garden on West Basin's Facebook page. 


Holiday Seasons Savings on the Road
Fuel Savings on Your Next Road Trip with My Trip Calculator

A one-stop shop for any road trip, My Trip Calculator is an interactive tool that helps you plan your route, pick your car and estimate your fuel costs. To get started with the trip calculator, enter your start and final destinations for turn-by-turn directions, a trip map and estimated driving time. If you were hoping to take a more scenic route, just drag and drop additional pinpoints on the map to modify your directions.

My Trip Calculator


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City of TorranceCity of Torrance

Torrance Transit Begins Annual Holiday Shopper's Special Free Bus Service


Torrance, Calif., November 20, 2012 - In the spirit of offering ease to shopping the Hawthorne corridor this holiday season, Torrance Transit will once again offer the Torrance community its free annual "Shopper's Special Bus" weekend service. Beginning on Saturday, November 24, 2012 and continuing through Saturday, December 23, 2012, the Saturday/Sunday service will operate from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The bus, decorated in a festive holiday theme for all to enjoy, will stop at the intersections of Carson/Del Amo Circle East; Hawthorne/Del Amo Blvd.; Hawthorne/Talisman St.; Artesia Blvd./Kingsdale Ave.; and Hawthorne/Artesia Blvd. Transfers will not be sold.
Top 10 Things You Didn't Know About Electric Vehicles
How Many Electric Vehicles are There on the Market...And Then Some?

Check out the Department of Energy's comprehensive list of interesting factoids that you might not have known about electric vehicles.


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Staff Spotlight 
Marilyn Lyon 


December 2012 marks the 10 year anniversary that Marilyn has worked with the South Bay Cities Council of Governments regarding energy efficiency and other environmental programs. Prior to the SBESC name coming into existence, Marilyn indicated that "our earlier programs were known as the Energy Rewards Program and the South Bay Energy Savings Center".  Later, as the SBCCOG moved into areas of water efficiency and other sustainable efforts, the program became known as the South Bay Environmental Services Center.


Prior to working on energy and environmental programs, Marilyn developed a rich background in public service as City Councilwoman and Mayor of Rancho Palos Verdes from 1993-2001. She also served under several Governors for the State of California in the capacity of Board Member on the Regional Water Quality Control Board, Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors and the California Architects Board.


It comes naturally serving the South Bay in her current position as head of Public Affairs for the SBESC. Marilyn's business before joining the SBCCOG and SBESC included a communications business that focused on federal, state and local candidates for public office, which kept her active throughout the South Bay and the State.  A lifelong resident of the South Bay, Marilyn has lived in the cities of Inglewood, Gardena, Torrance, Manhattan Beach before settling in Rancho Palos Verdes.


Marilyn enjoys sharing her knowledge of energy and water efficiency to the businesses, public agencies and residents of the South Bay.


Legislation Corner 

US Senators Pass 'More Efficient' Energy Act
Reid Detchon, executive director of the Energy Future Coalition, along with many others, applauded US Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) for their leadership in introducing S.3591, the "Commercial Building Modernization Act," a bill that would extend and strengthen the existing 179D commercial building tax deduction for energy efficiency improvements in commercial buildings.
Senate Passes Bill Affecting Water Heaters 

The American Energy Manufacturing Technical Corrections Act (H.R. 6582) was passed unanimously in the Senate last week. The legislation was earlier approved by a 398-2 vote in the House of RepresentativesThe bill will assist manufacturers of waters heaters, commercial refrigerators and air conditioners.

Read More

Cities in the News 


Max Riley, 8, had an idea: Instead of his school serving lunch on Styrofoam trays, Hermosa Valley ought to use recycled paper trays. Such a switch would promote reuse and cut down on waste. 

Read More


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December / January 2012 / 2013 Events & Workshops 
Click Here to See a List of Upcoming Workshops & Events