Southern California environment news and trends

LA has the most Energy Star buildings in U.S.

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For the fourth year running, Los Angeles will rank first among all cities for the highest number of Energy Star Certified buildings in America.

According to the annual report released by the Environmental Protection Agency this week, Southern California alone boasts 930 Energy Star certified buildings across Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Diego, saving an estimated $186 million in utility bills annually. Overall, California has six cities on the list, including San Jose, Sacramento and San Francisco.

"More and more organizations are discovering the value of Energy Star as they work to cut costs and reduce their energy use," said EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson in a press release. "This year marked the twentieth anniversary of the Energy Star program, and today Energy Star certified buildings in cities across America are helping to strengthen local economies and protect the planet for decades to come."

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Christmas tree recycling alternative: Inland Empire fish habitats

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We’ve already covered the basics of Christmas tree recycling in the greater Los Angeles area. But for those with an affinity for marine life will be interested in what Riverside County Waste Management and California’s Department of Fish and Game are working on.

To keep tree from ending up in even more landfills, they’re using them to create natural protective habitats in area lakes to protect certain fish from larger, more predatory species. Trees taken to the Lamb Canyon and Badlands landfills will be used specifically to the Department of Fish and Game for this marine-based program.

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How to: recycle your Christmas tree

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As hard as it is to believe, the holiday chaos of 2011 is over. After bearing witness to everything from Black Friday pepper-spray attacks to Air Jordan riots, it won’t be a very emotional goodbye.

Now is when we have to deal with the grim post-holiday realities: going back to work/school, reconciling weight gained from all of those Christmas cookies and of course, what to do with that big, glorious tree still perched in the center of the living room.

Thankfully, Southern California has made it easy for residents to dispose of that Douglas Fir responsibly, which means recycling.

Break out a handsaw and cut that sucker down to size and toss the pieces in the convenient green recycling bins around the city. You can even just leave the tree next to the bin, and it will be hauled away by the sanitation department. Just remember to remove all ornaments and decorations!

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