Sustainable Neighborhood Assessments

Global Green USA was awarded a 5-year grant by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s Office of Sustainable Communities under the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program to assist 30 communities across the US with sustainable neighborhood planning. The Sustainable Neighborhood Assessments are conducted using a tool built around the LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) standard.

Agromin Turns Santa Monica Green and Food Waste Into Mulch

Agromin and Waste Management are collaborating by helping Santa Monica to become a zero waste city by processing green waste and food scraps from city residents. The amount of food we throw away that ends up in landfills is staggering. Agromin currently processes more than 380,000 tons of organic and food materials each year and turns it into compost and soil amendments.

dumping mulch in Oxnard.jpg

Just think, the food and organic waste you put out for recycling is being turned into compost and then used in landscape projects around the Los Angeles area. Some of the locations using the materials include the California Science Center, Natural History Museum, San Vincente Park, Watts Towers and Pepperdine in Malibu.

The compost is also great for yards in:

  • Veggie gardens
  • Container gardening
  • Turf maintenance
  • Pathways (ES2 mulch for a natural look)

Agromin’s Dave Green often gives talks to Santa Monica Community College students about organics recycling (next up is March 28).

Congratulations to Rescuing Leftover Cuisine for Reaching 1 million Pounds of Donated Food!

Congratulations to Rescuing Leftover Cuisine for Reaching 1 million Pounds of Donated Food!

Congratulations to Global Green partner, Rescuing Leftover Cuisine (RLC) for reaching 1 million pounds of donated food! With support from many local and national partners (including Global Green), Rescuing Leftover Cuisine picks up unused and edible food from restaurants and events and delivers these meals to individuals in need, helping to solving the hunger and food-waste crises simultaneously.

Advanced LCA Methodology Reveals Significant Lower Environmental Impacts of Recycled Papers Compared to Virgin Fibers

Advanced LCA Methodology Reveals Significant Lower Environmental Impacts of Recycled Papers Compared to Virgin Fibers

Is recycled paper really better for the planet than virgin paper? New Leaf Paper recently released a study comparing the life-cycle impacts of its 100% postconsumer recycled coated freesheet paper, Reincarnation 100, with similar papers from virgin sources. 





Event Images please credit Tasia Wells/Getty Images for Global Green:

On September 29, 2016 at the Alexandria Ball Room, The Global Green Awards celebrated their 20th anniversary and raised nearly $250,000 for the cause. The event recognized sustainable leaders from entertainment, politics, transportation, building, new media and the corporate sectors. To ring in this momentous occasion, Global Green honored award winning actress and activist Shailene Woodley(Snowden, Divergent series) and Lori Woodley, Co-Founders of the non-profit organization All It Takes; Bill Weihl, Director of Sustainability, Facebook; John Fasana, Chairman of the Board and Phillip Washington, CEO of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority;  Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, CEO of Earth Friendly Products;  John Picard, Architect and Sustainability innovator; Trammell Crow, Founder of Earth Day Texas; and Mohamed Nasheed, Former President, The Maldives (award accepted by event Vice Chair Rachel Meyer Simon).

s everyone settled into their seats, a progressive star-powered line-up of presenters made their way to the stage which included Laura Dern (HBO’s Big, Little, Lies); actor and activist Ed Begley, Jr.; and Gunnar Lovelace, CEO of Thrive Market.  The event was chaired by Global Green Founder Diane Meyer Simon, who attended with her daughters and Vice Chairs Rachel and Sarah Meyer Simon, with Catherine Rusoff and Ed O'Neill serving as Co-Chairs. Other notable celebrities in attendance included actresses Garcelle Beauvais (Grimm), Elisabeth Rohm (The Last Ship), Breeda Wool (UnReal) and astronaut Buzz Aldrin. 

Lori Woodley, Co-Founder of All it  Takes,  Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley

Lori Woodley, Co-Founder of All it  Takes,  Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley

Rachelle Carson-Begley & Ed Begley Jr.

Rachelle Carson-Begley & Ed Begley Jr.

Ed O’Neill, Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, Dr. Les McCabe

Ed O’Neill, Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, Dr. Les McCabe

This year’s awards gala featured a Farm-To-Table gourmet vegan dinner provided by Akasha’s new restaurant AR Cucina along with organic wine provided by Fetzer Wines, Bonterra, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, and beer by Sierra Nevada. Event sponsors included Earth Friendly Products, U.S. Green Building Council, LA Metro, Thrive Market, LA DWP, LA Bureau of Sanitation, JMB Realty, Icelandic Water and LA CarGuy.

About the Global Green Awards
The Global Green Awards (formerly the Millennium Awards), were established in 1996 to recognize and herald those whose lives and livelihood embody our global founder President Gorbachev's call to reconnect humanity to the environment and to celebrate sustainable leadership. Global Green is a national leader in advancing sustainable and resilient communities to green cities, schools, and affordable housing to help protect human health, improve livability, and support our planet's natural systems in an effort to stem climate change.

For Media Inquiries Contact:
Evolutionary Media Group
Julia Axelrod / Jennifer Gross
[email protected] [email protected]

President Gorbachev's Green Cross Affiliate Global Green Honors Former President of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed

On September 29th in Los Angeles, Global Green will celebrate its 20th Annual Global Green Awards. The event was inspired by co-founder President Gorbachev and every year features an international environmental leadership honoree. The 2016 winner is Former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed. He will be recognized as a global climate champion and global force for democracy and human rights. This giant leader from one of the world’s smallest countries has become one of the most inspirational figureheads for social justice and climate change. President Mohamed Nasheed is often dubbed the ‘Mandela of the Maldives’ as he was the Maldives’ first democratically elected President.

Nasheed has said, “for the Maldives, climate change is an issue of life or death. It is not a problem in the future, it is a problem that we are facing every day. Sea level rise of even half a meter would make much of the Maldives uninhabitable.” Under President Nasheed’s leadership, the Maldives announced plans to become the world’s first carbon-neutral nation by 2020. President Nasheed even held a cabinet meeting underwater in 2009 to draw attention to the danger the Maldives would face from rising sea levels.

Time Magazine has declared President Nasheed a ‘Hero of the Environment’. In April 2010, the United Nations presented Nasheed with its ‘Champions of the Earth’ environment award and he was also presented with the James Lawson Award for the practice of nonviolent action.

Sadly this climate champion was forced to resign in a coup d’etat by the forces loyal to the country's former dictatorship.  Adding insult to injury, last year, Mr. Nasheed was convicted of trumped up charges of terrorism and sentenced to 13 years in prison. Two of the three judges at Mr. Nasheed’s trial were prosecution witnesses in the case. He was not allowed to present witnesses of his own. Amnesty International denounced the trial as “a travesty of justice,” and Secretary of State John Kerry called his imprisonment “an injustice.” This January, Mr. Nasheed was finally released for medical reasons and now resides in the UK where he was granted political asylum. Today, Mr. Nasheed continues his passionate fight for democracy, and action against climate change. Calling the Maldives a "front line state" in the climate battle, he says, “if you can't protect the Maldives today, you can't protect yourselves tomorrow.” We continue to remember his determination and are inspired to act in his likeness in order to better the world we share.  

Piloting Food Scrap Recovery in Los Angeles

by Lily Kelly, Matt de la Houssaye, Madisen Gittlin

Click the image to read the report.

Click the image to read the report.

Global Green USA is working to build pilots and momentum around residential food scrap collection programs on both the East and West Coasts, utilizing targeted pilot projects as a means to be a “first mover” in new cities and neighborhoods, as well as using these pilots as a broader educational tool.

From Alley To Gallery

Azusa Street, the alley just north of the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center’s (JACCC) Noguchi Plaza, stretches along Little Tokyo’s Cultural Pathway and links local hotspots like the Japanese American National Museum to the mom and pop businesses in the Japanese Village Plaza. Despite its critical location and fascinating history, its only use is to accommodate parked cars and garbage bins.

This was the alley before the project

This was the alley before the project

Global Green, along with JACCC and as well with our longtime resource partner Sustainable Little Tokyo, set out to spark a new way of looking at Azusa Street. This project was funded in part by SoCal Gas, ArtPlace America, and Citi Foundation.  The project launched on Saturday, July 9th, hosting the first of a series of improvements and activities in the alley. By sparking the community to reimagine how Azusa Street can better support local businesses, the environment, and the neighborhood’s cultural identity, Global Green brought color to this gray alleyway.

Check out the video above! The staff from our Green Urbanism Program collaborated with artists, local councils and the residents of LA's Little Tokyo neighborhood to brighten up a bland brick alleyway and turn it into a haven for art, fun and camaraderie.

Food Waste Contributes to Greenhouse Gas Emissions More Than You Would Think!

Food Waste Contributes to Greenhouse Gas Emissions More Than You Would Think!

Have you ever thrown away food? The answer to that question is most likely a yes, as 95% of food scraps are sent to the landfills each year in the US alone!

We’re Greening the Rainbow at LA Pride

Dr. Les McCabe, Mayor Lauren Meister and Chris Classen

Dr. Les McCabe, Mayor Lauren Meister and Chris Classen

To celebrate LA Pride and Global Green’s unique and historic partnership to make the annual event significantly more environmentally friendly and encourage all attendees and community members to become aware of ways to live more sustainably, West Hollywood Mayor Lauren Meister presented LA Pride President Chris Classen and Dr. Les McCabe, President & CEO of Global Green, with a proclamation declaring June 10 to be LA Pride Global Green Day. 

Due in no small part to that previous day's tragedy in Orlando, the Pride Parade’s participant numbers were slightly down from the customary crowd of about 250,000, yet there was definitely a strong level of support from within the community. This year Global Green evaluated ways to reduce the footprint of the festival and parade by up to 50% beyond previous years, the final goal being to move to a zero waste event in the future. The city’s new bikeshare bicycles implemented for zero emission commuting surrounded the attendees in West Hollywood Park. 

This year Global Green curated a booth in order to assess the various forms of transportation used to arrive at the festival. “It makes a lot of sense for two of the most important and successful progressive movements to come together in the City of West Hollywood to help green LA Pride,” said Dr. McCabe. “West Hollywood and Southern California have been the birthplaces of so many important environmental and human rights policies and practices over the last few decades – from establishing landmark equal rights for LGBT communities to green building and urban design initiatives which have now become commonplace in cities around the world. By putting progressive policies for our people and planet together through LA Pride, we can further accelerate the great challenges and barriers that still remain for the LGBT and environmental movements to be successful.”

Global Green is excited to make further strides towards environmental progression in terms of the festival and parade. We find promise in the partnership to make changes in terms of human rights and the environment for the better.

Water-Wise Wednesdays: Save Water and #BeGoldenCA!

A message on behalf of Energy Upgrade California

Summer is here and it’s already a record breaker. 2012 to 2016 have been the driest years in California’s entire documented history, with last January being one of the driest months ever recorded and our March snowpack only 5% of average levels for the month. Southern California residents especially need to come together in order to face the challenges of this historic drought. Voluntary water use restrictions have failed to impact the severe shortage and it’s time for real change.

This may not be news to most Californians, but what can we do? We always encourage people to engage with policymakers about meaningful water policy, but Energy Upgrade California knows our communities actually have a lot of power to conserve when we need it most. has some great ideas to conserve water both indoors and outdoors by everything from simple tips like keeping a pitcher of water in the refrigerator rather than letting the tap run cold or plugging the bathtub right away before adjusting temperature, as well as more in-depth methods like installing low-flow shower heads and toilets.

Landscaping continues to be one of the foremost sources of water use. How many of us have seen neighbors and gardeners watering in the mid-day heat or noticed their vegetation isn't native to our region and their lush, green lawns persist quite unnaturally through the driest months of summer? Whether it's sprinklers that flood the sidewalks or hoses used to spray-down pavement, we know water waste when we see it. 

The good thing is that we can do a lot to save water and money (who doesn’t like that) and we encourage Californians to check out the resources below to learn more about drought-tolerant plants and conservative irrigation techniques, and remember, it’s okay to strike up a neighborly conversation about the drought. This isn’t about judging or persecuting water-wasters, it’s about starting a dialogue in your community.  You don’t have to be a nag, but do be a good neighbor; recommend the plumber who installed your low-flow showerhead or ask whether your neighbor knows about any of the rebate programs for drought-tolerant landscaping.

Lastly, conservation is the cheapest, quickest and most reliable way to increase water supplies in this unprecedented drought. Head to,, and to learn more about water efficiency. Together we can all be a part of California’s sustainable future. 

Eleni Petrow is an Environmental Policy and Green Urbanism Associate at Global Green, a national environmental non-profit proud to serve as an Ambassador for Energy Upgrade California. 


Pay-As-You-Throw: The Key to Meeting OneNYC Goals

Image Source: US EPA

Image Source: US EPA

For decades, utilities have structured rates to be commensurate with usage – the more kilowatts of electricity a household uses, the more is paid per month. Despite its similarity in service and necessity, municipal solid waste has historically been charged to residents in most U.S. communities as a percent of property taxes or as a flat fee, regardless of generation. Not surprisingly, residents have had little incentive to curtail their waste generation. [i]


As New York City works to meet its ambitious target of 90% reduction in landfill waste by 2030, [ii] the City will need to enlist its residents and businesses in city-wide behavior change. Other cities facing similar challenges have responded by adjusting municipal waste fees to address this mismatch of residential incentives with municipal goals by financially encouraging recycling and composting while financially discouraging trash. These models have come to be known as Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) and are built on the same basic principles that utilities rely on to charge for payment per unit of service used.

The optimal PAYT system measures the amount of individual waste collected, either by weight or volume, and charges the waste producer a fee equal to the social and economic cost of his or her waste generation. This assumes, of course, that the social and economic costs can be nearly perfectly calculated, that waste can be traced directly to the responsible individual, and that billing each individual or household commensurate with generation is feasible. [iii]


While ensuring that these assumptions hold true may be tricky in a city as vast as New York, the benefits of a successful PAYT program are impressive. The 2002 report, Municipal Experience with Pay As You Throw Policies: Findings From a National Survey, found that cities that implemented PAYT programs realized dramatic and sustained increases in waste reduction and recycling, and more controlled disposal costs. On average, PAYT cities in this study realized a 44% decrease in waste generation and a 75-100% increase in recycling. [iv]

PAYT is not a new concept; in fact, many of the best researched programs were initially implemented in the early 1990s. Boulder, Colorado was recently inspired by early PAYT success achieved in near-by Colorado cities. Boulder implemented its first PAYT program in 2011 and realized a 33% increase in recycling by 2007, [v] and a 25% reduction in garbage costs.[vi] Boulder and its neighboring cities' programs further inspired other Colorado cities to consider PAYT including its state capital, Denver. [vii]

Adopting PAYT in New York City will no doubt be a massive undertaking and will require many intermediate steps to ensure its success. However, PAYT programs do not require large-scale operational changes which makes it possible to adjust the current waste billing and measurement systems without any high up-front capital costs. In other words, PAYT can build onto New York’s composting pilot and city-wide curbside recycling and simply more closely matching costs incurred per individual with fees charged per individual. 


Tying generation costs to fees rests on the city’s ability to measure residential waste generation by household, which will not only encourage residents to reduce their waste generation, but also serve to support Mayor de Blasio’s equity initiatives. PAYT provides residents some control over their waste costs and enables the city to offer reduced rates for low income households. While this is more difficult in a city with more than 70% of its population residing in multifamily units, [viii] other large urban areas such as San Jose and Seattle have successfully included multifamily buildings in their PAYT programs [ix] and offer reduced-rate services for low-income households. [x]

While the promised benefits PAYT are alluring, New York City must carefully plan its roll-out of a new residential waste system and engage the public in creating its new structure. Public input serves to ensure that the program addresses the interests and concerns of residents while also informing residents of new potential changes.

Once a program is designed, public outreach and education is imperative to building the resident buy-in that determines PAYT success. A study of several Iowa recycling programs showed that residents under a PAYT system diverted twice as much waste, but only if they were aware of the program. [xi] Educating a city of 8.5 million will require a public branding campaign as well as easily accessible information for questions and concerns. It will also take time.

The city of Athens, Georgia used time to its advantage as it rolled out its PAYT program over a period of 18-months. The implementation included phased changes of waste collection payments by slowly and simultaneously decreasing taxes and increasing a charge that appeared initially on residents’ municipal water bill.[xii] San Jose, California took a similarly intentional approach through extensive public surveys and public engagement through the program design phase. Less than a year after San Jose’s initial program launch, 80% of residents were satisfied with the changes, increasing to 90% after three years. [xiii]


As New York aims to reach its admirably lofty waste diversion goals, it will need to rely on more than New Yorkers’ environmental interests and altruism alone, and PAYT has been proven to be an attainable way to make the social and economic costs of waste generation tangible to individuals. Implementing a PAYT in New York City will take time and necessitate public participation in the program design; careful consideration of the expected program costs and revenues; and intentional program branding, advertising, and education. New York City is uniquely positioned to harness the learnings of the more than 7,000 U.S. municipal PAYT programs, and give PAYT the stage that it deserved more than twenty years ago. [xiv]


Bob Moylan, Former Commissioner of the Worcester, MA, Department of Public Works From DC Environmental Network and Global Green Pay as You Throw Workshop on April 13, 2016

Kristen Brown, Vice-President Municipal Partnerships, Waste Zero From DC Environmental Network and Global Green Pay as You Throw Workshop on April 13, 2016

Geoff Rathbone, Former General Manager of Solid Waste, City of Toronto from Global Green Coalition for Resource Recovery Forum on Food Waste on November 7, 2012










American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, 2010-2014. Rep. United States Census Bureau.