Lets take a closer look at green Smoke
Green Smoke is one of the big guns in the vaping world, providing e-cigarette solutions since 2008 and in that time they have grown to be one of the biggest e cig players on the market and there are some BIG brands out there!
Being the first e cig brand to sponsor a driver in NASCAR you may well have seen their brand name on your TV screen, if NASCAR is something you watch of course.
This review features a complete overview and in depth look at the Green Smoke Pro Starter Kit which retails at $74.05, further reduced by 10% with our coupon code. Green Smoke have recently reduced their prices across the board to make them a lot more reasonable. They do have an entry level kit for just $18.49 (which is really just so you can try the product out) and a standard kit which is pretty good value at $46.72.
Back to the Pro Kit! The first thing to note is the volume of kit you get.
What’s in the Box?
The Green Smoke Pro Start Kit includes:
- 3 Rechargeable E-cig Batteries (Choose Long or short)
- 2 Packs of Cartridges (You can pick your flavor)
- 1 USB Charger
- 1 Wall Charger and 1 Car Charger
- Carrying Case (Available in 3 colors)
Packaging and Appearance
My starter kit arrived quickly and was well packaged. The packaging is of extremely high quality, presented in a magnetic flap box as well as an instruction manual and membership.
The e-cig itself mimics the appearance of a traditional cigarette, which has been a popular choice for many top e-cigarette companies. The traditional look includes flecks on the cartomizers and rings on the battery. Each e-cigarette is made up of two pieces, the refill cartridge and the battery, which screw together easily, depending on what battery you choose the length here will of course differ.
The realistic design of the product makes Green Smoke e-cigarettes a popular choice for people making the transition from regular smoking to vaping. This can be an essential step for new users switching to electronic cigarettes! The quality of the e cig in the hand is great as well, it actually took me by surprise, it’s a solid piece of kit and one of the best I have tried.
The Battery performance
Green Smoke e-cigs have batteries which have been reported by many users as very responsive and in testing this proved to be true. This e-cigarette reacts quickly and gives you a good strong draw on the first use rather than taking time to wake up and catch up.
Each battery features a light at the end and when it’s running low it will flash, letting you know it’s time to plug it into your charger, I would suggest getting used to alternating your batteries so you always have a charged battery.
The larger Green Smoke battery has a 270 mAh rating, this lasted well for a ‘cig-a-like’ e cig and I managed to get around 3-4 hours of use before a re-charge was needed. The smaller battery is 160 mAh and while you may only get a couple of hours of vaping time it’s a great e cigarette for using out and about.
The kit comes with three batteries and gives you the opportunity to choose what size you want on the product page. As mentioned the short battery provides shorter vaping time so if you want that extra vaping time between charges then I would say go for the long. One thing to mention is the size, the long battery is nowhere near the size of a cigarette. It measures around 4.6 inches with the cartridge attached so just be prepared for that! The smaller battery measures around 4 inches.
Unfortunately the Green Smoke Pro Starter Kit doesn’t come with a Personal Charging Case (if a PCC is important to you check out our V2 Cigs review) which is always handy for keeping the e-cig batteries readily charged when out and about. A PCC also provides a handy carry case to keep all your pieces together and whilst Green Smoke don’t offer a PCC, they do offer a carrying case so you can keep everything together in one place. This is OK, as a girl that likes her accessories this didn’t get me too excited.
Vapor & Flavor
Green Smoke’s battery responsiveness gives an extra boost to its cartomizers. Each cartomizer can provide a huge amount of vapor with each drag and this in turn impacts on the flavor.
As a large company Green Smoke has invested in their flavors, this isn’t an off the shelf e-liquid. Green Smoke’s Tobacco flavors have an authenticity about them. They also offer Menthol Ice, Mocha Mist, Mountain Clove, Smooth Chocolate and Vanilla Dreams.
Not a wide ranging choice of flavors it has to be said but (and this is the important but..) all the flavors are quality. Yes…. They are all good. Maybe apart from the chocolate, I’m not a big fan of chocolate flavors when vaping.
The tobacco flavors, especially Absolute Tobacco, (for me and my personal taste) is by far one of the best tobacco’s I have tasted from a pre-filled cartomizer. I don’t want to sound too much of a fan girl but they really are that good. Their Red Label Tobacco has a bold, recognizable taste and earthy richness. The Absolute Tobacco flavor is slightly milder but equally enjoyable and the Gold has a slight sweet hint to it which I found great to use as a slight change every now and then.
The next thing that is very impressive is the smoothness of the vape. The Green Smoke e-liquid is just the right mixture of propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerin (VG), the PG carries the flavor really well and the VG helps give you clouds of vapor. If you are a Menthol smoker then they have you covered with a very good version.
The Pro Starter Kit comes with two flavors of your choice and you can customize your kit to ensure you get the right nicotine strength as well. I would recommend making one of your choices the Variety Pack, this will give you a chance to try out most of their flavors.
The pricing of the cartomizers have recently been lowered and like a lot of electronic cigarette kits, the more you buy the bigger the savings. One pack of 5 costs $12.99 and 20 packs are the equivalent to $9.23 per pack, the latter also comes with two free batteries saving a further $30. So good deals to be had if you are prepared to buy in bulk.
Starter Kit Options
I’ve tried out the Pro Starter Kit here ($74.05) but Green Smoke actually have 4 further options to choose from.
The Essentials Starter Kit is priced at $18.49 and includes:
- 1 Rechargeable Battery
- 2 Cartridges (1 cartridge is about 1 day vaping)
- 1 USB Charger
The Express Kit is next priced at $46.72 and includes:
- 2 Batteries
- 5 Refill Cartridges
- 1 USB Charger
- 1 Wall Charger
- 1 Carry Case
The Premium Kit comes after the Pro Kit in terms of price, costs $92.56 and includes:
- 4 batteries
- 10 cartridges
- 2 USB Chargers
- 1 Wall & 1 Car Charger
- Standard carry case plus additional leather carry case
The Love Birds Kit doesn’t require you to be in love, simply a fellow smoker that wants to switch to e cigs! This costs $129.60 and is basically 2 Pro Kits. It includes:
- 6 Rechargeable E-cig Batteries
- 20 Cartridges
- 2 USB Chargers
- 2 Wall Adapters
- 2 Car Chargers
- 2 Carry Cases
So there you have it! Something to suit everyone. If you do have someone that will split the cost of the Lovebirds kit then go for this, with the 10% Discount code added it works out at just $58.32 for what is essentially a Pro Kit.
Returns & Warranty
Green Smoke really know how to please their customers here. Their confidence in the quality of their product means they offer a 30 day money back guarantee, no questions asked, if you are not satisfied in any way and they even have free return postage. They also have a lifetime warranty, full info can be found on their website.
Green Smoke are transparent and open, offering top quality customer service, keeping their customers coming back for more. As well as email contact you can also give them a call and their team are always helpful and on hand. I know this because I tested them out!
I sent over a quick email claiming there was a problem with my battery and received an email reply promptly, providing advice but also giving me the option of an immediate replacement. Putting customer concerns high on their list is a big plus for any company, especially one as large as Green Smoke. It’s also a big plus in my book as well.
Coupon Codes & Offers
Green Smoke run regular offers and promotions so you can pick up a discount on your purchase. We have found a coupon that gives you 10% off all orders over $99 (ECIGCLICK10) and 5% off any order with the voucher ECIGCLICK5.
Green Smoke is a company who know their customer base and know how to keep them happy. The high quality of their starter kits is ideal for getting new customers and helping those transitioning from smoking to vaping. The vapor volume offered by their cartomizers is amongst the best on the market and the flavors are genuinely fantastic.
- Quality batteries (Get 3 in this kit)
- Great flavours
- Can use the product and if you don’t like ti they have a no questions asked money back guarantee
Not So Good
- No PCC
Whilst I was really impressed with the quality and design of the packaging it would be nice to have a PCC included, so batteries could be charged on the move. Both Blu E Cigs and V2 have this option. With three batteries in the pro kit though, you shouldn’t run out of power too quickly though so it’s not a deal breaker!
A new addition to the V2 Cigs product range but does this e cigarette add something ‘new’?
The V2 Cigs mini e cig starter kits have already been tried and tested on greenLAgirl.com and I have to say, it is one of (if not ‘the’) best kits for new users available on the market today.
As a company they are always looking to keep ahead of the game and the V2 Pro Series 3 is something they have developed to do just that, to be in their words ‘The best e cig tank system’. Lets see if this product offers an improved gaping experience over similar pen style e cigarette devices.
In the box
- Vaporizer / Battery (650 mAh)
- USB Charger
- User Instructions
The Battery / Vaporizer
The V2 Pro Series 3 is certainly something different to anything I have used before but before I get into that I want to talk about the look and feel of the device.
The design itself is sleek, I would say beautiful but this is just an e cig and I am trying not to get too carried away!
I really like the Evod electronic cigarettes for the new design they brought to the e cig market over a year ago but this takes things a step further.
The body is made to be one continuous tube where the cartage slots in at the top, held in place not by a screw thread but by magnetic force. There is no screwing a cartomizer on top of the battery here.
This makes for smooth lines from the bottom all the way to the mouth piece that screws into the top.
The manual power button is flush to the body which also adds to the whole look. On top of this it feels A1 quality in the hand.
There are the usual color options, black, stainless and blue to choose from and the batteries have the on/off function which is a standard feature in e cigs today, just click three times to turn on/off. This is a must if you are carrying the e cig around in your pocket!
So it looks the part but does it work!
In short, yes. The 650 mAh battery isn’t going to break any vaping records but it will see light to moderate vapers through most of a day before a charge is needed. It also operates between 3.7/4.2V so plenty enough power to vaporize the e-liquid to give you a nice amount of vapor.
Talking of charging, this is a first for me as well. A magnetic charging cable. it’s almost like an apple charger in a way, no screwing things in, just pop the battery into the slick looking charger and away you go. You will see a red light to let you know it’s charging and a green light that let’s you know when it’s done!
The great thing here is that this also allows you to use the V2 Pro as a pass through device. This basically means you can cape this while it is plugged into the charging unit. Definitely a good thing if you can use e cigs at work.
The only thing I can see at the moment which is disappointing for me is that there is no option to buy spare batteries. I’m sure they will be available soon but I like to run my e cig setups with 2 batteries so I can alternate!
Looks great, is easy for new vapers to use with the magnetic connectors instead of screw thread and performs as expected (very well) for a 650 mAh battery. At the moment no option to buy spare/replacement battery.
Cartridges – Flavor/Vapor
Again, this is where the V2 Pro Series 3 stands out from the crowd. The device itself is able to fit three different types of tank. One for e-liquid, one for loose leaf and the last for essential oils. The latter is not yet available but is expected towards the end of the year.
The tanks quite simple slot into the vaporizer and are held in place by the magnetic connection. Depending on what you are using the battery can tell which you have slotted in and will in turn adjust it’s performance.
The way they slot in keeps the whole form of the e cigarette looking sleek. The e-liquid tank only has a 1.6ml capacity so not massive by any means but should be sufficient enough to see moderate vapers through a day before refilling is needed.
Filling is simple, just unscrew the mouthpiece, drip your juice in carefully then pop the top back on. Drop the cartridge into the battery and away we go!
There is no e-liquid included as standard with the kit so if you don’t have any remember to add this on when buying. There is an option to do this of course which gives you a choice of V2 Cigs 12 top flavors. I went for V2 Red in a 1.2% nicotine strength. I have used this before in cartomizer form with the cig-a-likes and already know I like the flavor but with the cartridges it does add a slightly cleaner taste, very impressed.
The mix of PG and VG along with the tank and the battery results in a large amount of vapour. Not necessarily more than other pen style e cigs but definitely up there with the best of them.
Buying replacement tanks.
Unlike with the battery V2 do sell the cartridges separately, Yay! The liquid cartridge is respectable $7.99 and the loose leaf cartridge is $24.99. If you buy 2 or more there is also an extra 10% discount on these prices.
V2 Pro Series 3 video
Great flavor and vapor volume, the V2 Pro allows for use of 3 different gaping mediums (Liquid, Loose Leaf, essential oils) and the price for a replacement e-liquid cartridge is good at $7.99 a piece. i really like the ease of the magnetic connection, just slot the cartridge in and go.
I have always rated V2 Cigs customer service and they are easy to get hold of via live chat, phone and email.
Save more on your purchase by using this V2 Cigs coupon code.
V2 Cigs Coupon Code
Final thoughts on the V2 Pro Series 3
V2 Cigs have for me done it again. The V2 Pro Series 3 not only looks and feels great but it also has the performance to match.
- One of the best looking electronic cigarettes currently available.
- Feels quality in the hand
- Easy to use for new vapers
- Magnetic connectors (rather than screw threading) makes things super simple
- Vapor and flavor is excellent
- Can be used as a pass thru device
- Can use with loose leaf as long as you have correct cartridge
The not so good
- The magnetic connection makes it (currently) incompatible with any other e cigarette device out there
- Cannot buy spare batteries (at the time of writing)
- E-liquid is not included in the kit and is an added extra
I was very impressed overall with V2’s new kid on the block! I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the V2 Pro to both new and existing e cig users.
Is All The Hype Around V2 Cigs Justified?
It’s a question I asked myself. I see a lot of V2 Cigs reviews topping ratings charts all over the web, are they really that much better than other electronic cigarettes on the market?
One thing is for sure V2 Cigs are without doubt one of the biggest e cig brands in the USA. Let get straight the review and see if biggest means best.
In The Box
In the V2 Standard Plus Kit that I have used you will find the following:
- 2 Batteries
- 10 Cartomizers
- Portable Charging Case
- USB Charger
- Wall Charger
Battery Performance and Looks
The customization options on the V2 Cigs product pages are some of the most in depth I have seen, they give you the opportunity to choose from 5 battery colors, 3 different sizes and between automatic and manual. This is for each battery as well, you can choose completely different options for each. Definitely a plus point here.
I went for a white Manual and White automatic, Standard (79mm) 250 mAh and Long (110mm) 360 mAh. For those that want to get as near to cigarette sized as possible there is also a shorty battery (67mm) 160 mAh.
The actual batteries themselves have a smooth feel in the hand that I like, V2 have not gone for the faux rings or flecked cartomizers, their batteries are quite plain in comparison with a simple branding to the top.
I chose a manual battery mainly because I do have a slight preference for these over automatic. The difference between the two is simple. To activate the auto battery you simply take a drag on the e cig, this fires everything up. With the manual battery a button needs to be pressed to activate the battery.
Why do you prefer this?! I hear you ask..
Well, with the manual battery I get a better draw and more vapor first time around.
This is simply due to the fact that a second before taking a drag the button is already heating up the coil which in turn creates the vapor. So when I take that drag I get a nice warm thick, inhalation. Seriously, I don’t mind pushing a button either. It’s not that difficult
So both batteries performed really well but the manual for me just adds that little something extra, top marks.
The other thing that I love about this kit is the portable charging case.
The PCC charges your e cig batteries when you are away from a static power source. When the case is fully charged it will in turn charge around 4 batteries. Unlike some other PCC’s I have come across, this one is a real looker. Available in three colors they all look great, I personally like the gloss white finish.
It feels super smooth on the outside and has a spring loaded lid that slides sideways to reveal your e cigs. It has easy to understand lights on the back showing charge levels of both the case and the battery connected. Simply press the button to get the read outs.
The size of the case is just right, I can fit it easily into a coat pocket or even jeans pockets (if I’m not wearing skinnies!).
I can easily leave the house for a full day and know that I won’t be without an e cigarette due to my battery dying.
It’s a great bit of kit, can you tell I like it?
Lets talk replacement prices
The prices for replacements batteries are as follows
- Short – $14.95
- Standard – $19.95
- Long – $22.95
- EX Series $29.95 (Unless you want to further improve looks this isn’t a must have)
- Custom options are fantastic to get a product to suit you – Change Battery colors, size, manual/auto, PCC color
- Battery life is good. This is backed up by the PCC that allows all day vaping away from power source.
- Quality batteries.
- PCC looks and feels great.
- Replacement battery prices competitive.
The Not So Good
- Nothing really. If I had to pick something then maybe the amount of options may be confusing to those new to electronic cigarettes.
What is the Vapor and Flavor Like?
The checkout selection lets you choose from 12 flavors which include three tobacco and one menthol. I went for the V2 Red, Congess and Green Tea flavors, yeah the latter is a little on the random side but I’m all for trying new things! I also added Peppermint to the order but this was at an extra cost. You will also be able to choose from zero nicotine, 0.6%, 1.2%, 1.8% and 2.4% nicotine strength.
Before going on to the flavors I just want to bring up the batch testing you can do with V2. Each product with e-liquid in comes with an expiry date and batch number on the side of the box. Enter this code on the batch testing page and you will be emailed a report telling you what exactly is in the e-liquid you are vaping. This alone puts V2 Cigs ahead of all their competition. It’s an interesting read as well!
Back to the Flavors
Now first the flavors, the V2 Red tobacco flavor tastes great, it has just the right amount of throat hit and the tobacco flavor is familiar. The Congress was has a robust tobacco flavor which, for my taste buds, is a little on the bold side.
The Green Tea, well… This really took me by surprise, I wasn’t sure how this would translate over but as it happens it did so very well. It has that subtle green tea flavor but it is almost like a palette cleanser for me when I have had enough of tobacco flavors passing my lips.
Vapor and throat hit
The vapor is something else that V2 does well, there is tons of it with this V2 Red cart, not so much with the Green Tea but still impressive. Both gave a nice smooth vape that still let you know you were inhaling something with a touch of a throat hit. This was with the 0.6% nicotine strength. If you go higher the throat kick will be more prominent.
Also available as an add on is the ‘Blank Cartridges’. These are empty, allowing you to fill with bottled e-liquid. Each cartomizer can be filled anything from 5 times+. It’s dependent on when the flavor starts to go down hill. This option can really offer a great chance to save more money. E-liquid bottles are far cheaper than buying pre-filled disposable cartomizers.
V2 Cigs have very recently introduced their new cartomizers the EX cartridges. These are touted as giving 100% more puffs than the standard cartridges with 0% leakage. Unlike standard cartridges they do not have cotton filler to soak the e-liquid. Instead they work similar to a tank/clearomizer. They are also the first cartridge I have seen that have a window on the side to keep track of remaining e-liquid. A serious improvement overall and they work very well.
The EX cartridges and batteries can be added as an upgrade at checkout as part of the kit, I would definitely recommend if budget allows giving these a try. They also come with a bigger PCC to fit everything in.
The Cartomizer Pricing
- Standard cartomizer refills – $9.95 per pack of 5
- Buy 4 packs – $34.95 (Works out at $8.73 per pack of 5)
- V2 Blank Cartridges – $7.95 for pack of 5
- EX Series pre filled cartomizers – $14.95 for pack of 5
- EX blank mini tank – $14.95 for pack of 3
- 25ml – $16.95
- 50ml – $29.95
There really are so many options, a way of vaping for most e cig users.
- Batch testing – Find out what is in the actual e-liquid you are vaping.
- Red Tobacco and Green Tea Flavors I tried were very good
- Vapor volume excellent
- Prices for refills very good
- The options that you can add on are excellent.
- Can buy blank cartomizers and refill with your own e-liquid
Not So Good
- Again, there really isn’t anything that I can think of.
Returns and Warranty
V2 Cigs offer a full money back guarantee within 30 days of receipt. Another e cig company with confidence in their product. They also have a limited lifetime warranty, full details can be seen on the website.
We have a V2 Cigs coupon code for readers of Green LA Girl! Just click reveal for the voucher.
V2 Cigs Coupon Code
My Final Thoughts On V2 Cigs
Well, I can see what all the V2 Cigs review hype is about now. When you really dig into the V2 Cigs offering then it’s easy to see why it is so often rated as the best e cigarette available.
Here are the takeaway points
- Customize the starter kit to your preferences including colors, nicotine strength, battery size/mode and flavors.
- Manual batteries available
- Portable Charging Case is the best I’ve tried
- Red Tobacco was a great flavor and I was very impressed with Green Tea! Who’d a thought vaping green tea would be so good.
- Vapor volume excellent
- The option to buy blank cartridges so you can fill with bottled e-liquid. Big money saver in the long run.
- Cartomizer prices are excellent
- V2 E-Liquid is fully traceable. Can enter batch number online for details of the actual e-liquid you are using. Ingredients and all.
- V2 own their own production facilities.
Not so good
- I spent some time thinking of any ‘not so good points’ and there are two things. First is the sheer size of the choices and options V2 Cigs give vapers, could be overwhelming for new e cigarette users. The second (clutching at straws a little) is that the quality/feel of the actual battery is just a shade behind the likes of Green Smoke. This however is not a reason not to buy.
So there you have it. There are so many different options I could probably write whole pages on each different one. If you are new to e cigarettes though don’t let all these options put you off.
The only thing I would really suggest is to make sure you buy a kit with two batteries and if budget allows get the PCC as well so you can charge batteries on the go. Everything else you can add on as you go.
Taking a closer look at South Beach Smoke
If you have been looking at all the e cigarette review sites on the web then no doubt South Beach Smoke will be a brand you have noticed pop up again and again.
The company behind SBS also owns the highly successful Eversmoke e cigarette brand that you may also have seen.
Anyway…. Enough boring you with all that stuff. You are here to read a review of the South Beach e cig right? Let’s get straight to it.
In the Box
The South Beach Smoke Deluxe Kit includes:
- 2 batteries (1 short – 1 long)
- 10 cartomizer refills
- USB & Wall chargers
How Does The Battery Perform?
I like that there are two different battery sizes included with the starter kit, it gives you the best of both worlds when it comes to cig-a-like e cigs. The small battery, known as the standard, has a 160 mAh capacity and measures in at around 2.5 inches. The longer battery, known as the high capacity, has a respectable 280 mAh battery and measures in at approximately 3.25 inches.
Both batteries are designed to look like a cigarette and for me they do the job very well. They feel great quality in the hand and I even quite like the Miami Beach art deco style branding on the side. The only thing that I think may put some off is the crystal tip at the end of the battery. I’m a girl (last time I checked) and i like it, it sparkles in the right light.
Is it feminine? No I don’t think so, (I’ve probably made it sound overly so) I wouldn’t judge a guy for vaping one of these If anything I would be impressed that they have gotten of nasty cigarettes!
When it comes to the life of the battery I was managing around 1-1.5 hours on the standard and approx 2.5-3 hours on the high capacity, both times were after charging and depleating the battery 4/5 times. This is coming from me being a moderate vaper as well.
So for me no surprises, pretty much all cig-a-like electronic cigarettes perform around this mark. Batteries this size are not bought for their stamina, they are built for their convenience.
This is where the two batteries come good allowing you to rotate your batteries (vaping/charging). The idea is not to get caught out with a dead battery. Personally, I would be safe and add another battery in the mix. No it’s not essential it just gives that little bit more piece of mind.
Remember batteries will loose their juice after time and need replacing, this is just the way of vaping. Cigarettes don’t last forever right? So factor this in as a cost when choosing any kit.
South Beach Smoke have a few options when it comes to buying replacement batteries.
The standard costs $17.95 and the high capacity $22.95. A touch on the expensive side on their own. They do however offer a discount if three batteries are purchased together, the price is then $49.99 making the high capacity come in at a more reasonable $16.66.
- Battery quality is excellent
- All feels very professional
- 2 different Batteries included
Not so good
- Battery life (this goes for most cig-a-likes)
- No PCC to help with the above
- Buy the batteries on their own and they work out quite expensive
Flavor and Vapor
On to my favorite part of e cigarettes, the flavors. South Beach Smoke include 2 packs of five refill cartomizers in this kit so a good starting point. Even better is that they give you the choice of flavors, of which by the way they have 16 on offer in cartomizer form!
In addition to this they give you a choice of nicotine strengths – 0mg (No Nicotine), 6mg (Ulta Light), 12mg (light), 16mg (Full Flavored), and 24mg (bold).
The only downside I see is that they don’t include a variety pack at checkout.
So back to the flavors, I tried the Tobacco Gold, Classic, Menthol, Orange Mint, Franks Lemon & Lime, Peach, Grape and Vanilla.
The flavors if I’m honest were a mixed bag for my tastes (and keep in mind tastes do differ). The tobacco flavors were actually very good with the Gold being my favorite, a nice subtle tobacco. The Menthol was just OK but I have been spoiled by the Green Smoke version.
The stand out flavors from the rest were the Grape and Orange Mint, both of which were very easy to vape and gave a solid flavor.
The others, while the flavors were there, were just a little weak. There was no punch to them. It’s a shame as well because I could see Franks Lemon & Lime being a fantastic vape if it it was a bit more robust on the flavor side.
The e-liquids have a 70/30 split of PG/VG which helps provide plenty of clouds which their e-liquids do.
Something I did also try in addition to the cartridges was the mini tank. This is basically a clear tank that you refill yourself using bottled e-liquid that uses short wicks rather than saturating material in a cartomizer. It also allows you to easily see not only how much you are vaping but when you are running low.
These performed very well, I really like the pen style e cigs with their tank systems but sometimes I find them too big and impractical. These offer a good middle ground and work really well.
OK so wrapping up this section lets look at pricing for refills. South Beach Smoke cartridge refills only seem to be available in a minimum of three packs. The starting price here is $39.99 which is $13.33 per pack, that’s quite pricey.
The best price on the refills is $11.11 per pack of 5. To get this you will need to buy 9 packs at $99.99.
The mini tank is $14.99 for a pack of three, these can be filled 5+ times or when the taste goes funny. If you are filling with South Beach Smoke e-liquid then it will cost $14.99 for a 30ml bottle which is a competitive price.
One thing to mention with their e-liquid, they allow you to blend your own. What does this mean? Basically it means you can have any flavor on the planet! OK… I may be exaggerating there a little but according to SBS there are over 30,000 blends of flavors possible, WOW.
- Tobacco flavors were good
- Plenty of choice
- I enjoyed the Grape and Orange Mint
- Vapor volume good
- Throat kick was good for my tastes, I vape 12mg Light.
Not So Good
- Some flavors lacked body and felt kind of subdued
- Cartridge prices on the higher side
Returns & Warranty
South Beach Smoke offer a 30 day money back guarantee. They will refund minus postage costs. Also if you have used on cartridge for instance I think they may deduct this as well. Although I’m not 100% sure on that. Either way it allows you to try with limited risk.
They have a limited lifetime warranty but it is only for those that are signed up to their ‘Home Delivery Program’.
They are available through a number of channels, email, Twitter, Facebook and by toll free number 1-877-408-2767.
I have a South Beach Smoke coupon code that will get you 10% off your purchase. If you click on the link at the bottom of this page the voucher will be automatically applied at checkout.
My Final Say on South Beach Smoke
There is no doubting South Beach Smoke is a great e cig for new users. To break it down here is what I thought
- Quality is superb
- Tobacco, Grape and Orange Mint flavors were good
- Vapor volume was very good
- Their Home Delivery Program is great if you are buying regularly
Not so good
- Prices quite high. They do get better with Home Delivery Program though
- Some of the flavors lacked ooomph
So there we have it. South beach offer a solid e cig range. Is this going to take over our top rated e cigarette? Not for me, V2 still holds top spot for now. Check out our V2 Cigs review here.
Blu Cigs – The Brand You Will Likely Have Seen Everywhere
Yes.. We have all seen Blu E Cigs, on billboards, on TV Adverts, in over 100,000 stockists across the nation! They have even hit the UK with huge marketing campaigns.
Yep, they are without doubt the biggest brand out there and it’s not surprising considering they have the clout of Big Tobacco firm Lorillard behind them.
A tobacco company selling e cigarettes may not sit well with some people but this is a review of the Blu Cig product and that’s just what I’ll do.
I purchased the Blu Rechargeable Kit, which arrived in good time and all looked very professional. In the box I had:
- 2 batteries
- 5 cartomisers
- 1 Slim Portable charging case (PCC)
- Car Charger
- USB Charger
Battery Build & Performance
The batteries are a sleek black affair that feel nice to the touch with the recognizable Blu branding at the top almost pointing to the blue glowing light that appears at the tip when taking a drag.
One of the first things I noticed about these was that they are quite light weight, not cigarette lightweight, but I could hang one of these out of my mouth with no problems. Although they haven’t gone for the cigarette look they are nearer to their size than some competing brands. With the cartomizer attached they are just short of an inch longer than a cigarette.
One thing I will always recommend with an e cig starter kit is a minimum of two batteries of which this kit comes with. Even with Blu having a PCC I still think this is essential. The reason I say this is so you can rotate the batteries, have one on charge whilst using the other. If timed properly you should never go without a charged electronic cigarette which I’m sure you will agree is very important!
As far as performance goes, apart from the battery life, everything reacts and works well. When you need to replace the batteries they will set you back $7.95 which isn’t too bad.
Talking of the Portable Charging Case (PCC)
The Blu PCC I bought was a slick looking black case finished in a smooth feel rubberized material. I love the look and feel of this case, it fits so easily into my jean pocket without looking like I’m carrying a small brick around. The case holds three spare cartomizer refills, one full e cig (cart and battery) and of course one battery on charge.
The PCC will allow for 4/5 full charges of a battery which for me is just about right when I am out of the house for the day.
You need to remember to keep the case charged, I know, I’m stating the obvious! But believe me there is no bigger disappointment when you are away from a direct power source than the pack and batteries running out of charge! I’ve done this myself.
- Battery has a good quality finish
- Replacement batteries are a decent price
- Comes with PCC that again feels quality and has nice slim design
- Battery life is poor
Flavor and Vapor
The Blu Cigs Rechargeable starter kit comes in three different flavour options. You can buy the e cig kit with Classic Tobacco, Magnificent menthol or a variety pack of flavours which includes Vanilla, Cherry, Menthol and Classic Tobacco.
I went for the menthol (that’s my thing at the moment) which as the Blucig.com say is between 13 and 16mg nicotine strength. Not very accurate but this provided me with a pretty good throat hit without being too harsh.
The flavour itself was just OK, not a patch on the Green Smoke and V2 Cigs menthol but still a very easy vape. If I hadn’t tried the previous two brands then I would have been very happy with this.
When it came to the vapor, well, it was quite underwhelming. Yeah there is a little cloud there but again, not a patch on some rival e cigarette brands. One thing I look for in an e cig is nice, thick vapor volume so this was disappointing for me.
Refill options and prices
The flavors are limited, there are 6 flavors (Cherry, Vanilla, Java, Tobacco, Peach Schnapps and Pina Coloda) each of which are available in ‘nicotine free’, low (6-8mg), medium (9-12mg) and high (13-16mg). Price wise they are $12.80 for a pack of 5 cartridges, $11 for 2 packs and $10 if you buy 5 packs or more in one checkout.
Not bad prices but not the best.
- Menthol flavor is OK, not as good as some other brands but not bad enough to put in the ‘bad’ column
- Nicotine strengths to suit all smokers
- Flavor options limited
- Vapor production is average
- Prices could be a touch lower
Blu E Cigs are obviously pretty confident about their products, their limited warranty covers a one year period (subject to terms). As for a money back return policy. A for their returns policy, I must be missing something as I can’t find specific details on this as of yet. I’ll find out though and report back!
Contacting Blu Cigs
Blu Cigs Coupon Code
I haven’t come across a voucher or coupon for Blu Cigs apart from one that allows for free shipping over $100. Better than nothing I suppose! Click the link at the bottom to visit Blu.
My Final Thoughts
I was looking forward to trying Blu e Cigs and while it is a quality product and feels good in the hand it kinda left me feeling a little underwhelmed.
- The actual e cigarette feels quality and is a pleasure to hold.
- The slimline PCC is also a great addition and is nicely finished
- Starter kit price is reasonable at $34.99
Not So Good:
- Battery life
- Flavor is just OK
- Vapor volume poor compared to other e cigs on the market
Are there better e cigarettes out there? For my money there is. One example is V2 Cigs who have an extensive product offering that has something for every level of vaper. Check out our V2 Cigs review here.
Dear kind readers,
Green LA girl is coming to an end.
That is, the blog green LA girl is no longer going to be updated. The woman you might refer to as green LA girl — that would be me, Siel — will continue on living.
You’ve probably noticed that since about the middle of last year, the pace and energy of green LA girl has slowed quite a bit. During that time I switched careers from freelance writing to teaching, moved back to Santa Monica, and focused more on my creative writing — the stuff I neglected after getting my PhD in 2008 (and a bit before that too).
I’ve really enjoyed blogging here the last 6+ years, but my interests are — drifting. And to pursue those new interests, I have to let go of old ones.
Thanks to Nisha, April, and Sarah, who’ve helped keep this blog afloat the last few months. Thanks to everyone who came to the Blogger Beach Cleanup, green beauty party, and other green LA girl events. And thanks to all of you readers for your engagement and encouragement over the years.
For the time being, green LA girl will stay online. I may still occasionally update this blog with personal updates, but more likely, I’ll develop my new personal website that focuses more on my new interests. That site’s still very bare bones, but you can find it at sielju.com.
I hope you’ll keep in touch.
I met Heidi after the Grammy Greening Summit, where she excitedly talked to me about her new food company, Luko Foods, which she founded 9 months ago with best friend Nikki. Yes, a new food baby has been brought into the world and it’s delicious! :) Heidi’s contribution to Luko Foods is her fresh salsas, the thought of which leave my mouth watering at the thought of how fresh they are (made with ingredients from local farms, so the ingredients are extra fresh!).
Nikki’s contribution is a line of jams, including Orange Ginger Marmalade, Fig Balsamic (which is being served on the menu of Malibu Golf Club restaurant Malibu and Vines), Blueberry Lemon Lavender, and Strawberry heat (a spicy strawberry jam!).
Both of these former advertising professionals left their jobs, feeling disenchanted with having to conduct analyses of the marketing statistics of iPods and to design plans for pushing Dr. Pepper sodas into schools.
One day while discussing future plans, Nikki told Heidi that she was interested in selling jams she had been creating at a farmer’s market. Prior to this moment, Heidi had won 1st place in the 30th anniversary celebration of Los Angeles farmer’s markets for her salsa, which at the time was called ‘The Loco Local by Luko’ (her last name at the time, and the origin of the Luko Foods name brand). In that moment, they both saw an opportunity presenting itself to create an independent business, selling fresh, artisan, hand-crafted foods to the Los Angeles community.
Most of the ingredients in Luko Foods are locally grown –- They are building relationships with Los Angeles based food growers from who they get many (if not most) of the ingredients in their jams and salsas. Luko Foods currently sources their food from two farms – South Central Farmers and Marina Farms.
I asked if they are completely local and organic, and Nikki said that they are not yet so, since it is difficult to find local or organic makers of some of their ingredients, such as port wine for the Fig Balsamic spread. They also use spices in their foods, some of which have uncertain origins. They emphasized, however, that they are very open to learning, exploring options, and constantly improving the deliciousness, quality, and organic and local nature of their products.
We also had a conversation about their containers, which are printed with gorgeous, artistic labels. They told me that they have friends who have designed the art for their labels, which made them pause to reflect on all the support and input they have had from their community of friends and family. Nikki’s jams are packaged in glass jars, for which there is a bottle return policy: return your empty jar and get $1 back.
Heidi is currently packaging her salsas in plastic containers, because she wants to sell fresh salsa, which she wouldn’t be able to do if she packaged it in the Mason jars (you have to put the jars with its contents in boiling water to vacuum seal them). She said that she is interested in alternatives to plastic, but has not been able to find any thus far. If anyone has any ideas, feel free to comment on this article, or to connect directly with Luko Foods on their Facebook page.
When it comes down to it, I probably have three favorite facts about Luko Foods. Firstly, Heidi’s recipe is a modified version of her mother’s salsa recipe. This just made me happy, since I learned to cook fresh from my mother too. :) Secondly, Nikki’s jams are LOW SUGAR! Nikki told me that she compared her recipes to others online and realized she uses about half of the sugar called for by the standard jam recipe.
You can clearly taste the unique flavor of each of the fruits in her jams, which are very delicate and vibrant, since they are not weighed down by syrupy sweetness. She designs her recipes to let the fruit speak for itself. She made the point that people enjoy fresh oranges and blueberries plain –- they don’t dump spoonfuls of sugar on top, so there is no reason to do so in jam making. Her jams are very light and flavorful, without the heavy syrupy texture of others jams/marmalades I have tried.
My third favorite fact is one about which we had a huge conversation -– Luko Foods feels passionately about their products not just as a business, but as a way to power forward, invest in, dialogue about and support the food movement. As I mentioned in my Grammy Greening Summit article (and this is a point of discussion I shared with Heidi and Nikki), food is a central part of the green movement. If we are going to change our society to live more sustainably with the planet, we MUST change our eating methods and habits. Heidi and Nikki both emphatically stated how happy they are to be supporting and investing their time and energy into creation of fresh, local foods as an alternative to the corporate takeover of our food system.
Heidi and Nikki recently joined me in my home for a Luko Foods tasting, leaving me with full containers of all of their current products. :) I say current, because they work with seasonal foods, experimenting with new ingredients as they present themselves throughout the year, such as Heidi’s summertime Peach Piñata and seasonal blood orange salsa. They both agreed that it is more important to them to get ripe, fresh, seasonal ingredients than to get foods that have had a long shelf life, are out of season, genetically modified, or that have been shipped across the nation or world.
When they first came to my home for the tasting, I tried the jams and salsas on a whole-wheat sourdough bread I had made. I have since experimented with a few different recipes. I LOVE both the Blueberry Lemon Lavendar and Orange Ginger Marmalade on plain yoghurt (mmm… parfait!). I had made a cashew cream (plain yoghurt, raw cashews and a little coconut oil in a food processer), which paired deliciously with the Fig Balsamic. I was given a jar of their Bacon Maj (Maj = everything opposite of jam). I don’t eat bacon, so I shared it with my students to give them a gourmet treat. I baked a raisin flatbread (1.5 cups sourdough starter, 1.5 cups whole-wheat flour, 1/2 cup raisins, sugar, salt and allspice/cinnamon, prepared and baked like a pizza crust), which I topped with honey cashew cream (cashew cream recipe above + honey and a little salt) and Bacon Maj. The kids loved it. :) I tried this combo with the Fig Balsamic, which was also delicious. I love the Strawberry Heat with a nice thick layer of pasture-raised butter on some of my homemade toast.
Nikki has some other recipes on her website that look delicious. Be sure to check them out. :)
If you want to meet these wonderful women in person, be sure to visit them on Sundays between 10am – 2 pm at the Melrose Place Farmer’s Market in West Hollywood. They are there come rain or shine! You can also order online, including beautifully prepared gift-baskets. See below for links to their websites and Facebook page.
All photos by Nisha
Image via Blog Downtown
I have become very involved in food issues, having realized that food production, vending, consumption, and other food related issues including waste and human health are fundamentally related to environmental health.
As I mentioned in my Grammy Greening Summit article, local growers are uniting with raw foodists who are in turn forming food coops to provide things like raw milk. These efforts are being spawned by the exponentially growing number of people who have come to realize how enormously detrimental “conventional” farming is on human and environmental health, while also discovering the superior potential of responsible, sustainable, live agriculture to augment the Earth’s ability to grow and regenerate, while still providing more than enough food for the world’s peoples.
As many of you know, in the United States, purchasing an industrially farmed, processed and packaged food item containing ingredients shipped several times across the globe and requiring laboratory work (in the form of pesticides and genetically modified seeds) is often far cheaper than purchasing a locally grown carrot or tomato from the neighborhood farmer’s market. Industrial agriculture is a primary contributor to global warming, behind automobile and factory exhaust, and highly processed foods resulting from the industrial agricultural process are a primary contributor to obesity, diabetes, heart problems and other illnesses. Over 80% of foods eaten by Americans contain genetically modified seeds, and the farming of soy is a primary contributor to the massive destruction of the Amazon rainforest. Food is traded as a commodity on stock exchanges, meaning that it is grown and sold to raise a profit for business people. Meanwhile, in the United States, we waste about enormous amounts of the food we produce.
In response, urban communities across the United States have started to grow their own food from organic and heirloom seed and have started to investigate these issues and how healthier alternatives can be created.
Siel has blogged extensively about the urban garden movement in Los Angeles (and related issues), including info about: signs of its growth; books, and more books; LA based environmental charter schools; yard sharing for those who don’t have land; guerilla gardening; dirt and its importance to our lives; points of personal change and advocacy; etc.
I am dedicating the rest of this post to things you can do and organizations you can follow, join, or donate to in Los Angeles, working hard on these related issues.
1.) First, to have immediate access to gardening and planting related grants, talks, events, classes, etc., join UC Davis cooperative extension Master Gardener program manager Yvonne Savio’s listserve (email ydsavio [at] ucdavis [dot] edu). Also, check out the UC Davis Extension webpage. If you want to learn urban vegetable gardening basics, sign up for the Victory Gardener program at a community garden near you (these classes take place ALL over the city).
2.) Check out the UC Davis list of LA based community gardens, or check the LA Community Garden Council website to find out where the community garden nearest you is located, and go volunteer there. You might be able to take home free veggies, fruits and herbs for your efforts.
4.) Check out the work of EnrichLA, an organization dedicated to putting a garden in every school in Los Angeles. They do GREAT work, so donate or volunteer at one of their sites if you can.
5.) Check out the trailer for the GMO Film (made by the creators of Dive! for which I posted the film trailer above), and donate to them if you can. They are working hard to create a film to raise awareness on the giant corporate takeover of the American food system, starting with the most ancient of human inheritances: seeds.
6.) Get involved with the campaigns to put an initiative on the upcoming November ballot to label GMOs (genetically modified organisms). Either donate to one of the two major campaigns (Labelgmos.org and Justlabelit.org). Labelgmos.org is doing a lot of work to recruit people to petition the public, so check their website for more info. Host a petitioning party and gather a bunch of signatures to put this issue on our ballot. Attend this Saturday’s SLOLA meeting, where labelgmos.org will be present and handing out free seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom (see info at bottom of this post). We have the right to know what is in our food!
7.) Subscribe to my blog, Local to Global Life Works, to learn more about these issues and how actions and decisions local to Los Angeles are connected to global trends and have global impact. I host events, post about events, etc. to keep you in the loop.
8.) Check out, support, volunteer for or donate to the work of the Los Angeles branch of one of America’s first peace and justice activism organizations, the American Friends Service Committee. One of the LA office’s main projects is maintaining four urban gardens (called Friends Peace Gardens) at high risk Los Angeles high schools to combat gang violence and to create access and awareness about healthy eating and fresh foods.
9.) Check out, support, volunteer for or donate to work of TreePeople, who have been active in LA for decades, and the new project 100 Seeds of Change through the Social Justice Learning Project, trying to bring urban gardening to South Los Angeles food deserts.
10.) Check out, support, volunteer for, donate to, or become a member of SLOLA – the Seed Library of Los Angeles ($10 lifetime membership), and attend their weekly meetings at the Venice Learning Garden. If you live closer to downtown LA or Pasadena, do not fret, because SLOLA is creating an eastern library branch. Feel free to email me for more information on this (namorandovida [at] gmail [dot] com).
If you have some free time this Sat., Mar. 17, be sure to stop by the Venice SLOLA meeting, since they are discussing a subject close to my heart – crop plants plants native to the Americas and their historic/cultural importance, with resources on how to obtain and care for their seeds. Plus, LabelGMOs.org is also sponsoring a distribution of seeds — free to SLOLA members — from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company. And at the close of the meeting, SLOLA’s ever-expanding seed library will open again for check out.
If you’ve never attended a SLOLA meeting or have questions about seed saving, you’re invited to come 15 minutes early for a “Seed Saving Basics” presentation.
Image via LA Farm Girl
If you want an organic meat burger — and you want it fast — stop by O! Burger in West Hollywood.
Yes, there are other options for eco-friendlier burgers in Los Angeles. Want a sumptuous, gourmet organic burger with a price tag to match? I recommend BLD. Willing to settle for “natural” instead of organic? Try Fresh East. Vegan? Head over to The Veggie Grill. Cool with carcinogens as long as they’re veg? Boca Burgers are cheap. Don’t give a shit about yourself or the planet? McDonald’s still has many locations all over SoCal.
But if you want a fast food burger made organic, O! Burger is the place. Really in a hurry? Order it online and pick it up.
Though the grass fed organic beef burger’s its raison d’etre, O! Burger has organic turkey burgers too and does offer a veggie burger — though I have to say the house veg burger isn’t the tastiest veg burger I’ve come across. The deal is healthy though, with a medley of spinach, corn, carrots, and peas — all under crisp cucumber slices.
But really, this place is great for your occasional meaty indulgence. Get your burger the way you want it — all organic sans hormones or antibiotics — salad style on greens or on a yummy bun — always in recyclable, compostable or biodegradable packaging.
Instead of the usual high fructose corn syrup sweetened coke, you can get natural sodas or kombucha. Don’t miss the chocolate chip peanut butter cookies!
O! Burger. 8593 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood. 310.854.034. 10:30 am – 9:30 pm daily.
Photo via OneGreenPlanet.org
This is for the traveler (occasional or frequent) trying to do at least the smallest amount of something to minimize impact on the environment. Yes, flying is a HUGE contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, but for many Angelenos with family, friends, work relations (not to mention travel fever) all over the country/world, flying is sometimes unavoidable…
While inventors figure out new modes of national and international travel, there are a few things you can do to minimize waste while traveling. Check out the tips below and also this article by the David Suzuki Foundation on environmental travel tips.
1. Refuse to eat airplane food. Firstly, it’s usually beyond overly-processed slop, with likely little to no nutritional value (if you even get a meal). Secondly, it comes wrapped in at least one if not multiple layers of plastic, which all get thrown away. When meal service comes by, just say no thank you.
Alternative: Pack your own meal ahead of time. If you are traveling domestically in the United States, you can pack fresh fruit for yourself, and any cooked/prepared foods (sandwiches, soup, etc.) This also saves you money on expensive food at the airport. Make sure to pack enough food to last you until you arrive at your destination (unless you have time to eat a sit down meal at the airport, to avoid to-go packaging waste). If traveling internationally, do not take any fresh produce. However, you can pack cooked foods. If it’s not too much to worry about, pack reusable cutlery.
2. Pack your own bottle, cup, and/or coffee mug for airline staff to pour drinks in. There is no need for a new plastic cup every time beverage service passes you by. You will get through airline security without a problem is there is NO LIQUID in your bottle. Once you are on the flight, ask the airline staff to pour your beverage into your cup. I have done this several times, without a problem. Be sure to carry your reusable cup around in your new destination to avoid getting drinks in single use containers.
Photo via BottleBill.org
3. Tired of exploding products in your suitcase? Do you buy new products once you reach your destination? Try this instead: squeeze all the air out of plastic bottles, and close the cap. Put all your bottles into one plastic bag. Squeeze the air out, and tie the bag closed. Put this bag into another bag with the ties facing the bottom of the second bag. Squeeze out the air and re-tie it. You should have no leaks with this method, though you are well protected if you do. Keep these bags with you throughout your whole trip, and maybe even set them aside when you return for future use.
4. If you are going across the state, or maybe just 1 city over, seriously consider taking a bus or a train round-trip. In LA, Metrolink is a GREAT way to connect to the whole Southern California region; you can put your bike on it for free, its cheaper than gas, and get you to the places you want to go as quickly as driving. Amtrak is more pricey and slower than driving, but if you are going far and have several days of travel time, it is definitely worth it.
Photo via LA Streets Blog
5. If you have to drive long distance, try to not rev the engine too hard (burns more gas), but gently push and release the accelerator. Try to maintain a single speed, to be easy on your engine. Again, pack enough food and drink for yourself to not have to get takeout with one use containers, or stop at sit down dine-in places.
6. If you have to drive, make an announcement on Facebook to see if anyone wants to make a trip with you (aka carpool), or check and post on Craigslist’s rideshare page to see if anyone is offering or needs a ride to your destination.
7. At hotels – try to run shower and sink water on the lowest setting possible. Make sure to see if they have a green cleaning option available (so your sheets/towels are not changed everyday). Pack your own soaps and products, so that you don’t have to open and waste the little plastic bottle convenience packs they give you. Make sure you always turn off the lights/heater/cooler when you are not in the room.
8. Do your research ahead of time – where are the local, sustainable restaurants located? Local bakeries?
9. Again, do your research ahead of time – how can you transport yourself without having to rent a car or take taxis everywhere? How can you get to your destination without a car? How can you get around the city without a car? Can you rent a bicycle for a few days?
10. Again, do your research ahead of time – what fruits and vegetables are in season in the place you are visiting? Try and order those things when you eat out.
11. For the last time, do your research ahead of time – what awesome environmental orgs are in the place you are visiting? Are there any community land trusts? Eco-villages? Bicycle coalitions? Urban gardens? Seed-saving organizations? If you are active on an issue in LA, can you link with an org doing similar work in a new place? Contact them ahead of time, if possible, to see if they are willing to meet with you or give you a tour of their facility. Coalition building is key in the environmental movement, and it’s always good to get new ideas from stuff going on in new places. :)
There are some really amazing things happening in Los Angeles with regard to green jobs and funneling employment opportunities into the green sector. This coming week, the Good Jobs, Green Jobs West conference is taking place in Los Angeles on Thu., Mar. 15 and Fri., Mar. 16. Admission for both days is $195.
Good Jobs, Green Jobs West is part of a series of conferences taking place nationally. The Los Angeles conference is partnering with the California Labor Federation, who is also hosting their Workforce & Economic Development conference, Unemployed in America: Causes, Consequences, Solutions, which takes place immediately before Good Jobs, Green Jobs from Tue., Mar. 13 – Thu., Mar.15. You can attend both conferences at the rate of $295, by registering with the California Labor Federation and indicating that you want to attend Good Jobs, Green Jobs West during the registration process. Be sure not to register separately, or the discounted rate will not apply.
Conference keynote speakers and plenary panelists include: Congressman Xavier Becerra, Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa, Teamsters general president James P. Hoffa, California Air Resources board chair Mary Nichols, California Labor Federation chief officer Art Pulaski, Californians for Clean Energy and Jobs co-chair Tom Steyer, Sierra Club national treasurer and past president Allison Chin, chairman of the BlueGreen Alliance’s Apollo Project Phil Angelides, and others.
We have many hard-working people and organizations to thank for this, including Green for All, the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE), Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE), the Apollo Alliance, our innovative Los Angeles labor unions, and, of course, the countless individuals involved in pushing for transition to a sustainable, green economy.
If you can’t attend the conference, but are interested in the subject matter, check out some of the above organizations. They do amazing work in Los Angeles, pushing forward green changes at the policy level. There are also other interesting green jobs movements afoot, such as the campaign for a Green New Deal.
I also highly recommend that you pick up a copy of Van Jones’ seminal book Green Collar Economy if you haven’t yet, since he has great ideas to rebuild a green, clean, prosperous America. You can also check out the website Green Collar Economy.
Lastly, if you can’t attend the Good Jobs, Green Jobs conference because you are looking for a green job, you might find one at Green Job Search.
Photos via Green Jobs, Good Jobs West
During my trip to EARTH University, we spent a day in the banana fields and at the packaging center. In the fields I was blown away when I saw how the bananeros harvest the bunches. One man uses a machete to separate the bunch from the tree, and another man hoists the 60 lb bunch onto his back and sprints across uneven terrain. He then nimbly chains the bunch onto the train that will take them to the packing plant.
There, workers spend 10 hours a day wielding knives at lightning speed. They inspect and separate the big bunch of bananas into the smaller banana hands that you pick up at Whole Foods.
While I was watching them work very hard, what I was really witnessing was the Whole Trade Guarantee in action. Whole Foods trusts Transfair USA, Rainforest Alliance, and Fair for Life to certify that suppliers have met criteria including quality, premium price to the producer, better wages and working conditions, and environmental sustainability.
According to Fair Trade USA, “Many of the developing worlds’ small farmers live in poverty, struggling to feed their families and to maintain ownership of their land. Hired workers are often denied basic employment rights and fair wages, unable to escape poverty no matter how hard they work.”
This is especially relevant to the banana industry because the companies that have dominated it have a dark history of treating workers unjustly, including knowingly exposing workers to toxic chemicals.
When workers and the environment are treated fairly, one could assume that the products will inevitably cost a little more. So how much are you willing to pay for the piece of mind that your bananas were not involved in the exploitation of innocent workers?
If you have extra pocket change, a dime to be exact, you could put it toward a good cause and potassium rich produce. I called several grocery stores and couldn’t find bananas more then ten cents a pound cheaper than the fair trade variety, so why choose cheaper? Sometimes when you get a deal, someone else is paying for it.
Apparently a lot of shoppers feel the same way. According to a recent press release by Fair Trade USA, it was announced that sales of fair trade certified products are up 75% in 2011 in the U.S. That means huge improvements in a lot of peoples lives, and is proof of what big changes a small amount of change can make.
Photos by April Gilbert
Question: I mostly drink soy or almond milk, but I have been having difficulty finding a drop-off recycling facility for either the tetrapaks or the waxed cardboard containers. Through Earth911, it mentioned that the recycling facilities in Burbank and Montebello (I live in Pasadena) would take drink boxes, but when I called, the representatives at both facilities said they would take neither tetrapaks nor the waxed cardboard containers.
I just realized that Whole Foods sells milk in reuseable glass bottles that people can bring back, but I couldn’t find such a thing for soy or almond milk.
Any suggestions (besides making my own)? Thanks, Anna
Answer: As with many eco-conundrums, there’s no magic bullet solution here. However, I’ve got a myriad of suggestions that could help you out — at least for the Tetrapaks.
First — Can I convince you to consider making your own almond milk? I have no idea how to make soy milk, but I do know making almond milk’s super simple — and will save you money and energy (from hauling those heavy Tetrapaks home) over time. The process consists of pouring water over raw almonds to soak over night — then blending them up in the morning. You can strain the resulting “milk,” but you don’t have to — just enjoy the extra fiber.
Second — Do you have friends in Santa Monica, West Hollywood, or other local cities that recycle Tetrapaks? If so, drop off your paks into their blue bins.
Third — Are you crafty? If so, look into reusing your Tetrapaks.
Readers — Feel free to weigh in with your own suggestions.
Always misplace your keys? There’s a green and chic cure for that, and it’s called hooknook.
The memory aid comes courtesy of flip & tumble, a modern eco company in the bay area, which invented the hooknook — a minimalist wall attachment that looks cute and does double duty as both a hook and a nook.
With a couple simple screws, I attached my hooknook right by my front door. Now, the hooknook always holds my keys — so I no longer have to spend minutes every day searching for them on my tables, my bags, my floor. In a pinch, the hooknook could be used to hold up my purse — though since I already have a spot for my purses, I only take advantage of the hooknook’s nookness.
The hooknook’s made with 50% recycled polypropylene — and comes with its own hardware for hooking it up on your wall. The thing only costs $12 — and will save you hours of key searching time over the years.
Photo via SLOLA website
>> Big City Forum presents Fast Forward: Los Angeles on the Verge, featuring a panel of speakers that will harness creative methods for a lively discussion around livability, sustainability, community, and the politics of place in Los Angeles. Takes places tonight, Wed., Mar. 7 at 7 pm at the Armory Center for the Arts, 145 North Raymond Avenue, Pasadena. Cost: free.
>> What exactly is a ‘genetically modified seed’? What is ‘heirloom’? How do seed saving and local food growing relate to local and global peace? Who owns the future of food? Join the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) Friends Peace Dialogue, speakers Megan Bomba (SLOLA) and Deanna Marie Weakly (Master Gardener, founder of Skid Row Rooftop Garden), and green LA girl writer Nisha Namorando Vida to learn and dialogue on these questions this Thu., Mar. 8 from 7-8:30 pm at the AFSC headquarters, 634. S. Spring St., 3rd Floor, Los Angeles. Cost: free.
>> The G2 Gallery has begun a weekly screening of Ken Burns’s six-part documentary The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. The screenings provide a deeper understanding from a historical perspective of the people and places that shaped America’s national parks. The screenings will be held every Thu., Feb. 9 – Mar. 15 at 2 pm. Check out this week’s screening “Great Nature (1933–1945)”, on Thu., Mar. 8 at 2 pm, G2 Gallery, 1503 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice. Cost: $5. All proceeds will be donated to the World Wildlife Fund and the Sierra Club.
>> Santa Monica College is conducting its 10th annual Environmental and Urban Issues Speakers Series. Join Genevieve Bertone and other Santa Monica College faculty, staff, and students to learn how we are working on transportation, energy, food and other projects that make SMC more efficient and a better neighbor on Tue., Mar. 13 at 6:30 pm in HSS 263 on Santa Monica’s Main Campus (Map). Cost: free.
Photo via Big City Forum