An eco-friendly expo in L.A.

Times Staff Writer

Zero-flush urinals, soybean-based cleaning products and bamboo fiber bathrobes were among the hot items Tuesday at Green West, a convention to promote eco-friendly business and healthful living.

Going green “seems to be a huge bandwagon that everybody’s jumping on right now,” convention attendee Lesley Sattin said. Her Santa Ana company, Monkey Joe Speak, sells promotional items such as pens made from recycled currency.

“It’s such a wonderful concept and people are getting it -- they’re finally getting it. Recycling is no longer hokey,” Sattin said.


More than 3,000 people are expected to attend the three-day convention, which began Tuesday at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Architects, landscapers and solar panel companies were among about 120 exhibitors at the inaugural event.

The idea for Green West grew out of a realization that most eco-friendly conventions catered to a niche group instead of showcasing “all components of the green market,” said Diane O’Connor, president of Green Media Enterprises, the Los Angeles multimedia company that put on the convention.

Green West is “a one-stop shop for the industry,” O’Connor said, noting that it also serves to help business owners develop a workable model for going green.

“When we hear ‘green,’ we just think ‘recycle,’ ” she said. “From a business standpoint, it has to be part of a business plan.”

Real estate broker John Moriarty III said he signed up for the convention after noticing that his clients were increasingly concerned about their energy bills and water consumption and wanted ways to cut back on household expenses.

By checking out sustainable products such as rubber sidewalks at the expo, Moriarty said he hoped to provide owners with green ideas for their homes.


“There’s a growing awareness,” he said. “People are trying to find ways to go natural or spend less.”

At the demonstration kitchen, Chef Shigefumi Tachibe prepared a burger made with a whole-grain brown rice and vegetable patty, soy mozzarella cheese and sprouts. Tachibe, of M Cafe de Chaya in Los Angeles and Culver City, said the dishes -- prepared without dairy products or meat, except seafood -- often surprised diners who had misconceptions about healthful eating.

“It’s not boring food,” Tachibe said. “Regular people can eat it.”

One of the largest exhibitor displays allowed attendees to walk through a model home made with recycled materials, water-based paint and bamboo. Architect Eric Lloyd Wright, whose company designed the installation, said reusing products was “essential for how we live today.”

“The vision is to show how various items can be used in an interesting setting. It’s a piece of architecture, but it’s more than that,” said Wright, whose grandfather was famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. “We can’t go living the way we have in the past.”