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How to Save Money and Save the Planet

Aired May 28, 2012 - 19:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Hi, I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell coming to you from the beaches of sunny Southern California. Tonight coast to coast coverage, how you can save money and save the planet for your kids and your grandkids.

Great news. The state of Hawaii and the L.A. City Council have just banned plastic bags, all to prevent the horror happening deep in the Pacific, a giant island of garbage and plastic bigger than Texas.

And we`ll have this.

(voice-over) Tonight, saving money and saving the planet. Watch what happens when I go Dumpster diving for wasted food. You won`t believe what I found hidden in the trash. So how does the food taste? Watch, because I`m going to eat it. Mmm.

Time to clean up the closets? Well, make a party out of it. Invite your friends over for a no-shop swap. It`s a great way to make your friends happy, get new stuff, unclutter the house, and save tons of money on gifts.

Looking for a new place to go shopping for fresh food? What exactly is a neighborhood co-op? I`ll show you how joining a co-op can save you a bundle.

And I`m on a mission with a shopping cart going through New York City trash cans.

(on camera) Getting really good at this.

(voice-over) Watch what happens when I catch people throwing plastic bottles that should be recycled in the regular trash.

(on camera) Oh! Oh!

(voice-over) Can you say "smack down"?

(on camera) I love when I catch them.

Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell.

Take a look at this beautiful coastline here in beautiful sunny Southern California. Don`t we want to save it?

One of the reasons our planet is suffering is that we`ve got to feed billions of people, and that takes lots of energy, water, land. Guess what? We throw away 30 percent of the food we produce. That`s $48 billion of food a year. You won`t believe what I found when I went Dumpster diving with some freegans.

Garbage, garbage everywhere. Here`s a garbage can. There`s a trash can over there. America is just flooded with garbage. And we`ve got another problem, too. We`ve got a lot of people who don`t have enough to eat, who don`t have money to feed their families.

How can we take a look at both of those issues and come up with some imaginative solutions?

I`m here, on a rainy street, Upper West Side, with Janet, and Janet`s what they call a freegan. And that`s a nice word for a Dumpster diver.

And Janet, you`re going to show me the ropes. You`re going to show me how to go into America`s garbage. We`re going to tell the people at home how to go into the garbage and come out with something that, if they are in dire straits, they can use to feed their families, or to feed the homeless around them if they have compassion for them. What`s going on?

JANET, FREEGAN: Well, I am a freegan. And freegans are trying to find a better alternative to the current system that we`re living in. And so one way is by Dumpster diving.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tell me about yourself and how you got into this.

JANET: I`m a high-school Spanish teacher. And I have always been disgusted by waste. And it`s always seemed like an unfair world in which some people have and some people have nothing.

It`s sort of easy that these bags are clear, so we can kind of get a glance before we rip in...


JANET: ... and see if there`s something...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, I got bread.

JANET: There you go.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I got bread! Look at this. Look at all this bread, man. Woo! Holy -- I hit the mother lode. Beginner`s luck. I hit the mother lode. Look at this bread. Look.

JANET: It`s like sliced bagels.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, my God, sliced bagels.

JANET: We`re very carefully, usually, not to rip right in. But if you...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m sorry. I made a mistake already.

JANET: It`s not too big a deal, because it`s in a Dumpster.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look at this. Look at all this bread. Look at all this bread. Look at all this bread. Oh, my gosh.

JANET: My suspicion is that they actually sliced it extra fine in a way that makes it less retrievable. But it could be that they...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What do you mean that they sliced it extra fine to make it less retrievable?

JANET: What I mean is that I think sometimes stores don`t want people rescuing their food. So sometimes they make it in a way that`s not that easy to get.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So they know about you guys?

JANET: Yes, many stores have a lot of people. It`s not just us, but there are a lot of people...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ll give you something -- I want to try this. Hey, pretty darn good. It`s not even stale. Look at that, really good food. And I just ate it right out of the garbage. You saw it here first. This food is totally edible. I`m telling you, it`s not even stale. Pumpernickel. Mmm, mm, mm. There`s nothing wrong with it. I`m telling you, I`m eating it, I`m not gagging, it`s fine.

All this food is going to waste. Look at it. Every five seconds, I read somewhere, a child dies of malnutrition somewhere in the world. And guess what? Underneath it there`s more. There`s another one. There`s another one right underneath it.

I think there is something wrong with the world where this much food is just thrown away. There`s something wrong. There`s something wrong with that. How do we stop it? How do we -- how do we stop it? What do you do with it? First of all, this is heavy. What are you going to do with it?

JANET: Well, unfortunately, bread is like the most common thing that we find.


JANET: And it`s overwhelming the quantity. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

VELEZ-MITCHELL (voice-over): It`s like something out of a horror movie. Imagine turning on your kitchen faucet, and the water pouring out catches fire. The video you`re looking at is from a Pennsylvania family`s home. So how could this happen in an ordinary kitchen?

Well, there`s one scary theory, and we`ve heard reports of similar claims from all over the U.S. in areas where companies are drilling for natural gas.

In a process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. In a nutshell, they pump pressurized water, sand and toxic chemicals underground to increase the flow of natural gas to the surface. And critics claim it`s hurting our drinking water.

Well, I`m happy to report the state of Vermont has now become the first state in the U.S. to ban fracking. Vermont`s governor said, "It`s more important to protect our drinking water than drilling for natural gas." Way to go, Vermont. Now, let`s see if other states follow suit.

Concord, Massachusetts, has just become the first city in the country to ban plastic water bottles. Here`s a sculpture erected to show how much garbage is created by these plastic bottles. Look at that.

A heated debate broke out just before the vote. Check it out.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. This reminds me of a communist country. (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re not going to solve all of the problems of the world, but this is our one chance to make a really huge statement to the world.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Straight out to my special guest, my hero, Jean Hill.

Thank you for leading the crusade against plastic bottles. What do you want to say to America? Because I mean, most of these are not recycled. Everybody says, "Oh, yes, I recycle," but most of them aren`t. And there`s a giant mound of garbage, you know, bigger than Texas in the Pacific Ocean, Jean.

JEAN HILL, ACTIVIST: That`s right. I`m aware of that. My grandson Matt told -- got me started. He found the garbage patch on the Internet, and -- about three years ago, and I`ve been trying for three years to get plastic water bottles banned in the town of Concord.

And I finally won, and the one thing I want to say is that the media should take this very seriously. They`ve been a little shallow in their reporting. Because it`s a big deal.

It`s the first town in the country to have such a ban. And we have already -- we`re already getting input from other towns who are taking measures to do the same thing. And that`s -- that was my hope, that we would start something that other towns would follow.

Because bottled water is a scam. It`s often -- it`s draining our aquifers. It`s -- it`s making people suspicious -- the propaganda makes people suspicious of their own municipal water. It costs a lot of money. It uses fuel in its manufacture and shipping. And it is -- the bottlers are unscrupulous. Their motive is greed. They have no interest in the safety of what they are selling. And no interest in anything but money.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, take a look at this. You said your grandson told you about what was going on in the ocean between California and Hawaii. Some call it the great Pacific garbage patch. Just beneath the surface, there are thousands and thousands of miles of garbage. Poison in the water, poisoning us. We are swimming in it. The plastic breaks down. It seeps into our food supply. It kills I don`t know how many animals.

There`s six times as much plastic in the ocean today as there is plankton. Eighty percent of all ocean trash is plastic. OK? Every year a million birds, 100,000 marine animals die from eating plastic.

It`s quite simple. Look at this. Look at this. Look at this, look at this.

In 2007, San Francisco became the first city to ban these -- and I don`t use these either, plastic bags. It`s spreading all over the country. We can do the same with plastic water bottles. Jean Hill, my hero.




VELEZ-MITCHELL: Back here on the beach, I could take some of this sand, put it in a battle and give it away as a gift. It`s creative ideas like that that have created fun events like the no-shop swap upcycle arts. Check it out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So good to see you!

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Come on in. Hey!


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The no-shop swap.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We have one more. We one more here. Hey! What did you bring?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You go through your closet and realize "I haven`t worn this in `X` amount of time."

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s the criteria.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here are some lovely dessert glasses. And non- leather purses, skirts.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is for the plane. It was too big for me. Don`t need it, trying to give it away to someone who might be able to use it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some lucky person can have it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. I love them. We have all gone through those tired holidays and the birthdays and anniversaries. We`re so tired of it. How do we make a difference and how do we reduce our consumption? And how do we say money? There is a way to reduce all of that, and it`s the no- shop swap. Let the games begin.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is just brilliant. It`s not just better for the planet. It`s better for your wallet. So you`re greening the planet, and you`re greening your wallet. It`s just brilliant.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s just a good excuse to clean out my closet and actually give clothes to a better cause and to whoever, who needs it more. And it`s just a way to suggest out with the old and in with the new.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I go to these every once in a while, and I think it`s fabulous. If you`re a shopaholic, you can now be a swapaholic. That`s my new -- that`s my new phrase: "Swap until you drop."

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Swap until you drop. I love it!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One girl`s junk is another girl`s treasure.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cable-knit sweater. And you know what? it has matching corduroy pants.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a jewelry box you can put a picture in and it`s...



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love containers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s a linen jacket. I got this made in Vietnam, so anybody who wants it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I got these in Brazil. Melissa plastic shoes. They`re great for the beach.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A little black jean jacket.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought it was so cool. I got it at H&M. It doesn`t hang on me right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s really cute.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. Vegetarian. Very nice.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This one is a re-swap. This is a classic re-swap, because it still has the tag. But it`s a good color, a very good color.

How did everybody like the swap? What do you think? Yay?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Don`t stop. Keep on swapping. It`s the way to go. We`re going to do it all across America.

Here`s an example. I had a bunch of keys that I didn`t really know how to recycle, so I made a heart out of them. And this was a gift I gave to somebody. And this little key says, "Do not duplicate." I thought it was very clever.

But then I actually ran into some real artists who are doing something very similar to this. It`s upcycle art. They`re taking stuff that is actual garbage from the street.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will upcycle these into art.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What are those?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t know. It`s a wood panel of some sort.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And they are turning it into art and some incredible art. I`m going to show you.

This blue is...


I chew a lot of gum, and I wanted to figure out a way that I could recycle the gum wrappers and make art out of it. This colored background is from these -- you just basically glue these on to, you know, an old file folder, cardboard, whatever you have laying around.

And then the pods are these inside. and you just squish them and then you glue them on the back.

I was visiting my mother, and she had all these old pieces of wood lying around in the garage. So I took one and I thought, "Hmm, what can I do with it?" And I simply did a stencil of an image I found online that I really enjoyed and spray painted it or painted it.

And then these are the pods again, just squashed, and it`s sort of like a woman`s hair. But it`s art to be interpreted any way you want to interpret it. But she`s a very colorful woman.

This is a hard coaster, but you can use anything. And you just press it down, and there you go. It`s that simple.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: There we go. Ashley`s doing it, too. Fabulous.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s exciting and creative, and it really inspires the creative juices.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "V" is for vegan.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Really simple. I just glued them onto some canvass I had laying around and made a background and made a v-stencil. And there you have it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s upcycle. We are going to make a piece of art right now in just a couple of seconds for everyone to see.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The other day I was walking around New York, and there was a whole bunch of these. I believe they`re old wooden floor boards, like you know, fake wooden floor boards. And I brought them home, painted them a thin layer of gold.

And now I`m going to do something with the pots. The idea I`m getting here is to have two arrows pointing in opposite directions and then the color pods all around it. So the arrows will pop-out. That`s the idea where it`s headed right now. That could change as I go on, because art often changes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I like that. That would go with any decor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s such a story. It has such meaning.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to do it, yes. The ideas are going in my head.




VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look at this, seaweed right from the ocean. Actually, kelp is very good for you.

Not too far from here, there`s a fabulous place called the Santa Monica co-op where you can get great deals on food, organic fruit and vegetables, nuts and grain, which of course are so important for the environment. I`m going to take you there next.




VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hi, I`m back here in Los Angeles, visiting my old haunt, the co-op in Santa Monica. I`ve got to tell you, this is my favorite place on the planet to shop for food. It makes food shopping an adventure. Come on, let`s check out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ve got (UNINTELLIGIBLE) mandarins. Beautiful. I come here every other day. I like to help the local farmers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The money that we make here stays in this local economy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We do have specials pretty frequently, actually, and so that is helpful. I don`t mind saving money; it`s OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And then we pass on the savings to our members. We also offer discount days. We offer numerous (ph) great buys.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hand them my card, and they say, "Oh, that`s $1 off. That`s 50 cents off." And it adds up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are open to the public.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So you can check it out. It`s not a life-or-death decision. Check it out and see if you like the co-op.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m not a member, but just listening to the conversation, I`m ready to join.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Guess what? We`ve got another member here.

You can come to the co-op for just about everything, not just food. I`m talking soaps, shampoo, body lotion, toothpaste, et cetera. You can get all your cleaning products here. And they are environmentally sensitive; they`re not filled with as many toxic chemicals. And of course, recycled.

You`ve got recycled paper products?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, yes, because I prefer to do well for the environment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have so many different bulk items.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Take a look at everything you`ve got here. I mean, it`s just extraordinary.

When you get something in a box, you don`t know what`s in there really. You`re taking somebody`s word for it. But here, you get to look at organic cherries. Look at them. Golden berries, organic tropical mangos. And these are so darn sweet, you won`t need to eat candy or processed sugar.

My very favorite thing are these organic coconut date rolls. And these are so darn delicious. OK? They`ve got dates. They`ve got coconut. And they`re like candy, except that they`re really perfectly good for you.

Himalayan sea salt. Coarse granulated crystals. Look how beautiful this is. You really get to really kind of feel like you`re having an adventure. It`s not just that you`re a consumer; you`re an adventurer. I just love it.

I`m here with a customer of the co-op. What is your name?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And what are you eating, Megan (ph)?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I understand they`re organic strawberries. Do you know what "organic" means?




VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s what most people say when you ask them about organic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We shop primarily for organic. No. 1 buying priority, organic across the board.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That means there`s no pesticides and chemicals on these fruits and veggies here.

lot of people say it`s too expensive to eat organic, and I say nonsense. Exhibit A, this cabbage, $1.49 a pound. And I will top that with this green cabbage that`s only 79 cents a pound.

We`re now entering my favorite section of the supermarket. And it is the vegan section. Mayonnaise that has no "mayo" in it. And cheese that is so vegan, it`s veggie (ph).

But I say this all the time, because this is stuff I eat. It`s delicious.

People have this idea of the co-op. They think everyone`s sort of swirling dervishes. And you`re a business guy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don`t have to be a total hippy to come here. You can be a suit-and-tie person like myself.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: When I come here to shop, I always meet people (ph). And it was a sense of I`m not only shopping. I`m being a part of my neighborhood.

I just met a new friend at the co-op.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. You make new friends everywhere.




VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jane Velez-Mitchell back here on the beach. It`s going to be hard to leave this place.

A little while ago, I told you about the experience I had dumpster diving with the freegans, where we took all the food that was thrown out and was perfectly edible? Well, check this out -- I`m going to show you what I did with that good from the trash.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m going to take my freegan booty and I`m going to whip up a fabulous freegan dinner.

Here it is, along with the toast -- the bread I got. Let`s see what we can do. I can tell this is absolutely very fresh. I think part of it is not wasting. In other words, we would have a tendency to just chuck this; but these guys, they say no. Every little bit of food, when people are starving in this world, we have an obligation to use every little bit of food that is edible.

I`m going to leave this out, but I`m going to use the very edge of the peppers.

Walking down the street of Manhattan, you see somebody going through the garbage -- you know who it is. This is interesting because I will admit that I often throw this part of the broccoli away. And they`re saying, no, you slice it down and it`s perfectly edible.

If we take nothing away from this but that the food is much more edible in terms of the stems, et cetera than we appreciate then that`s one thing we can do. Everybody eat more of the food that we buy.

Starting to cook, people. We`re starting to cook our freegan dinner. Add those in -- quite delicious. Look at that. Wow. That`s looking good. Ok.

If somebody served you this at a fancy restaurant you`d probably think wow, look at all the wide variety of veggies and the beautiful colors and the spices. This would be a gourmet meal and I got it out of a garbage can.

Remember, I also picked out some sprouted grain bread right out of the garbage. I`m going to put that in the old toaster. And let`s see how that does.

Bon appetit. And let`s see what these taste like. Let me see what the broccoli stems -- the broccoli stems are delicious if you saute them with some garlic. I`m telling you, this is good. This is good stuff. I`m loving this. I`m going to dig in.

Take this bread that I found, with a little olive oil. And -- I`m loving this food. As I enjoy this wonderful dinner that I got out of the garbage, I can tell you that for people who are hurting financially and they have no food to put on the table for their families, this is an option. There is good food out there that is thrown out on a daily basis.

What I`d like to see is Americans ask their supermarkets to do it in another way so people don`t have to dumpster dive in order to get really good food that`s being discarded every single day.

Americans, let`s get together and do something about this.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So this is the ultimate insult on top of injury.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s throwing another impact into the mix, one that we hadn`t planned on, one that`s caught a lot of people by surprise and now people are scrambling trying to figure out what to do with it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was down in the gulf, saw the oil in the mangroves, in the reeds, in the trees. I saw it along the beaches.

This is the oil. This is what`s happening. This is what we`re doing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s the answer?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, the answer is grass roots action.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything we do makes a difference as we say (inaudible). All of our choices have consequences and that we need to look at our daily lives and the choices that we make to build a stable future we all deserve.

Cutting down on plastic which are petroleum products; don`t go using plastic bags, plastic bottles. Using less of those things, I think this country is up to the challenge. I think all of us are up to the challenge if we take action.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: We are talking about ways that we can all improve and maintain one of our most precious resources, in fact it`s our only resource, it`s the environment. And who better to talk to than Phillip Cousteau Jr. Phillip comes from the first family of conservation. The Cousteau name is synonymous with protecting our oceans, with protecting our world.

I know that you have some very exciting news about your foundation. But first, we got breaking news right here in the City of angels, Los Angeles. L.A. has just voted to phase out the use of plastic bags in all supermarkets. I say hallelujah.

Phillip, I want to know how you feel about it because basically what happens in L.A. generally spreads to the rest of the country. Do you think that this plastic bag ban should spread to every city in the United States in and if so, why?

PHILLIP COUSTEAU, JR., CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Jane, there`s no question that plastic bags are hopefully becoming a thing of the past, certainly in Los Angeles. It`s great news, I agree with you. Plastic bags are not only blight in terms of waste and trash in our environment, our city streets.

They also actually cost municipalities and thus taxpayers a lot of money. They clog up our sewer systems. They pollute our environment, our beaches. They affect tourism, they affect our health. A lot of those tax dollars spent cleaning up those plastic bags, I would rather be spent on -- I don`t know, things like maybe health care, maybe on children`s education. That would be maybe a better investment for that money.

So this is a great thing for Americans. It`s a great thing for America, certainly a wonderful thing for Los Angeles. And I hope the rest of the country follows suit.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Take a look at this, it`s so simple. Ok. This is a reusable bag. This is called the sling bag and I use it all the time. It`s stronger, it`s sturdier, it holds more stuff. What did people do before plastic bags? It`s absolutely so easy to use one of these and they roll up into a ball. You can carry them around with you.

It`s unnecessary -- indeed, I believe it`s un-American to use plastic bags. You know, our forefathers did not have plastic bags, and they got along just fine, thank you.

COUSTEAU: They did just fine.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: They built this great country --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- they built this great country without plastic bags.

Now I recently talked to somebody who went out to what is now being called Garbage Island in the Pacific Ocean. Take a look at these videos. It is a huge mass of floating garbage, confetti; more than Texas -- bigger than Texas. What would you say to Americans about the importance of connecting what they do every day, what we do every day, with this giant island of garbage and plastic in the Pacific Ocean?

COUSTEAU: Well, certainly plastic bags for a lot of people, they`re convenient. I understand that. But the truth is, all of our choices have consequences. And what -- I believe a lot of people don`t realize is that there`s an actual economic cost right now. And let`s say, you know, we can all agree that our economy isn`t rolling in money right now, and the convenience of plastic bags doesn`t warrant the cost or infrastructure in our health and the health of the environment in fisheries that are declining, that feed so many people.

So really the message is understanding that the money we spend on cleaning up those plastic bags, disposing of those plastic bags, for the five minutes you`re going to have the convenience to go from your supermarket to your car and to your home just isn`t worth it. We should be putting that money like, I said, in education and health care, in conservations and those kinds of things that matter to every American.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that brings me to your new project, you want to change how organizations get money and you want to focus on three areas: environmental education -- I`m right there with you; microenterprise, meaning make money and save the environment at the same time; and put people to work and women and children. Tell us.

COUSTEAU: Indeed, Jane, today very exciting, a first for me on the New York Stock Exchange this morning, we launched the first of its kind actively-managed exchange-traded fund. That`s like a mutual fund that`s traded on the New York Stock Exchange. And it`s a sustainable investment strategy that is the first strategy of its kind. So it gives anybody in the country opportunity to invest in -- the ticker symbol is GIVE -- in making a positive difference , through making money in your investments but also having a sustainable investment portfolio.

It`s called the Global Echo Fund, GIVE is the ticker symbol, anybody can invest and it`s designed to be a core part of people`s portfolio and allocation and leverage Wall Street to do good.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I love it. GIVE G-I-V-E, so simple -- invest in our future. Phillip, thank you so much. I am so proud of the work you`re doing --

COUSTEAU: My pleasure. Thanks Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- and I`m right there with you.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, here I am at the beautiful studios in midtown Manhattan where I shoot my show and of course, we all talk about the dangers of pollution and climate change and how we all need to recycle. But I don`t know if it`s getting in to everyone`s heads because when I walk around the streets all I see are water bottles.

So I`ve decided to do something drastic. I`m going to take one of these shopping carts just like a street person. And I`m going to go to the garbage cans of New York and show you that we are not doing it right. We are throwing recyclable items right in the trash.

This is the very first -- very first garbage can that I`m encountering on my journey. Randomly picked right here -- Columbus Circle. Let`s see what we`ve got. One, two, five -- don`t have to look far.

These plastic bags are also a nightmare. I hit the mother lode. I`m getting good at this. I`m getting really good at this. I could have another career. Be careful what you wish for. All right. Hold on.

I say thank God for street people because street people are doing more to help recycling than almost any other group of Americans. It`s true. You know what? All you have to do is stick your hand down far enough. Another one. Another one.

Oh. Oh.

Sir, hi; we`re doing this show, and I saw you throw that there. You know that`s not going get recycled, right. Are you embarrassed that you threw that in the garbage and it was caught on tape?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I love when I catch them.

I`m proud of you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I join your recycle wagon?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why not? Go for it. I think a lot of us like to say hey this is something that has to change. But the first thing that has to change is our own behavior.

Have I ever done it? Yes. I`m the first one to say yes, I have put plastic in a regular garbage can. But I`m super aware of it and I haven`t done it for a long time. In fact, I go out of my way not to use plastic bottles, period.

It`s here for the taking. It takes absolutely no detective work to find these.

I hit the mother lode here. I don`t have to go very far to find this. Vodka, but it`s plastic, so we could still recycle it even though it`s vodka which I don`t drink anymore, by the way. I have a vodka and soda going on down there.

I think I`ve got a really, really big one in here. What`s with the vodka? Why is there so much vodka? Somebody -- somebody had quite a party, ok? More booze. Read what it says, look, "Keep New York City, clean."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: What about the responsibility of consumers to recycle this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Right. But if there`s a right place (inaudible) I`d probably put it in the right place. But like I said, it`s a garbage can.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re from Canada and we`re down here and these guys are coming to me all the time and saying what do I do with this container? What do I do with that container? We can`t carry them back to Canada with us. So we have to put them in the only things that we can find which are your garbage cans here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But there aren`t enough garbage receptacles on the street to say this is the plastic, put it in here.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think that`s the bottom line is that our culture is not designed to induce recycling. You have to climb a mountain to do it. And it`s tough.

Here the fabled blue bins that everybody keeps talking about saying if there were more of these, they would have a much greater tendency to recycle their plastic.

There should be as many blue recycle bins as there are regular garbage cans. We`ve been hanging around this bin, this recycle bin for a while and we haven`t seen anybody come up and put anything in it. Kind of sad, but, hey, we`ll do it. Why don`t we do it? Get some of these puppies in here.

So there are two things to take away. One is: don`t throw these in the trash. Hang on to them until you get back home or somewhere where you can genuinely recycle. But there`s also the other option -- not using these. There`s plenty of reusable containers that you can take with you and that is really the ultimate smart choice



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you can see here I am at the beach and I`m wearing no shoes. Boy, do I love sticking my feet in the sand. But sometimes I do have to wear shoes.

Coming up, shoes that are not bad for the environment -- they`re eco- shoes and they`re also very cute. You`re going to see them next.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know, I took to the streets to see if anyone was recycling and I saw all these bottles thrown out with the trash, all of it heading for the landfills instead of being recycled. We`re all trying to do our part to get people to change, to switch to reusable mugs, et cetera.

But my next guest, Gary Gagnon is going further. He brought his fabulous idea to "Shark Tank".


GARY GAGNON, FOUNDER, REMYXX: My name is Gary Gagnon. I`m the founder and creator of Remyxx but I have to be crazy to think I`m going enter the footwear industry to go up against these big sneaker giants?

You see, that`s where I am crazy. Crazy with a kick that I know only Remyxx can deliver.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. You are giving me a kick, Gary. I love you. I love your sneakers. Tell us why these sneakers are unique.

First of all, they are totally cool looking. They look incredible but they`re good for the planet, why?

GAGNON: Thank you Jane. And I have a pink one here just for you.


GAGNON: They are good for the planet because they are the only footwear in the industry that is completely landfill free. Most shoes go into the trash, they go into a landfill. Remyxx is one of a kind is only shoe that is completely landfill-free to be made into a new product after in a second life.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So let`s say I wear these for awhile. And I get all my toes poking through and I decide it`s time to throw them out. Do I put them in the blue bin?

GAGNON: My sneakers are lab certified materials and technically proven that you can put them in the blue bin. The education that Remyxx is going to bring is going to help all the recyclers and collection agencies to understand that yes, my number five can go into your blue bin.

What happens with it after that is out of my control, obviously. I can`t control all the collection agencies. When I get them back, they can go back into being new products and materials including a new pair of Remyxx.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So in other words, you are saying wear these puppies, and then after you have worn them for -- you have worn them out, send them back to you? In other words, does it come with an envelope and I can send it back to you?

GAGNON: That is in the process right now as we speak, Jane. Eventually on the Web site you`ll be able to go to and we`ll give you those instructions to send them back to me. As I like to say, it`s truly honest recyclability.

If you put them in your bucket at the curb side, the recyclers can actually, technically recycle them with other similar number 5 products like yogurt tubs and food containers where if they mix it in there, absolutely it would go forward and it will be made into new products materials.

The recyclers on the other hand, they`re not used to sneakers. So like I like to say about Remyxx, it`s not only about fashion -- fashion and design, it`s also about awareness and sustainability where by wearing sneakers, I`m going to be educating the public and growing into the world to change. Not just sneakers but to do more in recycling. That can even go into you curb side.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Remyxx, R-E-M-Y-X-X. Check it out. These are the kind of products we need.

I wish you the best success because, my gosh, we have to do something. This is a crisis. Thanks.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: Whoa -- so good to feel the ocean. Look at nature. It`s extraordinary. But we really have to protect it, and this is the problem -- plastic and other garbage.

We can change. We can stop using all this stuff. There is another way and all we have to do is tweak our lifestyle a little bit. Let`s face it, when we`re gone, this planet will be left to our children and our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren. Don`t we owe it to them to leave them something beautiful? Really, I think we do.

And guess what, if we do change and we start renewing, reusing and recycling, it`s going to benefit ourselves as well. We`re going to save money. We`re going to feel better about ourselves. We`re going to lose weight because we`ll be eating more fruits and veggies. It`s all good. You and I together, we can change the world.