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Go green, save green: 5 eco-freebies for Angelenos

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Going eco often automatically helps you save money, basically cuz you waste less -- gas, water, electricity, etc. But LA's a city that gives away free stuff to help you go eco. Here's 5 to take advantage of:

Free energy-saving fridge! If your income's low and you have an old, energy-sapping fridge, the LA DWP'll swap it out for a free, modern fridge. Yes, a free new fridge! Those not poor enough to take advantage of this program can still get a $100.00 combined rebate for buying a new Energy Star fridge and recycle the old one.

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Free shade trees. If you're an LA DWP customer, you can get up to 7 free shade trees. And shade trees'll keep saving money on your electricity bill for years to come -- Turn off the AC and let the trees naturally cool off your house.

Free rain barrels. It doesn't rain often, but it did rain yesterday -- and Santa Monica residents whose downspout currently drains to pavement can get a free rain barrel, complete with a filter bag and a spigot for attaching a hose to water your lawn or garden. Just call Matt Henigan at 310.458.8716 x 2 or email and ask for it.

Free eco-classes. If you're overwhelmed by all the eco-advice out there and don't know where to start, consider taking the Sustainable Works' 6-week residential program. Although the program's funded by the city of Santa Monica, any LA-area resident can participate. There is a suggested donation of $25, but this is really, really only a suggestion -- When I took the class, I didn't get asked for a donation, and never gave one.

Free everything else. Join LA's freecycle network, and you can get all sortsa free stuff from people giving them away. And it's not just crap! I've given away everything from a nice hiking backpack to camera filters, and received a free TV plus a stand to put it on, among other things.

Photo by Zach Behrens