Go high tech to beat the heat, and help ILACSD!

When you’re rushing to get ready for work in the morning, how often do you run out of the house and forget to adjust the thermostat when you know no one will be home?

Or have you ever been at work already when SDG&E announces a Reduce Your Use alert, and you can’t get those savings because you won’t be home?

In this summer heat, wouldn’t it be great to come home to a nice cool house without having to run the air conditioning all day?

ThermostatNow you can! With SDG&E’s new Reduce Your Use Thermostat, you’ve got the freedom to adjust the temperature in your home whenever and wherever you are – right from your phone or mobile device. And until July 25th, there is an added incentive – you can get this new thermostat for free, and benefit ILACSD!

Not only can you control your new programmable thermostat remotely, on Reduce Your Use days, it can help you earn an even higher credit by allowing your air conditioner to cycle or be raised 4 degrees.

Here’s how it works:

  • To see if your home qualifies for this offer, visit sdge.com/thermoenroll and use the promo code ‘CleanSD’ between now and July 25th.
  • ILACSD earns $20 for each completed form using our promo code during the promotional period (Note: If you find out you aren’t eligible, you can still sign up for Reduce Your Use notifications and complete this short survey. ILACSD will receive $5!)
  • SDG&E will review your application and if you are approved, you will be contacted by a contractor who will install your new thermostat, and show you how to use it, at no cost to you!

Want to know more about the Reduce Your Use Thermostat? Check out SDG&E’s website for the full run down: http://www.sdge.com/residential/reduce-your-use-thermostat

Requirements for the Reduce Your Use Thermostat:

  • Must be an SDG&E account holder in good standing.
  • Must be a homeowner (offer not available to renters at this time).
  • Must have a central air conditioning unit.
  • Must NOT be currently receiving the Medical Baseline discount.

Not eligible for the thermostat? Sign up for a Reduce Your Use notification to be eligible for bill credits for conservation on hot days. After you enroll, complete this quick questionnaire to be entered into a drawing to win a 3-pack of LED light bulbs.

Clean Beach Coalition hits the sand to celebrate summer with cleaner beaches!

Today’s post comes from our Director of Community Events, Natalie Roberts! natalie

In addition to the many cleanups ILACSD hosts each year, we also aim to prevent beach litter before it hits the sand through our annual Clean Beach Coalition program. Every summer, we partner with FreePB, City of San Diego Parks and Recreation, lifeguards, and police to make sure everyone has a safe, enjoyable, and clean day at the beach over popular holiday weekends.

You may have noticed the huge temporary trash and recycling bins if you were one of the many beachgoers that took advantage of the great weather over Memorial Day weekend and visited Ocean Beach, Mission Beach, Mission Bay, or Pacific Beach.  The Clean Beach Coalition teams up to order and place hundreds of these bins so that there is a convenient place to get rid of your food wrapper, or to recycle your water bottle, while you are at the beach this summer.

The bins are purchased thanks to our generous sponsors, including Think Blue San Diego, PB Shoreclub, Typhoon Saloon, SeaWorld, Heller Foundation, Sandbar, Tavern, Rubios, Anheuser Busch, Vavi, Mission Beach Women’s Club, and Bar West.

photo 4

This year, we partnered with CA State Beaches in North County, as well as Urban Corps, Friends of Cardiff and Carlsbad State Beaches, and the Carlsbad Charitable Fund to place additional recycling and trash bins at North County beaches as well!


You can go one step further and join us in preventing trash by bringing your own reusable items to the beach.  Examples include investing in a permanent cooler that you can reuse over and over rather than the single use Styrofoam cooler, using Tupperware for your beach snacks to also prevent against seagulls, sand, and bugs, and a reusable water bottle.


Otherwise, be sure to look for and use the big trash and recycling bins over the 4th of July weekend!

What does a year’s worth of education presentations look like?

Today’s post comes from our Environmental Educator, Monica Rosquillas.



It’s been a very busy year in the ILACSD education department! Our 5 educators kept very busy travelling to schools all over the county presenting to thousands of students on issues ranging from waste reduction and water conservation to motor oil pollution prevention and watershed protection. Here’s a recap of our eventful year.


  • The education department delivered 572 educational presentations to 24,803 students!
  • We presented in all corners of the county, from San Ysidro High School to Fallbrook High School and from Jacumba Middle School to beautiful Warner Springs.
  • Our students ranged from enthusiastic kindergarteners to Adult English Language Learners eager to learn about San Diego’s environmental issues.
  • We returned to friendly campuses like Garfield High, Aviara Oaks Elementary, and Hillsdale High School. We also visited new locations like Mission Vista High, Eastlake High, and Diegueño Middle School.
  • Our busiest months were April and October, tied with 90 presentations each!

IMG_6633All of us in the education department love spreading the message of a clean San Diego, but student letters like the ones below, make it all the more worth it!

Dear Monica,

Thank you so much for coming to talk to us on Monday! It really impacted me and showed me how much the little things we can do to keep our water clean can have an effect on our land. Your presentation was really eye-opening and I’ll definitely be sure to pick up littler, and try to compost more! Thanks again!

8th Grade Science Student
Diegueño Middle School

Dear Miss Monica,

From your presentation I learned a lot about what happens when it rains. I have a new puppy and from your presentation I learned how important it is to clean up after her. Your speech also inspired me to help with beach and river cleanups around San Diego.

Thank you sooo much!

8th Grade Science Student
Diegueño Middle School


That’s a wrap on Kids’ Ocean Day 2014!

Today’s post comes from our Education Coordinator, Erika Bjorkquist.Erika-team

The 2014 Kid’s Ocean Day has come and gone I am even more impressed than last year. First, I have to hand it to our amazing educator, Monica, for creating such an amazing aerial art design. The throwback to our first mascot, Pelican Pete, celebrates the 60 years ILACSD has been working to educate and empower individuals to conserve the environment. Kudos!

Kids' Ocean Day 2014

Next, we had AMAZING volunteers! A big thanks to Brown and Caldwell, Enel Green Power, Kohl’s, National University, Prometheus Labs, Sony, Target, and Verint Systems Inc., and ILACSD Board Members for all of your help – we couldn’t have done it without ya’ll.

Lastly, thanks to the 791 students (61 first time beach goers), 33 teachers, and 78 chaperones, who decided to make a difference – your impact will have a lasting impression [that can be seen from the sky!].

Want to get involved? This program is funded by the California Coastal Commission’s Whale Tail Grant – next time you see someone driving with a whale tail license plate, give them a thumbs up, or even purchase one yourself! You could be providing an underprivileged student with their first opportunity to go to the beach.

What’s Better Than Recycling? Reuse and Repair!

Today’s blog post comes from ILACSD’s Program Assistant – Educator, Bethany Edgar, who breaks down the Reuse & Repair area of San Diego’s Earth Fair 2014.  Bethany_cropped


Thanks to the efforts of the SD Reuse and Repair Network and their partners, this year’s Earth Fair in Balboa Park featured an area dedicated exclusively to the important topic of “Reduce, Reuse, Repair, and Repurpose.”  This area was the perfect opportunity for I Love A Clean San Diego to promote our new repair database, www.RepairSD.org.   People were excited to hear about this helpful new resource, commenting how difficult it can be to find information online about repairing things.  After trying out the database on a tablet at our booth, quite a few people said they were impressed with how user-friendly the database is and that they would definitely use it and help spread the word about this useful tool!

 For those of you who may have missed out on this unique and inspiring section of the fair, here are some highlights:

 SD Reuse and Repair Network

This network of local businesses, municipalities, non-profits, and interested citizens created a stage area offering workshops for fairgoers on a variety of topics including bike repair, San Diego’s zero waste plans, and furniture transformation.  In their booth they showcased a number of creatively repurposed furniture items that were rescued from a truck of leftovers from a Goodwill auction on its way to the landfill, including:

This old headboard was turned into a coffee table

This old headboard was turned into a coffee table

A dresser drawer turned into a herb garden box and a broken chair turned into a plant stand!

A dresser drawer turned into a herb garden box and a broken chair turned into a plant stand!


Bikes del Pueblo

“Learn, fix, build, ride”

Bikes del Pueblo is a dedicated collective that seeks to empower local communities through bicycle education by offering open workshops to assist people in building, maintaining, and repairing their bikes.  During the Earth Fair they taught several bicycle repair workshops and provided free bicycle repair manuals to fairgoers. You can find them every Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm at the City Heights Farmer’s Market where they set up a mini-shop to walk people through the process of fixing their own bikes.


Boxed Green

“Cheap, gently used boxes near you”

Boxed Green works to reuse cardboard boxes by connecting San Diegans who need boxes with local retailers who have boxes to spare.  On Boxed Green’s user-friendly website, San Diegans can choose a nearby retailer, purchase boxes online for just $1 per box, then pick up the gently used boxes at their convenience directly from the retailer. This unique service saves trees and saves customers time and money when looking for moving boxes.  Plus, a portion of all sales is donated to eco-focused non-profits!


Knife Savers

“Lost your edge? We can get it back for you!”

Jim Green, owner and proprietor of Knife Savers, scours thrift stores and swap meets for high quality old knives that need repair and then sells the refurbished knives at reasonable prices, thereby keeping precious resources out of our landfills and providing a valuable service to the community. Contact Jim at jimg@knifesavers.com or (619) 846-6526



“materials for art & learning”

Judith Toepel has created this innovative non-profit as a community building resource for clean, usable materials that may have been considered waste.  reInterpret collaborates with schools, teachers, artists, and businesses on the topic of sustainability, industry, arts and education.  They offer teacher workshops to inspire the use of recycled materials to aid in learning math, science, language, and creative arts as a means of meeting the Common Core Standards.


Of course, if you are ever looking for repurpose ideas, you can always check out our Pinterest page, or if you need a place to repair items, look no further than www.RepairSD.org.

And the Award Goes to…

As I Love A Clean San Diego celebrates its 60th year, we are prompted top look back on our history and the people that carried us to success. The strength of our organization today is due to the efforts of many individuals, corporations and government entities who believed in a Clean San Diego!

Below are the 60th Anniversary Clean San Diego honorees, award winners and finalists, who were honored at our 60th Anniversary Celebration on Thursday May 29th.


Former staff and board members that continued their involvement. These alumni represent ILACSD in the community and help to spread the word about the importance of ILACSD’s work.

Cynthia Mallett: Cynthia started at ILACSD fresh out of college, first as an intern then as staff member on the education team, and now at the City of Oceanside’s Clean Water Program. She has stayed connected as a donor, program partner, and volunteer ever since, leading Oceanside beaches and creeks as a site captain for Creek to Bay and Coastal Cleanup Day for over 20 years. Cynthia also championed the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program for the City of Oceanside in collaboration with ILACSD.

Finalists: Joyce Coffee, Lana Findlay


Long-standing volunteers that have served in a leadership position for over a decade, acting as a community catalyst who has taken ownership of an outdoor area in San Diego County and invested time and energy to protect and enhance it with ILACSD.

Linda Pennington: Linda has been volunteering with ILACSD for several decades, inspiring community volunteerism and pride in her City Heights neighborhood. Linda recruits site captains and volunteers by inspiring others to take ownership of their local canyons. She has helped to enlist dozens of Creek to Bay and Coastal Cleanup Day site captains for this underserved area.

Finalists: Jane Donley, Barbara Cleves


These honorees lead by example through environmental innovation that promotes ILACSD’s mission and benefits the region.

San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox: Supervisor Cox has been a dedicated supporter of ILACSD for more than 15 years. He was recently appointed as a commissioner on the California Coastal Commission, whose Public Education programs include ILACSD’s annual Coastal Cleanup Day, Kids’ Ocean Day and the year-round Adopt-A-Beach program.

County of San Diego: The County Board of Supervisors was instrumental in the formation of the War Against Litter Committee in 1954, which later evolved into I Love A Clean San Diego. Currently, the County of San Diego funds ILACSD programs, including WasteFreeSD.org and the organizations recycling call center, 1-877-R-1-EARTH.

City of San Diego: The City of San Diego was also instrumental in the formation of the War Against Litter Committee in 1954, which evolved into ILACSD.  The City and ILACSD have collaborated for decades and currently partner on High School environmental education, community outreach, cleanups, and pollution prevention campaigns.

City of Chula Vista: The City of Chula Vista has worked with ILACSD on multiple programs since 1999, including cleanups, education, used motor oil recycling, and after school programs. Chula Vista and ILACSD have collaborated on progressive environmental programming & lead regional initiatives encouraging collaboration with other San Diego cities.


Local companies with strong employee volunteer engagement. Winners and finalists were chosen in 3 groups based on employee presence in San Diego. 

D-Max Engineering: D-Max Engineering has collaborated with ILACSD for a decade, through its Storm Drain Stenciling program, and countywide cleanup events Creek to Bay and Coastal Cleanup Day. D-Max Engineering employees participate in countywide events annually, and also lead as site captains at underserved locations.

Finalists: RECON Environmental, McKenna Long & Aldridge

Harrah’s Resort Southern California: Employees from Harrah’s Resort have participated in our Adopt-A-Beach program at Bucanneer Beach in Oceanside for more than 5 years. Additionally, they have served as site captains of both their Bucanneer Beach location and a handful of inland sites, including Dixon Lake and Lake Wohlford for Creek to Bay and Coastal Cleanup Day.

Finalists: Cubic, Recreational Equipment Inc (REI)

General Dynamics, NASSCO: NASSCO employees have volunteered with ILACSD since the 1970’s, serving as one of the organization’s longest standing partners. Volunteers from NASSCO host clean ups along Chollas Creek annually, emphasizing the importance of cleaning up locally by literally cleaning up their own backyard, as Chollas Creek empties into the San Diego Bay near their shipyard.

Finalists: San Diego Gas & Electric, Qualcomm


Corporate partnership with long-term collaborations through volunteerism and program support.

San Diego Gas & Electric: SDG&E has supported ILACSD’s education and cleanups programs for decades. Employees also lead beautification projects during Coastal Cleanup Day, and represent the largest volunteer group countywide.

Finalists: Republic Services, SeaWorld San Diego


Fellow nonprofit organizations with longstanding partnerships with ILACSD and a history of strong collaboration.

Girl Scouts San Diego: The Girl Scouts have partnered with ILACSD since the 1960’s, providing scouts to spread awareness of pollution prevention issues.  Thousands of scouts participate in ILACSD cleanup programs annually including Creek to Bay, Coastal Cleanup Day, and Adopt A Beach, earning patches for their service. ILACSD was proud to be a signature partner as the Girl Scouts celebrated their 100th anniversary recently.


Young environmental steward who is involved with ILACSD through various community leadership activities.

Aubrey Arevalo: Aubrey is a member of the Think Blue Brigade, and has worked to establish an environmental club at her University City High School campus. Through the Brigade, Aubrey has participated in numerous environmental events including Storm Drain Stenciling Day and Creek to Bay, recruiting classmates to participate. She has also created and led two storm drain stenciling days on her campus, and served as a Creek to Bay site captain at Crown Point Shores.





Plastic Bags. Are they recyclable?

Our Hotline Assistant Barbara Lopez breaks down plastic bag recycling. BLopez_team

Did you know that San Diego uses 500 million plastic bags every year? And what’s even more shocking…less than 3% of plastic bags are recycled in California. While there are lots of discussions regarding plastic bag bans and ordinances, until we can cut down on our plastic bag usage, let’s talk more about recycling them!

Plastic bag usage

Some background about bans:

There has been much debate recently, both locally and at the state level, regarding plastic bag bans. At the state level, State Senator Alex Padilla is looking to reintroduce legislation that would keep grocery stores and pharmacies from providing customers with single-use plastic bags by July 1, 2015. If this legislation passes, it would make California the first state in the country to ban plastic bags. Locally, San Diego City Council is also looking to vote on a citywide single use plastic bag ordinance later this year. Supporters of such bills argue too many plastic bags end up as litter or take up space in landfills since few of them are recycled. Of the 14 billion plastic bags that Californians use per year, very few of those are actually recycled. Instead, they end up in landfills or as litter on the side of roads and on beaches! But that isn’t to say that there is no market out there for plastic bags.

The skinny on recycling plastic bags:

Many of you may already know that plastic bags do not belong in our curbside recycling. However, we are often asked why we can’t simply put plastic bags in our bins at home. The answer: recycling facilities are set up to separate rigid plastics from other recyclables- paper, aluminum cans, and glass. Current recycling machinery is just not set up to sort plastic bags and film; they would just get tangled in the equipment.

Although plastic bags cannot be placed in curbside recycling bins, they can be recycled. Many grocery stores collect plastic bags, usually placing bins near the front entrance of the store. In fact, many of these stores also take other types of plastic film, such as produce bags and plastic packaging film. Returned plastic bags are then sent to a recycling processor and are turned into different plastic products such as composite lumber, pallets, crates, and pipes.


If you need help finding a location to take your plastic bags, check out our handy recycling database, www.WasteFreeSD.org!


Throwing it Back for Kids’ Ocean Day 2014

Today’s blog post comes from aerial art aficionado and environmental educator extraordinaire Erika BjorkquistErika-team


It’s that time of year again; we are rushing from school to school and getting gloves and bags ready for the annual Kids’ Ocean Day! This year, Kids’ Ocean Day will be celebrated in San Diego on June 5th at Crown Point Shores on Mission Bay. This event brings close to 1,000 elementary school students from low-income communities to the beach to participate in a beach cleanup and create a message about ocean conservation that can be seen from the sky (aka aerial art)!

In the past, messages have included  the words, “Listen” “Defend our Sea” “Coexist” and “Sustain Life”. This year, we put our spin on Ocean Literacy Principle #1 and our message will be “One CLEAN Ocean.” This is all part of a statewide program organized by the California Coastal Commission each year. Other cities participating include: Orange County, LA, San Francisco and Humboldt.

We will also be bringing back our first mascot, Pelican Pete, to represent a bird of the Pacific Flyway, and to help celebrate to our 60th anniversary.

Here is a sneak peek of what this year’s aerial art is shaping up to look like:



We may have taken a few creative liberties, but he still looks pretty similar to our pal Pelican Pete, who debuted in 1961.

Pelican Pete Says...

Pelican Pete Says…


Still can’t wrap your head around what it looks like when 1,000 students form a piece of artwork the size of a football field with just their bodies? Here’s a shot from a previous Kids’ Ocean Day event.



While all of the schools and students have already been confirmed, we still need adult volunteers to help make this year’s event a success. Most volunteers don’t actual do the cleaning up, but instead supervise the youth as they clean up and help to arrange everyone in the aerial art formation. After the cleanup, volunteers and students will join together on the sand for the aerial art, which will be photographed from above in a helicopter!

We’re asking volunteers to meet us on site at 8AM, and the event will wrap up by 12. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact our Community Events Coordinator, Lexi Ambrogi at: lambrogi@cleansd.org and  619-704-2778.

Breaking Down a Breezy Creek to Bay Cleanup!

Today’s blog post comes from our Community Events Coordinator, Lexi Ambrogi, who is one of only 2 people who fearlessly and tirelessly planned this year’s Creek to Bay Cleanup!S


As the numbers and results trickle into our office, we’re growing more and more confident of one thing: our 12th Annual Creek to Bay Cleanup was a success!

Flash back to 5AM Saturday morning. Our staff members’ alarms were all set to right around this time, and I’m betting that they looked out their windows and thought what I did: that wind! That rain! How is it possibly this loud outside right now?

But fortunately for us, the weather actually improved throughout the morning, and by the time volunteers started reporting to our record 96 cleanup sites throughout San Diego County, it was almost pleasant outside.

While the threat of rain may have kept a handful of volunteers in bed that morning, preliminary totals indicate that we had more than 5,000 people cleaning up their local creeks, beaches and bays as part of this event! And while the trash totals are still being compiled, we’re expecting that these volunteers removed roughly 150,000 pounds of litter and debris from their communities.

Two volunteers pulled this tractor tire out of Chollas Creek, though maybe with a little help…

Two volunteers pulled this tractor tire out of Chollas Creek, though maybe with a little help…

Every year at this event—and Coastal Cleanup Day in September—we look forward to hearing about the interesting and bizarre things that our volunteers find tucked away in canyons, riverbeds and trails. Some of my favorites this year include a cast iron bathtub (Alpine), a teddy bear scientist (Golden Hill), a 6-foot stuffed bear (City Heights), and a 5-pound bag of raw chicken wings (City Heights).

Despite the smoking ban at San Diego County beaches, volunteers are reporting that cigarette butts were once again the most commonly found item at their cleanup sites. With the help of initiatives like our Cigarette Litter Prevention Program, we’re hoping that we’ll see fewer butts on the ground and more in the trash can where they belong. Thanks to all of our Creek to Bay Cleanup sponsors who help make this event possible each year!

A family with the Bank of America volunteer team at Memorial Community Park works together to clean up Logan Heights.

A family with the Bank of America volunteer team at Memorial Community Park works together to clean up Logan Heights.

Looking to join us at our next event? We have a bunch of cleanups coming up in May and June. Click here for more information on how to get involved!


Volunteers at Fletcher Cove in Solana Beach relax after a morning of hard work. Way to go with those reusable buckets, guys!

Volunteers at Fletcher Cove in Solana Beach relax after a morning of hard work. Way to go with those reusable buckets, guys!

Prescription Take-Back Day 2014!

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In order to provide residents with a safe and convenient way to dispose of expired and unused medications, the Drug Enforcement Agency has once again scheduled a National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. On Saturday April 26, the DEA will be partnering with local law enforcement agencies to collect unused or expired medications from the public. Residents can drop off their unused medications between 10am and 2pm at one of nearly 40 drop off sites in San Diego County. To find a drop off location near you, visit the National Take-Back Initiative website.

By properly disposing of unused medication, you are not just protecting your family but also protecting the local environment. Simply throwing old medication in the trash or flushing it down the toilet can have harmful effects on the environment; it pollutes our waters, impacts aquatic species, and contaminates our food and water supplies.

Dispose of drugs properly! Flushing them pollutes the water supply.

Dispose of drugs properly! Flushing them pollutes the water supply.

To address the impacts that unused medication can have when it enters our environment, among others, State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson introduced Senate Bill 1014 in January. Senate Bill 1014 would create an industry financed and managed statewide system for collecting and properly disposing of unused medications. Currently, there are only 300 to 400 safe disposal sites for unused medications in California. The bill would authorize pharmacies to accept unused medications from the public, making it more convenient for people to dispose of prescription drugs. However, the bill was shelved earlier this month but will be re-introduced by Jackson next year.

If you are unable to make it to one of the drop off locations on April 26, visit WasteFreeSD.org to find a location that collects unused medications year round. Secure collection boxes have been installed at several sheriff’s stations throughout San Diego County, giving residents a convenient way to properly dispose of old medication.

Dispose of drugs any day at  Sheriff's stations!

Dispose of drugs any day at Sheriff’s stations!

For more information about the proper disposal of medication or for other questions about recycling, visit WasteFreeSD.org today!


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