How to Live WaterSmart

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The San Diego County Water Authority recently launched a campaign to encourage San Diego County residents to Live WaterSmart. The agency provides many free resources to support water-use efficiency as a way of life and encourage sustainable changes to homes and landscapes. This approach helps ensures our region will have sufficient water supplies for years to come.

Resources provided by the Water Authority and its partners include:

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Other great WaterSmart tips:

  • Check for leaks in your system by monitoring your water bill for abnormal changes in usage. Use your water meter to check specific areas for leaks.
  • Mulch, mulch, mulch! Add mulch around trees and plants to retain moisture in the ground.
  • Regularly check your irrigation system for runoff, leaks and broken sprinkler heads. Upgrade to a water-efficient system to be as WaterSmart as possible!
  • Wash full loads of laundry and dishes to save on water and energy.
  • Incorporate native and low-water plants into your garden. In addition to saving water, these plants typically are easier to care for. That’s good news for those of us who don’t have a green thumb!
  • Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth, shaving and lathering.
  • Scrape food waste into a composting container instead of rinsing it down the drain.
  • Replace older appliances and fixtures with efficient WaterSense® models; take advantage of rebates to save money.
  • Irrigate in the evening or early morning; turn off irrigation systems when it rains and for at least 48 hours afterward

Sam’s First Time Driving Our EV

Many of us know by now that the benefits of driving an electric vehicle are plentiful, but a lot of us don’t know what it actually feels like to drive one. If you’ve been wondering about the experience of driving an EV, keep reading to hear what it was like for I Love A Clean San Diego’s Contract Manager, Sam:

Alright, step on the brake, I’m 90% sure this works just like any other car, I said to myself as I hopped into our Fiat Electric Vehicle for the first time. It was definitely unusual to see the layout of this car vs. a standard car. No stick shift, just buttons for transmission, battery life display, the works. It felt a little like I was in the DeLorean from Back To The Future. This car was so simple that it made me a little nervous at first, like I had to be missing something. Turns out, it was really just that simple.

I pushed the key into the ignition and began to rotate the key to start the engine, immediately noticing how quiet the engine was. I sat in limbo for a few seconds, wondering if the car was actually on and ready to go .  Compared to my own car engine, which rumbles really loudly (I prefer the term purr) the electric vehicle is as quiet as a church mouse. It’s actually a very strange, and pleasant experience. Press the “D” button, and you’re ready to go on a smooth, fast, quiet ride.  Handling was great, acceleration was great, and there really didn’t feel like much of a difference from a standard car at all. If anything, it felt like I was floating around instead of operating a very noisy piece of machinery.

sam-ev2

One of the most unique parts of the electric vehicle is the battery life display on the dashboard. It shows how the battery seems to magically charge in stop and go traffic. We’re in the future kids! Turns out that unlike conventional vehicles, that annoying foot-on-and-off-the-brakes traffic is good for electric vehicles, because they charge every time you stop. And you can top off the charge when you get home with the same ease of plugging in your cellphone.

“Wait, so, I can just plug the car into the wall at home? Are you serious? It charges like that?” It sure does. Like I said, the fact that it’s so simple scared me at first, but it’s the real deal, easy as pie. There’s no secret that this is the way of the future. Tesla, GM, Toyota, and virtually any automaker knows this. It’s just a matter of time before these babies are popping up all over the place.

It would be a major deal to have electric vehicles dominating San Diego streets instead of standard combustible engines. Think about it this way: the driving of conventional vehicles accounts for a whopping 47% of greenhouse gas emissions in San Diego County. If we all start driving electric vehicles, which don’t contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, it wouldn’t just be a step in the right direction. It would be an Olympic leap in the right direction. So, if you’re in the market for a new automobile, check out the electric vehicles that are currently on the market. There are great rebates to encourage people to buy them, so it’s a financially smart decision, too. SDG&E has a ton of information to help you find the one that’s right for you. We’ll see you on the road!

 

ZERO WASTE HALLOWEEN

Zero Waste: ENERGY

Whether you have a gas burning stove or an all-electric stove, this Halloween challenge yourself to make delicious treats without them! Most common nowadays is the electric stove, which can typically use between 1000 to 5000 watts of electricity, depending on the temperature needed. You can save energy, money, and time when you choose to utilize your oven less often. I found countless no-bake recipes with a quick search and tried out a few. ILACSD staff member, Erika, also had a no-bake cheesecake recipe up her sleeve!

Here are some simply spooky spells & treats:

No Bake Monster Teeth:

 haloween pic 1.png

Erika’s no-bake cheesecake:


halloween-pic-2

 

Zero Waste: PLASTIC PACKAGING 

No Halloween is complete without candy! Unfortunately, most candy comes wrapped in plastic packaging that is then placed in more plastic packaging to hold the assortment of treats. This creates unnecessary waste that will end up in our landfill since candy wrappers are not recyclable. One of the great things about buying in bulk is that you can control the amount you purchase and often times the price of candy is way cheaper than mainstream options. Bring a reusable cloth bag or mason jar to fill up on wicked treats that range from chocolates to gummy worms! Buying in bulk completely eliminates the need for single-use plastic bags and excessive packaging.

Zero Waste: GOURDS (PUMPKINS AND SQUASH)

Every year millions of pounds of pumpkins make their way into trash cans and ultimately rot in the landfill, adding to the amount of methane released into our environment. The Fall season is the perfect time to decorate with a variety of squash, but it also is the perfect time to cook or bake with them too. These delicious fruits often meet an early grave so consider these good, better, best, worst practices when picking out your pumpkin this year.

Good: Carving the pumpkin à baking the seeds or saving the bigger seeds to grow for next year à throwing away the rest of the pumpkin

Better: Carving the pumpkin or opt to decorate it with non-toxic materials to extend its life as decor à baking the seeds or saving the bigger seeds to grow for next year àcarving out most of the pumpkin flesh to puree and cook with à composting any leftover pumpkin material

Best:  Decorating the pumpkin with non-toxic materials (so it will last longer as a decoration) or not decorating at all (the pumpkin is a work of art itself!) à bake the seeds or save bigger seeds for next year’s harvest à puree the pumpkin flesh to make countless yummy Fall season dishes (pumpkin bread or pie, pancakes, hummus, lasagna), freeze leftover pureeà peel the skin to dehydrate for delicious crispy, pumpkin crisps à compost any leftover pumpkin material

Worst: Carving the pumpkin à throwing every part of the pumpkin away

 
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Zero Waste: Shopping

Streamline your Halloween shopping this year by incorporating some zero waste techniques. Repurposing is a tier in the zero waste hierarchy that is perfect for the occasion and allows for creativity to flow. Create your haunted Halloween world by reusing or repurposing decorations. If you’re planning a spooktacular celebration, borrow decorations from friends or hit some thrift stores. Second-hand stores are gold mines for inexpensive décor and costumes!

NEW WASTEFREESD COMING SOON

Feeling inspired? Look out for a freshly redesigned WasteFreeSD.org coming to a computer, phone, or tablet near you! This is San Diego County’s zero waste database, a resource that allows residents to find options to Reduce, Repurpose, Donate, Repair, and Recycle a certain item. The database has served as a resource for nearly 10 years and we are excited to share all the new features of it soon.

TRASH OR TREAT 

Attention all ghouls, goblins, and witches! If you’re looking for one more way to get involved this Halloween, join the ILACSD and Surfrider Foundation’s Hold On To Your Butt Committee to help remove debris on October 29th in North Park! For additional information, visit the event page.

 

 

I Love A Clean San Diego’s Fall Social

This blog post comes from staff member, Nicole, who is on the planning committee for this year’s Fall Social!

My favorite season in San Diego has always been autumn. The temperatures drop to a brisk 75 degrees and a few leaves fall here and there. The tourists return home until next summer, leaving the beaches, bays and hiking trails free for locals to enjoy. It’s a well known secret that the best time to get outdoors in San Diego is October– it’s still warm, but way less crowded.

Yep, October in San Diego is as good as it gets. That’s why I’m so excited to be on the planning committee for I Love A Clean San Diego’s Fall Social this year. Happening October 13th at the famous Catamaran Resort, the social combines three of my favorite things: a celebration of the fall season, breathtaking views of the San Diego Bay, and a good cause– keeping San Diego clean. 

What am I looking most forward to at the Social? It’s hard to choose. I think everything that we have planned is a great representative of America’s finest city. For instance, CNN named San Diego one of the 8 best beer towns in America, so its only fitting that our Social features a Karl Strauss Beer Tasting. I can’t wait for guests to try the seasonal Oktoberfest beer and take home the signature ILACSD glass that it comes in.

Heavy appetizers will also be available to fuel the fun conversations with old friends or new connections made throughout the night.

The social combines three of my favorite things: a celebration of the fall season, breathtaking views of the San Diego Bay, and a good cause– keeping San Diego clean.

Fall Social 15_Belmont Park_Chris Brake Photography (124).jpg

As a self-proclaimed Instagram addict, I’m also looking forward to our #ILACSDFallSocial photo booth. When you need a break from dancing to the live music, grab your friends and take a few snapshots. I think it’ll be a great way to capture the magic of the night. 

One more thing I can’t wait for…the Silent Auction! We have some seriously incredible prizes this year. Think staycations in La Jolla and Coronado, Disneyland trips, and even some cool gear from Patagonia, REI and Adventure 16.

It’s not too late for you to come be part of an incredibly fun night that also benefits our local environment. Get all the details below, and reserve your spot today. I’ll see you there!

I Love A Clean San Diego’s Fall Social 

October 13th 2016, 5:30pm-8:30pm

The Catamaran Resort

Click here to reserve your place 

Thank you to the incredible sponsors who are making our Fall Social Possible: SDG&E, Catamaran Resort and Spa, Sycuan Casino, San Diego County Airport Authority, and Sony. 

 

Let’s all be Gleaning Machines

Gleaning Canva GraphicNo there isn’t a typo in the title, gleaning is a real technique that helps minimize food waste and hunger. What is it? It’s a  practice, used for hundreds of years, that seeks to reduce the amount of food that is wasted because it is not visually appealing. Gleaners harvest the crops that are not used by farmers and deliver them to those in need.

Linda Trozer, a member of the Society of St. Andrew, explains the unbelievable reality of agricultural food waste in the U.S. today.  Food is wasted at a disturbingly high rate, “The statistics are that 96 billion pounds of food are left — this is pre-consumer food — to go to waste in this country.”

What does this have to do with the average American family? The answer is food deserts. Millions of Americans are living in these areas that are lacking in cost-friendly, nutritious food.

Food Desert Infogrpahic

By throwing away edible food for superficial reasons, farmers prevent access to fresh fruits and veggies for thousands of Americans and contribute to the food desert epidemic. Naked Juice produced an interesting documentary about food deserts and their effect on American neighborhoods.

Gleaning provides an excellent solution to the this problem. If it sounds like something you might want to participate in, check out local organizations such as San Diego Roots and Crop Swap  for upcoming events. Whether you are a farmer or a novice gardener, anyone can play a role in reducing food waste by gleaning or distributing gleaned produce.

Gleaning

Let’s glean the food waste away one lemon tree at a time!

If you want to learn more about the gleaning process and other food waste reduction practices,check out our past blog about gleaning and I Love A Clean San Diego’s recycling website. We can all be lean green gleaning machines! 

PB Site Captain Strikes a Chord with Surfers & Volunteers

Today’s blog is written by our marketing intern, Violette! She loves to surf, so keeping  trash out of the waves is very important to her!

This year on September 17th I love a Clean San Diego is hosting the 32nd annual Coastal Cleanup Day at over 100+ sites in San Diego County. In order to run such a large scale clean up, we depend heavily on the support of our site captains. This year, we decided to spotlight some site captains like Amanda of Tourmaline in Pacific Beach!

Here is a cutie with her reusable bucket at Amanda’s cleanup site!

Tourmaline Beach’s site captain, Amanda, has been a captain for 5 years and has evolved her cleanup site into a zero waste cleanup!

Living in Pacific Beach for about 11 years and learning to surf at Tourmaline are two factors that influenced Amanda to become the site captain of Tourmaline. The opportunity to give back to a place that is so special to her makes the cleanup more meaningful, and allows for others to create the same kind of connection. She wants to make sure Tourmaline stays clean by hosting a zero waste cleanups with reusable gloves, buckets, water jugs. She hopes to teach others the importance of having a waste-free cleanup!  The tight-knit community of surfers and families that enjoy Tourmaline Beach make up a large portion of the volunteers that come out to this site on Coastal Cleanup Day. These community members are often return cleanup volunteers, so they know to bring their reusable buckets, gloves and water bottles and contribute to Amanda’s zero-waste cleanup.

Amanda(left) with a few of her awesome volunteers!

For Amanda, becoming a site captain was an easy decision. She says all you need is a good attitude, because everything else is provided to you, such as training and supplies. Through her 5 years of being a site captain, one of the most important parts is the opportunity to make a meaningful difference and impact peoples’ lives. Part of that impact is helping volunteers realize that they can decrease the trash on the beach by reducing their plastic and non-reusable goods consumption in everyday life. Being a site captain allows Amanda to have meaningful conversations with volunteers that encourage a change in their views and actions in relation to trash and the environment. “I love the connection you can make with the volunteers, and seeing how quickly their views can change after one morning of picking up trash.”

lobster traps that have been found at tourmaline

Everyone benefits from the cleanups, and sometimes Amanda even sees surfers start to join in the cleanup when they leave the water! Old lobster traps are found often at Tourmaline Beach and these pose a danger to surfers, animals and all beach-goers. Knowing that all this trash could hurt someone or something is important for the volunteers to recognize, because for Amanda it’s all about hitting home with her volunteers. She wants them to see that the actions they take every day affect our beaches more than they know.

Amanda is stoked on finding trash and cleaning up our beaches, and wants everyone to feel the same. “Coastal Cleanup Day is a good deed on Saturday morning to start your weekend off right” Amanda says.

You don’t need to register for Tourmaline to clean up with zero waste – pledge to bring a reusable item or three to the site of your choice when you register at CleanupDay.org!

San Ysidro is Ready for Coastal Cleanup Day!

Hi, I’m Violette, the ILACSD marketing intern! For my first Coastal Cleanup Day (CCD) I had the opportunity to learn about a few site captains that help CCD have such a large impact on San Diego.

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Irene sharing about San Ysidro with fellow site captains.

The 32nd annual Coastal Cleanup Day is around the corner (Saturday, Sept. 17), and we wanted to highlight a few of the site captains that help make this event possible! Site captains lead volunteers at one of the 100+ sites in San Diego County to help organize and impact that site. Irene, site captain of Howard Lane park, is one of many amazing site captains that help keep San Diego clean.

As a new Site Captain, Irene is going forward with a positive attitude and determination to coordinate a great cleanup.

Although this will be Irene’s first time as a site captain, it is certainly not her first cleanup. She and her Girl Scout troop have been doing cleanups in the San Ysidro area for about six years! Aside from the first time site captain nerves, Irene has the experience, and is eager to plan and execute a strategy to clean her site in the most effective way. She wants to use her influence as site captain to help others recognize the importance of properly disposing of trash, and bring hope for a cleaner San Ysidro.

Similar too many of our other cleanup sites, Irene sees illegal dumping and littering in these neighborhoods. Sometimes this occurs in such large quantities, that Irene is ready to take this into her own hands. As a member of the San Ysidro community, Irene hopes to inspire neighborhood pride by helping to create a cleaner community that the residents will want to keep beautiful.

some trash commonly found at many sites such as San Ysidro

Some trash commonly found at many sites such as San Ysidro

Being the leader of Girl Scout Troop 5912 also inspired Irene to become a site captain for Howard Lane Park. Leading a troop larger than most, and becoming a site captain is an opportunity to motivate smaller troops with the excitement to attend the cleanup. Not only do the Scouts have fun cleaning-up with other troops, but they also receive a patch! The free patches are very popular among scouts, and scout leaders like Irene. Irene always encourages her Girl Scouts to do more than what is expected, and hopes to bring that same attitude to her CCD volunteers!

a few patches girl/boy scouts receive after a cleanup!

Patch requests will be available at CleanUpDay.org following Sept. 17!

And here’s a sneak peek at this year’s patch design, too! Drum roll please….

CCD16-Patch

For others considering volunteering at Coastal Cleanup Day, Irene urges them to come out to set an example for others to care about the quality of their neighborhood. Most importantly, Coastal Cleanup Day is something that makes you feel good because you are doing good for the environment!

Thank you to the San Ysidro Community Foundation for supporting our San Ysidro sites!

Zero Waste Travel with Emily

While schools were on break this summer, Emily, ILACSD’s education manager, took time to travel both domestically and internationally. During her journey, she learned about how other places manage resources and waste. Read on for her best tips for reducing waste while on vacation.Emily Taroko Gorge

Traveling is a popular pastime, and for good reason. Stepping outside our community exposes us to new ideas and helps us gain greater appreciation for our globe and the other inhabitants who share it.  Though traveling can throw off our normal routine, here are a few small, simple ways to maintain zero waste principles while on the go.

For the airplane:

  • Pack your own snacks and reusable water bottle to avoid the tempting pretzels and soft drinks. Although aluminum can be recycled continually, it’s better to avoid the energy used to manufacture and transport that can in the first place.
reusable snack container

Stainless steel container filled with bulk dried cranberries, pecans, and popcorn.

Eating throughout the trip:

  • Just like at home, dining in is more often zero waste than buying take-out. Even better, explore a local grocery store or farmer’s market. It’ll be easier to find items without packing, and you’ll get to experience a different aspect of the culture. Three items I always like to carry with me are a reusable water bottle, reusable spork, and reusable chopsticks. If I remember, I also pack my reusable stainless straw, though I usually just go straw-less. Pack any leftovers into the reusable container you used for your plane snacks.

    reusable chopsticks udon

    This delicious udon tasted even better with my reusable chopsticks.

Accommodations:

  • According to the EPA, 16% of water use in hotels is attributed to laundry. Help reduce their footprint by only refreshing towels when needed. Additionally, search for hotels who provide a “light clean” service – a practice that includes simply straightening the sheets like you do at home instead of laundering bed linens daily.
  • Some hotels and hostels donate partially used hygiene items to organizations like Clean the World. To see if where you’re staying is a participant, and to learn how much they’ve donated to date, click here.
  • Look for accommodations that have innovative, sustainable options as a way to test out potential lifestyle changes. Our Air Bnb in Kyoto had a combination sink-toilet, something my husband and I had been talking about for several months. Now that we’ve had a trial run, we’re more likely to invest in one for our home.

    toilet top sink

    After testing it out on our trip, now we’re even more excited to install a toilet-sink in our home!

Hygiene:

  • Opt for items with non-plastic packaging. On your next adventure, try bar shampoo or Toothy Tabs – dry toothpaste tablets brought to froth with a wet toothbrush. Both avoid the 3 oz. liquid limit for carry-on bags. Refill travel-sized bottles with your shampoo/conditioner/lotion at home before you go. I’ve been using the same set for over five years!

    https://i0.wp.com/cleansd.files.wordpress.com/2016/09/refillable-shampoo-osaka.jpg?ssl=1refillable shampoo Osaka

    Our hotel in Osaka provided shampoo, conditioner, and soap in refillable pumps.

Other:

  • Learn to use the waste systems in place for where you’re going. Take the time to stop and figure out how to divide your waste. You may even come home with a new idea about how to go green. Ten points to Gryffindor Seattle for having large-scale composting AND pictures of what to place in each receptacle. I witnessed multiple people stopping to read the sign before sorting their waste. The more educated we are, the more of an impact we can make.

waste bins Seattle

If you’re looking for more steps for zero waste travel, check out Girl For A Clean World on Instagram – she’s full of inspiration and innovative ideas. I’ll let this sign I saw in Taipei sum it all up:

sign_Taipei

Zero Waste Labor Day Party

This Labor Day, enjoy your friends and family while protecting the environment. Here are four Zero Waste Tips for the holiday weekend:

  1. Enjoy your beverage in a zero waste fashion- either have everyone bring their own mug or provide everyone with a fun decorated reusable cup. This way, all of your guests will know which container belongs to them and can continue to use it throughout the night. Take it one step further and exchange plastic straws for paper, glass, or metal straws. ILACSD sells these lovely metal reusable straws, too!sam instafamous
  2. Send out evites or make a Facebook invite instead of sending out mail invitations to save paper.
  3. Use reusable utensils and napkins.zero waste labor day weekend blog
  4. Buy some bulky food! This will reduce the packaging that would otherwise go to our landfills or end up as litter.
  • Most burgers, both meat and the veggie kind will freeze well and so do buns. Just take out the necessities for the party and freeze the rest.
  • Instead of buying packaged veggies and dip, buy bulk carrots, celery, broccoli, cucumbers, bell peppers, and any other veggies and cut them up. Serve them home-made ranch dressing or hummus and enjoy!

Reuseable bag for bulk items

We hope you use one or all of these tips to stay sustainable during your fun weekend plans. Happy Labor Day!

A New Look is Coming to WasteFreeSD

There is some exciting news in store for I Love A Clean San Diego’s Recycling and Household Hazardous Waste database, WasteFreeSD.org. For those who have not visited the site, WasteFreeSD.org is an online database full of recycling resources and utilizes a search bar to generate results that are organized by priority and then by proximity to your zip code. Residents and businesses in San Diego County have instant recycling information at their fingertips 24/7.

WFSD before

Currently, WasteFreeSD.org provides recycling information, but more resources are coming soon!

So what’s the exciting news you ask? WasteFreeSD.org is getting a much needed makeover! The database is about 10 years old and although we have grown to love it for the services it provides, the functionality of the website needed an upgrade. In addition to the functionality of the website, the message had to take an innovative turn as well. WasteFreeSD.org has been San Diego County’s recycling database, the newly redesigned site is going to be a zero waste database. That’s huge! That means that when you complete a search for more information about a certain item, options to Reduce, Repurpose, Repair, Donate, and Recycle will populate. As San Diego County strives to send less to the landfill, we’re excited  to help local residents and businesses do their part through WasteFreeSD.org.

Newly redesigned features to WasteFreeSD.org include:

  • User friendly search bar
  • Results follow the zero waste hierarchy: Repair, Repurpose, Donate, Recycle, Dispose
  • Showcases more of I Love A Clean San Diego’s blogs
  • RepairSD.org will be housed under one website (no need for two separate searches!)
WFSD after

Sneak peek at the newly redesigned WasteFreeSD.org!!

The newly designed WasteFreeSD will be a more interactive and overall easier for San Diegans to use and conserve resources. The main page will highlight helpful articles, blogs, and infographics. Most importantly it will highlight our partners who help keep San Diego looking beautiful! One of our first featured spots will be SDG&E’s Marketplace, an interactive search tool that helps you find energy efficient products. SDG&E’s Marketplace allows for residents and businesses to shop around for products that are energy efficient, qualify for rebates, and are cost effective. WasteFreeSD will be released late-August but users can visit SDG&E’s Marketplace now!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest for the latest news about WasteFreeSD.orgJoin us as San Diego leads the way to truly waste-free landfills!


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