COME TOGETHER: Kids’ Ocean Day 2017

I Love A Clean San Diego once again partnered with the California Coastal Commission for our 19th annual Kids’ Ocean Day. On May 18, 2017, over 900 students, teachers, and volunteers united together to clean up Mission Beach and the surrounding area. These dedicated 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders rallied together from 7 local schools to protect our oceans by collecting thousands of pieces of litter and marine debris. Common items found during the cleanup included small pieces of plastic, snack wrappers, straws, and Styrofoam. The students’ cooperative energy and childlike verve were tangible on the beach that day.

Students from Porter Elementary show off the waste they collected and their shirts decorated with this year’s theme – COME TOGETHER.

Students from Porter Elementary show off the waste they collected and their shirts decorated with this year’s theme – COME TOGETHER.

Following the cleanup, students united with community volunteers to form an aerial art image. One of the most common questions we receive is, “how do you make the aerial art happen?” Here’s a peek behind the curtain:

Each year, I Love A Clean San Diego’s education department designs an aerial art image that follows the statewide theme for all 5 Kids’ Ocean Day partners. On the day of the event, the ILACSD aerial art team assembles before daybreak to produce the much-anticipated image. Equipped with irrigation flags, surveyor’s tape, and extra-long measuring tapes, our amazing staff spend the wee hours of the morning meticulously plotting each and every point of the aerial artwork image. This year’s theme – COME TOGETHER – draws on the power we have when united in our efforts to protect and defend the oceans and coastlines from pollution.

As students began to file into the formation, anticipation was high; everyone was excited to see the helicopter fly overhead, photographer inside, capturing our hard work from the sky. It was a gratifying moment to see all the students, teachers, volunteers, and staff sit in stillness within the image for 10 brief minutes. After months of planning, we were all rewarded with a powerful piece of art so vast it can only be seen from the sky.KAAB2017finalimage

The success of the day could be measured by the faces of the beaming students. They felt a sense of accomplishment from doing their part to help clean up the environment. The students now stand united as true “Scholars for the Sea!”

Kids’ Ocean Day is a magnificent event that helps to bring environmental awareness and stewardship to the forefront of these students’ minds. It is a day of joining forces and demonstrating to the kids what it means to work together as one. The students walked away from Kids’ Ocean Day feeling empowered and armed with the understanding that their personal choices have power and their everyday actions will impact our environment and our future.

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Meet Katie & Alaine – Our New Education Specialists!

Meet Katie & Alaine – Our New Education Specialists!

Hi, everyone! My name is Alaine, and I’m one of the newest Education Specialist at I Love A Clean San Diego!alaine1

I received my degree in Marine Science with a minor in Political Science from the University of San Diego and, within a year of graduating, found that marine and environmental education was the route for me. I quickly realized the joy and fulfillment of inspiring others to learn about their environment and be mindful of the power of their decisions. After working with the education teams at Disney Animal Programs and the San Diego Zoo, I wanted to gain experience in the non-profit world and, as an action-driven organization that shares my values, I knew I Love A Clean San Diego would be a great fit! Since joining ILACSD in mid-March, I have learned so much about everything that goes into creating and implementing successful presentations, programs, and events that help to fulfill our mission of actively conserving the environment.alaine2

Rooted in my work is an underlying passion to understand and spread awareness about our reliance on and connection with our oceans. My love for the ocean began pretty early in my life and has always served as a constant theme in my career. This passion was catapulted in 7th grade when I visited family in Baja California Sur and went diving with whale sharks. Observing and sharing an environment with these giant, incredible animals had an immensely profound impact on me. Even now, more than a decade later, I consider that to be one of the most defining moments of my career and life. My hope as an educator is to ignite that same spark in the students I interact with on a daily basis.alaine3

My favorite part about working with I Love A Clean San Diego is the opportunity to connect San Diegans, particularly youth and Spanish speakers, with the beautiful natural environment we are fortunate enough to live amongst. It is so rewarding to see the burst of interest students have when they are connected with nature, introduced to new topics, or realize that small changes they make can have a huge combined impact. ILACSD truly is passion in action, and I get to see that come to life every day. I cannot wait to be a part of the various events we have coming up this year and continue to empower individuals to improve the health and beauty of our San Diego!alaine4


 

Hi there, my name is Katie and I am one of the newest educators here at I Love A Clean San Diego.katie1

I am excited to work with ILACSD to help educate and inspire San Diego County in taking steps to being the most environmentally engaged community we have been to date. My love for the natural environment has been constantly reinforced by a variety of factors in my life; hailing from a small farm town and exploring the natural world in my backyard, from backpacking and camping in National Parks, to relocating near the rhythm of the ocean, I truly feel how grounding and important nature is to the human psyche.katie2

While obtaining my bachelor’s degree at USD, I completed two senior internships, one at the Museum of Man in Balboa Park and one with a local environmental nonprofit. In tandem with my schooling, both internships gave me increasingly important professional skills that began to open my mind to what career avenue I wanted to take. With that clarity, I found my passion at the intersection of people and the environment. I am a lover of culture and humanity, but recognize the environmental uncertainty we face on this beautiful planet we call home. So I’ve pursued a career in environmental education.

One environmental topic I am particularly passionate about is zero waste – a philosophy that mimics natural cycles in eliminating waste by recapturing resources. I firmly believe in being a conscious consumer and understanding how products are created, packaged, and processed from start to finish. Treading lightly has always been a goal of mine by refusing single-use items, purchasing less packaged foods (I’m currently snacking on trail mix from the bulk section housed in an old glass PB jar!), taking the time to understand how to properly dispose of items, and simply slowing down.

My passion for adopting a zero waste lifestyle stems from a job I held in college as an ocean kayak guide in La Jolla. Spending my days in the “office,” I began to see how much pollution and plastic is floating out there. Our own backyard, in beautiful Southern California where the world-renowned Scripps Research Institute is located, where a Marine Protected Area is designated, where we choose to relax and swim, is spoiled by us. I once heard a sobering comment about humanity and our existence; the speaker said, “Imagine someone drilling a sediment core sample to look at the historical layers of the earth’s soil, our defining layer will undoubtedly be plastic.”katie3

I have a long way to go when it comes to adopting a true zero waste lifestyle, but every step counts. Every choice is momentum forward, and I invite you to join me, join I Love A Clean San Diego, and join your community. Let’s rally together for the health of the planet and all the amazing creatures we share with it.

Join Katie and the rest of the ILACSD staff in our efforts to foster a zero waste lifestyle by attending our second annual Zero Waste Fair on June 17, 2017 in Encinitas! For more information on how to adopt a waste free lifestyle visit WasteFreeSD.org. For more information about our educational programs, contact education@cleansd.org.

5 Outdoor Activities for the Eco-friendly Adventurer

sunsetcliffsA Southern California summer is not made for staying inside. The sun’s too bright, the sky’s too blue, and it’s important for you to get outside and enjoy time with your family and friends. Many of the I Love A Clean San Diego staff have already taken time to enjoy our gorgeous scenery properly. From all of our outdoor experiences, we decided to share a list of environmentally sound activities we love to help get you outside this beautiful time of year.

  1. Tide-pooling. We get to live here in California, one of the few places in the world that has tide pools and they are a must when it comes to experiencing San Diego. Grab a friend and head out to Cabrillo National Marine Sanctuary, Sunset Cliffs, or La Jolla Shores. Explore all the critters in tide pools. Make sure to tread lightly, because you are walking on their homes.
  2. Surfing. We live in Southern California, which is known internationally for surfing opportunities. The more you surf, the more you get a first-hand experience of interacting with the ocean and all of the creatures there.
  3. Hiking. Hiking is free, fun exercise that anyone can do. Be sure to pack water in your reusable water bottle and head out on an adventure! The main rule with hiking is pack out what you pack in, leave only footprints, and take only pictures. Enjoy all the nature surrounding you, but be certain to leave it better than you found it. If you like the idea of regularly protecting your favorite hiking spot, join us us through Adopt-A-Beach or Adopt-A-Canyon program where you will regularly visit and maintain your favorite spots.

    Beautiful views while hiking San Diego trails

    Beautiful views along San Diego trails

  4. Kayaking. If you are someone who prefers to be above the water rather than in the water, this is the summer sport for you. Kayak at La Jolla Shores, Mission Bay, or any waterway near you and discover the wildlife.
  5. Stand-up Paddleboarding. A personal favorite of mine, SUPing is a great way to leisurely move across the water and discover wildlife. Whether you decide to surf, kayak, or SUP, don’t forget to grab any litter you see while paddling in or out to drop in the nearest trash bin when you finish! This helps us continue to work on the goal of leaving nature in San Diego better than you found it.

Have more tips to enjoy San Diego’s outdoors while remaining environmentally friendly? Share them with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Come Together This Kids’ Ocean Day

Today’s blog post was written by Education Specialist, Alaine

We’re counting down the days for the 24th Annual Kids’ Ocean Day on Thursday, May 18th at South Mission Beach!

Last year, 950 students, teachers, and volunteers called for a “sea change” with this powerful image, reminding individuals to be conscious of their impact on the Pacific Ocean:

2016 Kids’ Ocean Day Aerial Design

This year, students from eight Title 1 schools across the county, along with students across four other cities in California, will attend an assembly about ocean conservation, learning how we’re connected to the ocean through the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the beaches we use for recreation. Students will then put their knowledge to practice and get hands-on experience protecting our marine environment.

2016 Kids’ Ocean Day volunteers

They will begin their day picking up litter across the beach to learn firsthand how different kinds of pollution travel through the watershed and harm our ocean. For some students, this unique experience will be their first visit to the beach!

2016 Kids’ Ocean Day volunteer

Following their hard work cleaning up the beach, each student will make their mark with our aerial art image. As small, individual dots in the big picture, they will unite to call humans to “come together” as protectors of our environment. Just how hundreds of people create a beautiful and powerful image in the sand, our combined small actions have a significant impact on the condition of our oceans. With over 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating in the world’s oceans, and a Pacific Garbage Patch growing to be twice the size of Texas, this is a crucial time to unite our efforts and address global problems to create a cleaner future.

2017 Kids’ Ocean Day aerial design

2017 Kids’ Ocean Day aerial design

If you would like to be a part of this event, we’re looking for adult volunteers (18 and older) to lead students during the cleanup and the aerial art. If you’re interested, please register here. As a thank you, all volunteers will receive a photo of the completed aerial art image as a keepsake! Stay tuned to our social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) on May 18th to see the final image.

8 Ways to Reduce Your Ecological Footprint

Today’s blog was written by Marketing Manager, Pia.

Ecological footprint: the impact of a person or community on the environment, expressed as the amount of land required to sustain their use of natural resources

It’s been estimated that it would take 3.9 Earths to sustain the world population if everyone lived like we do in the US. When considering factors like food, water-use, waste and transportation, it’s clear there’s an urgent need for more sustainable daily actions. Luckily, you can start creating these habits today!

Check out the Global Footprint Calculator from the Global Footprint Network to understand your ecological footprint. Then, incorporate these suggestions to reduce your ecological footprint and make a positive impact!

  1. Reduce Your Use of Single-Use, Disposable Plastics. Did you know all the plastic we’ve ever made still exists? We use disposable plastic shopping bags for an average of 12 minutes before we discard them (and yes, there are still plastic shopping bags at clothing stores, hardware stores, and more). Other single-use plastics like straws, cups, and utensils aren’t used for much longer. Make the switch to reusable items, such as reusable water bottle, reusable shopping bag, and reusable cups.
  2. Switch to Renewable Energy. According to the EPA, the electricity sector was the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the US in 2014. If you have the budget and living situation to switch to solar, look into installation options. If you don’t, there are still many ways to reduce your use of nonrenewable energy. Look into renewable energy options through programs like SDG&E’s EcoChoice. The program allows you to switch 50-100% of your energy bill to renewable energy from clean sources. Best of all: it’s easy and affordable! Log in to your account for an estimate and reduce your ecological footprint in a click. renewable energy idea san diego
  3. Eat Less Meat. The meat industry is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, along with its other issues such as animal welfare, water-use, and land degradation. Reduce your ecological footprint by enjoying vegetarian-friendly meal days and supporting local meat sources.
  4. Recycle Responsibly. Recycling helps conserve resources and reduces air and water pollution. It also saves space in our overcrowded landfills. Become a recycling rockstar by knowing the rules for your area and recycling as much as you can. For recycling locations along with repair, reuse and repurpose ideas, visit our recycling and zero waste database, WasteFreeSD.org.
  5. Reduce your Waste. Our landfills are quickly filling up. Do your part by reducing your waste. Reduce packaging waste in the kitchen by buying in bulk, eating a veggie-based diet, and composting. Reduce your bathroom product waste by concocting your own formulas, buying reusables, and forgoing unnecessary products. Be sure to recycle plastic bottles, toilet paper rolls, and other recyclable bathroom materials. Learn more about zero waste here.
  6. Drive Less. Our cars release many pollutants into the air and our oceans. When you’re able to travel without a car, take advantage! San Diegans can enjoy year-round walking and biking trips to the store, coffee shop, or farmer’s market. When you have to drive, consider grouping errands together or taking public transit. If you rely on your car, make the switch to an electric vehicle. Not only are they better for the environment, but you won’t have to buy gas ever again. bike to reduce ecological footprint
  7. Reduce Your Water Use. Water is precious. We only have to look at the last few years in California to understand why. More water is used in our yards than any other category for the average household. Transform your yard into a water-wise oasis to conserve water. Find ways to incorporate water savings techniques around your home, such as using rain barrels, washing clothes when you have a full load, and stopping unnecessary faucet use. More tips from Be Water Wise.
  8. Support Local. Our stuff travels more than we do. Whether it’s clothes, food or supplies, many items have a huge ecological footprint. Support local, transparent companies and farms to reduce your footprint. A great place to start? Shop your local farmer’s market. san diego farmers market

Have more tips to reduce your ecological footprint? Share them with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Zero Waste Festival Guide

Today’s blog was written by Senior Director of Operations, Natalie!

With music festival season coming up, thousands will be flocking to Indo for Coachella and Stagecoach as well as many other festivals around the country. Navigating how to be as eco-friendly as possible while enjoying these festivals can be tricky. Often, it takes just a few steps to plan ahead so you can reduce your waste, protect the environment, and save a little money too. Here are a few tips to plan for a sustainable festival season.

Getting There
Carpool! We took an RV to Stagecoach in Indio last year. We all met up in San Diego to ride together rather than meet up at the festival in separate cars. This saved a lot of money from parking fees and logistical headaches at the festival as well. Look for carpool incentives at upcoming festivals.

Enjoying the Festival
In the desert during long festival days, it’s important to stay hydrated. Buying individual water bottles was not only wasteful for the environment, it also meant waiting in long lines to keep buying water and spending a lot on marked up bottle prices. We planned ahead and brought hydration backpacks that we could refill at the water refill stations around the festival grounds. Reusable water bottles would work very well too. This not only saved on what would have been numerous single-use plastic bottles, but also saved us a lot of money and fewer water trips, which meant more time spent enjoying the concert!

camelbak backpack

Plan ahead if you’re camping. Unfortunately, there was a rule about no glass on the campgrounds for Stagecoach when I went. Plan ahead with reusable plastic or aluminum glassware, as well as reusable utensils and plates. We found that all-in-one utensils worked really well to avoid having to wash as many utensils while camping. Reusable cloth napkins are a great option for napkins—it was fun giving everyone brightly colored tea towels so they could remember which one was theirs. We planned most of our meals to avoid needing utensils or plates all together to make cleanup easy and waste-free. For food, we brought fruits and veggies that we pre-sliced at home, opted for handheld foods like hotdogs and sandwiches, and utilized items with very minimal packaging. It was tempting to bring a bunch of prepackaged meals like microwaveable individually wrapped breakfast sandwiches and mini chip bags, but instead choose homemade guacamole in a Tupperware, homemade muffins, bulk snack foods in reusable bags, and other more eco-friendly choices.

reusable napkin options

More Tips

  • Composting: I brought a small bin with a tight sealing lid to house our food scraps to take home with us to compost. I was so excited to find compost bins around the festival for food scraps while inside!
  • For beverages around the campsite, we brought as much as we could in bulk to avoid excess packaging from single serving beverages. Beer in stainless steel growlers were great to have on hand so we could enjoy our favorite craft beers while abiding by the no glass rule. When we needed to, we opted for beer in cans since they could get recycled.
  • Set up your campsite to make it easy on those with less knowledge of recycling and composting. As the trip organizer, I set up bags for trash, a bin for food scraps, and a bag for recycling, and I gave everyone some quick reminders based on the food we had so it was easier to remember. I also double-checked the bags before we closed them up to make sure items were correctly placed.

More sustainable and zero waste tips on festival websites:

Electric Vehicles 101

electric vehicle

Electric vehicles are the way of the future. They’re more efficient, better for the environment, and give their owners some great perks. According to the EPA, the transportation industry accounts for 26% of greenhouse gas emissions in the US, with 61% of those emissions coming from light-duty vehicles. By choosing an electric vehicle, you help reduce your carbon footprint and support positive change for the transportation industry. Learn the basics about electric vehicles in this guide.

What are Electric Vehicles?

There are two types of electric vehicles.

All-Electric

All-electric cars are powered by an electric motor using rechargeable batteries. There’s no conventional combustion engine and no tailpipe emissions.

Plug-In Hybrid

Plug-in hybrid cars are a great mid-point between an all-electric car and a car running solely on gasoline. They have an electric motor and an internal combustion engine so they can run on a battery charge but can switch to the conventional engine if the car runs out of charge.

Other

More and more electric options are coming to market every year. There are electric motorcycles, electric buses and even electric VW van concept cars (if you’re handy with cars and can’t wait for the concept car to go to market, take inspiration from this VW Van converted to solar electric).

Electric is a great option no matter what the vehicle type.

Why Drive an Electric Vehicle?

Some benefits include:

  • Electric vehicles are better for the environment. They have no tailpipe emissions, don’t use oil, and have a lot less brake dust compared to regular cars. Oil and brake dust affects our local environment by entering our storm drains and ultimately affecting our ocean health. Electric vehicles powered by the grid produce 54% less carbon pollution than gas powered cars.
  • It’s clean fuel. San Diego’s electricity is created domestically from a variety of clean sources like natural gas and renewable resources. Since 2015, our region has derived 33% of our electricity from renewable sources.
  • Lower driving costs. On average, electric vehicles have a lower cost to drive than a similar vehicle running on gasoline. Another perk: you can also kiss regular oil changes goodbye since you don’t run on oil anymore!
  • Rebates! There are many purchase rebates through California and federal programs to help with this earth-friendly purchase. SDG&E has an Electric Vehicle Climate Credit for EV owners to reduce their electricity bills.
  • Save time. Electric vehicles are eligible to drive in the HOV lane, which gives EV owners a chance to save hours off their commute every month.

electric vehicle charging

What to Look for in an Electric Vehicle?

There are over 30 models on the market to fit your individual needs. Some factors to think about when making your decision:

  • Type of Electric Vehicle. All-electric vs. Hybrid.
  • Charge range. How far is your commute? Do you have access to charging stations at work?
  • Charging Options. Most electric vehicle owners charge at home but there are many options on the go around San Diego County. See this map for charging areas. SDG&E is adding more than 3,000 more stations around San Diego to make charging readily available and convenient for more drivers. Request a charging station near you.
  • Trunk Space. One of the important factors when ILACSD’s Senior Director of Operations, Natalie, was searching for her perfect EV.
  • Cost. Take advantage of rebates! Most plug-in vehicles are eligible for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500.
  • Seats. Want a two-seater to cruise around in or do you have a whole family to haul?
  • Lifestyle. Do you take frequent road trips? Is this your household’s primary vehicle? How easy is it to charge at home? Decide what makes the most sense for your life so your decision is sustainable for both the environment and your lifestyle.

Take this quiz to see what electric vehicle is right for you.

What electric vehicle did you choose and why?

Electric vehicles are becoming more and more popular and as the demand’s increasing, so is the quality and quantity of offerings. We asked ILACSD electric vehicle owners how they decided on their car.

Natalie: Chevy Volt
When shopping for an EV, I wanted to make sure it was practical for my daily activities with enough trunk space and the right amount of all-electric range, including grocery shopping and occasional camping and road trips. When test driving, I was impressed by how well many models handled, how comfortable they were, the interesting technology they had to monitor energy usage, the fun bells and whistles offered on them, as well as the torque that felt quick and speedy on the road. Considering my daily routine, I will often drive to and from work, and have occasional work meetings off site or errands to run on my way home. I noticed there were free charging stations at my regular grocery store, making it easy to charge up while running errands. Plus, my office had pay charging stations that I could use if I was ever running low. The cost of charging an “eGallon” is much cheaper and better for the environment than a gallon of gas, so I’m more inclined to pay to plug in rather than fill up at the gas station. However, on a normal day, my commute is about 30 miles including a stop on the way home.

The Chevrolet Volt that I ended up selecting has an all-electric range of about 55 miles before switching over to gas, giving me 25 extra miles of buffer for my daily commute to use for errands, meetings, or fun activities. After having the car for several months now, I’ve driven 4000 miles and only used 10 gallons of gas for the few times I took longer drives or road trips. I’ve only been to the gas station one time in six months! Plus, I really like how roomy the trunk is, and that the seats fold down for larger items, which I often need for camping trips or trips to the hardware store.

Lastly, an electric vehicle had large financial incentives for me. Before I got my new car, I was spending $90/month on gas. I was also able to get a $9,000 rebate ($7,500 federal and $1,500 state) due to the higher all-electric range my Volt gets compared with some of the other plug-in hybrids that have lower all-electric ranges – rebates are different based on the all-electric range a car gets. I also recently installed a solar system on my house which gave me another 30% tax credit rebate on the price of the solar system. The EV rebate saved me money on the initial purchase of the car, while the gas-savings and solar offset provided me with ongoing savings I benefit from each month.

I love driving my new car and am proud to be reducing my carbon footprint on a daily basis.

ILACSD Electric vehicle

I Love A Clean San Diego: All-Electric Fiat

ILACSD’s mission states, “Through outreach, community involvement, and example, ILACSD leads and educates the community to actively conserve and enhance the environment.” To continue to inspire environmental change, ILACSD strives to set a positive example in our operations to ensure we’re living our mission. Each year, our staff drives to all corners of San Diego County for education and beautification programs. Our educators provided 750 education presentations in 2016, while other staff and volunteers hosted 250 cleanup events countywide. To help lower our organization’s carbon footprint, we decided to invest in an electric vehicle and set an example for the community.

When we began shopping, we wanted to keep our countywide as well as San Diego-specific reach in mind. The all-electric Fiat was selected due to its range of 103-121 miles, which would allow plenty of room for our daily presentations around the County. As a San Diego County-specific organization, we would not be driving on long road trips and also had backup vehicles if anyone needed to travel out of San Diego County. The compact Fiat still has plenty of space for our larger education or cleanup supplies – the back seat folds down for extra trunk space, and also seats four in case several staff want to carpool together. An all-electric was a great fit for us and our staff loves driving the Fiat!

 

On Twitter, we asked what EV owners liked best about their vehicle:

Rapid acceleration, smooth ride, and ability to refuel (plug-in) at work or at the gym!

The community I meet! Our company has an email thread with just EV owners to communicate.

Being able to track my mileage and energy use!

 

Resources

5 Ways to Celebrate a Green Valentine’s Day

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Today’s blog was written by Recycling Programs intern, Kayla!

Valentine’s Day is a day to share love, romance, and affection. Whether it means spending time with a significant other, family member or group of friends, it’s a chance to celebrate what matters most in life: our connection with others. Traditional gifts of flowers, boxed chocolates, and jewelry are popular on Valentine’s Day, but they come at a significant environmental cost. Valentine’s Day generates a vast amount of CO2 emissions in the production, transportation, and disposal of romantic gifts. The pulp and paper industry is one of the largest contributors to air pollution, deforestation, and our overcrowded landfills. Disposable items such as candy wrappers, cardboard gift boxes, greeting cards, and wrapping paper add up fast and most of the waste ends up at local landfills.

So how can you celebrate while also showing some love for the environment? Here are 5 ways to celebrate a green Valentine’s Day this year.

Find a Romantic Viewpoint or New Sunset Spot.

Sometimes a shared moment in nature is the best kind of gift. Go to the beach, find a new hiking trail, walk along the harbor, picnic in the park…get outdoors and spend some quality time with your Valentine! For new outdoor options, check out secret spots in San Diego for inspiration.

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Plant Together.

Instead of giving a bouquet of flowers or the traditional red roses, change it up this year and buy a plant for your Valentine. Plants are beautiful, less pricey, and benefit the environment. Plant your new “love” plant together in your garden and watch it grow and blossom over time. This can be a lasting reminder of your relationship and love!

plants

 

Cook a Romantic Homemade Dinner.

Valentine’s Day usually means reservations and crowds at your favorite dinner spots. You can avoid the stress and increase the fun by preparing a romantic dinner at home. Take this time to make that vegan recipe you’ve always wanted to try or prepare a favorite meal together. Couples who cook together, stay together.

When buying your ingredients, think local. Not only will your products be more fresh and tasty, but you will also be supporting your local businesses. Visit one of the many farmer’s markets around San Diego County for your ingredient needs. If possible, avoid packaging and make your meal vegetarian or vegan! This can help reduce landfill waste and lower your carbon footprint. We love these 12 Vegan Valentine’s Day Desserts from Minimalist Baker.

 

Create a Homemade Gift.

Sometimes finding the perfect gift on Valentine’s Day can be very difficult. Surprise your loved one with a homemade gift! Instead of buying something generic, show your Valentine how special they are to you. Craft a handwritten love letter or poem on recycled paper. Bake lavender cupcakes. Make this simple DIY lip balm in a reusable jar. Check out the I Love A Clean San Diego Pinterest for more ideas.

 

d-i-y-lip-balm

 

Volunteer.

Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community! This Valentine’s Day, plan a volunteer day with your loved one. There are numerous options in every community–in fact, we have our annual Cupid’s Cleanup this Saturday at Bay City Brewing Co! This can be a way to meet new people, get some fresh air and make a difference in your community.

 

SONY DSC

 

How will you celebrate Valentine’s Day this year?

Sustainable Company Profile: Ball Corporation

ball_image-in-sand

I Love A Clean San Diego is proud to partner with businesses making a difference in the environmental movement. Sustainably minded companies have the power to not only impact their customers, partners, and employees, but also initiate meaningful change in industry standards. Today, we are profiling one of our partners: Ball Corporation.

Founded in 1880, Ball Corporation is known among zero wasters, minimalists, and crafters for their versatile mason jars, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg of their commitment to sustainability. Ball supplies sustainable packaging solutions for beverage, food and household products, as well as aerospace and other technologies and services. Ball has been recognized by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index as an industry leader in their practices for packaging.

They have over 18,000 employees in more than 100 locations worldwide, and they create innovative solutions for packaging, such as the Widget Can, which allows craft breweries to package the tasty on tap experience of Nitrogen infused beer.

The Most Sustainable Package from Ball Corporation

Commitment to Sustainability

Sustainability and environmental stewardship are key components of Ball Corporation’s corporate responsibility. Sustainable packaging is high on their priority list, with an emphasis on enhancing the life cycle of their products and ability to recycle metals (Did you know metal food packaging is the most recycled container in the world? See the video above for more information on Ball’s sustainable packaging).

Ball partners with many organizations to improve regional sustainability and sustainability for the industry as a whole. Their partnership with The Recycling Partnership, for example, works to improve packaging recycling in the US.

In addition to sustainable packaging, Ball focuses on sustainable operations to ensure a healthy future for their company, their employees, and the environment. They introduced a plan to reduce the carbon footprint of their beverage cans by 25% by 2020 through optimizing the weight of the beverage cans and increasing the plant’s energy efficiency.

ball_group-photo

Commitment to Community

Ball’s commitment to the communities in which they operate is impressive. They encourage their employees to volunteer with organizations and causes that are important to them. Ball employees log more than 32,000 hours of community service each year, and that’s just North America alone! Employees in the US and Canada are able to track their volunteer hours and earn $20 per hour to be donated to the charity of their choice.

Ball makes a difference in the San Diego community by supporting I Love A Clean San Diego’s programs! In addition to support of our recycling and hazardous waste database, WasteFreeSD.org, their employees participated in a cleanup through our Corporate Cleanup program last year at Coronado City Beach. Thanks to Ball’s support, our newly revamped WasteFreeSD.org will go live in the next few months, making it easier for San Diegans to find resources to reduce, reuse, repair, and recycle in San Diego County.

Learn More

ball_homemade-fruit-fly-trap

2016 ILACSD Accomplishments

2016 was a great year for I Love A Clean San Diego! Check out the highlights of our impact in San Diego this past year.

2016 ILACSD Accomplishments

2016 Accomplishments Breakdown:

We led 250 cleanups in 74 communities around San Diego. Of the 433,098 pounds of debris picked up at cleanups, the most common items were cigarette butts, plastic pieces, food wrappers, and straws/stirrers. 63,183 cigarette butts were found during last year’s Coastal Cleanup Day and through our Adopt-A-Beach program alone! The weirdest items? We found a dog house, wizard hat, wedding dress, and dentures.

Our Education team empowered more than 31,000 kids and adults through 750 presentations around San Diego County. The presentation topics focused on local San Diego environmental issues, such as watershed protection and zero waste.

Our Recycling Programs team received more than 13,000 inquiries through our hotline and recycling database, WasteFreeSD.org. The most frequently requested items: paint, motor oil, medicine, florescent light tubes, and sharps/needles. If you aren’t sure where to recycle these items in your area, visit WasteFreeSD.org and search by item and zipcode.

Want to get involved with us in 2017? Subscribe to our newsletter to hear about upcoming volunteer events. Subscribe to our Facebook events to get updates whenever we add an event. Adopt a beach, canyon, or park in San Diego through our Adopt-A-Beach Program to get involved on a more regular basis. Or join our Clean Committee to become a bigger part of the ILACSD team.


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