Fall Cleanups prepare SD for El Niño

Moriah_team15Today’s blog comes from our Community Program Coordinator, Moriah Saldaña. If you’ve been wanting to join us for one of cleanups but haven’t had the opportunity, October is your month. Read on to learn more about what makes our fall cleanup line up so important and how you can be a part of it!

After four years of severe drought, the coming of El Niño is welcome news! Scientists are predicting even greater storms during this rainy season than in 1997.  It is important to ensure that we are prepared, whether that means clearing your rain gutters, taking advantage of the City of San Diego’s rain barrel rebate program, or clearing our natural spaces of litter and debris.  Yes, that’s right, it is crucial to remove as much trash as possible now to prevent flooding caused by waterways blocked with trash and overgrown vegetation. On top of the possibility of flooding, whatever trash remains in local creeks and canyons will flow directly to the Pacific Ocean, causing coastal pollution and beach closures.

Tijuana River, US Border, Looking toward Tijuana, United States-Mexico Border, San Diego, California

San Diego has 11 watersheds made up of canyons and waterways which empty into the Pacific Ocean. (Tijuana River Valley pictured)

Interested in helping? We have two upcoming cleanup opportunities that need your support, just in time for the rainy season!

TRAM calendar buttonCome out to the Tijuana River Valley on Saturday, October 3rd from 9am-noon to help I Love A Clean San Diego pull trash, tires, and other debris from the Dairy Mart Road Bridge area before it makes it way out to the Pacific.  This event is a part of Tijuana River Action Month, which is a series of events held during September and October to bring people together in an effort to improve the Tijuana River Valley.  With around 40 volunteers at our June Tijuana River Valley Cleanup, we cleaned up over 4,000 pounds of trash.  Think of how much more we could pick up with double the volunteers! To register, click here.


The bucket says it all. Come out, roll up your sleeves, and get your hands dirty for a clean & beautiful San Diego!

Clearing trash out of the Tijuana River Valley is especially important before this rainy season, since our beaches in the South Bay are consistently some of the most polluted beaches.  Even today, the Beach Advisory is warning people not to go to any beach south of Coronado because of possible pollution.

tram water bottlesocial media

Volunteer at the Tijuana River Valley Cleanup to claim your very own ILACSD water bottle!

And a thank you, everyone who volunteers this Saturday at the Tijuana River Cleanup will receive a complimentary reusable water bottle! Click here to register today.


Beautify Chula Vista Day is great for the whole family!

BCVD calendar buttonThe following weekend on October 10th, we are partnering with the City of Chula Vista for the 13th Annual Beautify Chula Vista Day! This year for Beautify Chula Vista Day we will have two sites, one at Discovery Park and another at the Otay Recreation Center.  Volunteers will pick up trash, remove graffiti and do other beautification projects to make Chula Vista shine. 

This event has made an extensive impact on the City of Chula Vista as a whole.   Since the first Beautify Chula Vista Day,
thousands of dedicated residents have painted out 7,750 square feet of graffiti, stenciled 200 storm drains to warn against dumping, planted 117 trees, and removed nearly 40,000 pounds of debris
 littering neighborhoods in Chula Vista, showing that huge results can come from volunteers that donate just one morning a year toward helping their community.

More information about the event and registration can be found at: www.BeautifyChulaVista.org.

To stay up to date on upcoming cleanups and events, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! A current list of events is also available at cleansd.org/v_cleanups.php.


Encinitas Bag Ban spurs more giveaways!

morgan team15 v2Today’s blog comes from our Director of Development and Marketing, Morgan, who has been working directly with the City of Encinitas to prepare shoppers for the second phase of the single-use bag ban. Read on to learn more about how I Love A Clean San Diego is working to make the this transition as seamless as possible! 

Attention Encinitas Shoppers!

Starting October 10th, the second and final phase of the Encinitas single-use plastic bag ban goes into effect. That means that department stores, clothing stores, hardware stores and even farmer’s markets will no longer be offering single-use plastic bags to shoppers.

In order to help ease shoppers into this new policy, I Love A Clean San Diego has partnered with the City of Encinitas to coordinate a series of bag giveaways to coincide with the Phase II implementation.IMG_8440 - twitter

Come by the following stores and centers and get your free reusable bag to use for your next shopping trip! Remember, there are limited quantities, so act fast!

Sunday, October 4th from 11AM – 1PM:

  • Encinitas Ranch Town Center – between PetSmart and Barnes and Noble, 1034 N El Camino Real, Encinitas, CA 92024
  • Encinitas Ranch Town Center – between Buy Buy Baby and Target, 1014 N El Camino Real, Encinitas, CA 92024
  • Home Depot, 1001 N El Camino Real, Encinitas, CA 92024
  • Leucadia Farmers Market – Paul Ecke Elementary School, 185 Union Street, Encinitas, CA 92024 (from 10AM – 1PM)

Wednesday, October 7th from 4 – 6PM:

  • Encinitas Farmers Market – 600 S. Vulcan Ave, Encinitas 92024

Our Admin Assistant, Brittany, sporting our bag monster costume fitted with 550 plastic bags, the estimated amount of plastic bags that each American will use in one year.

Fast Facts about Plastic Bags:

  • It is estimated that 31.9 million single-use carryout bags are distributed in the City of Encinitas each year.
  • Studies have shown the prevalence of single-use carryout bags are responsible for littering the environment, blocking storm drains and polluting beaches, oceans and the marine environment.
  • Single-use bags made from plastic do not decompose, therefore they exist in the environment forever.
  • Plastic bags are a significant source of marine debris and are hazardous to marine animals, such as turtles and birds, which often confuse plastic bags as a source of food and ingest these bags, causing reduced nutrient absorption and death.

Tips to Remember Your Reusable Bags:

  • Set your car keys on your bag.
  • Keep reusable bags in the trunk of your car and put a small note on the dashboard or your shopping list to remind you to grab them. Once you unload your groceries at home, put the bags back into the trunk immediately so you’ll have them for your next trip.
  • Purchase a few compact reusable bags and keep them in your purse, jacket pocket, backpack, or attach them to a keychain.
  • Ask your children, spouse or roomate to remind you to bring your bags.
  • Keep bags in multiple places, like at home, in the car, and at the office.
  • If you still manage to forget your reusable bags, you can always put everything back into your shopping cart after you pay and unload directly from the cart into your car. Then bag the items to carry in when you get home.

Encinitas is BYOB – Bring Your Own Bag! Starting October 10th, the second phase of the bag ban will go into effect at local department stores. Be prepared – get your free bag at one of our bag blitz locations!

Do you have questions about the bag ban? Post them in the comments below!

CCD Volunteers to Expand Community Garden

Sarah_team15Today’s blog comes from our Development and Marketing Coordinator, Sarah! Each April and September, she looks forward to the opportunity to shed light on the diversity of our countywide cleanup sites and the dedicated site captains that lead them. Read on to learn more about how one of our Coastal Cleanup Day sites, the Tijuana River Valley Community Garden, is going above and beyond the typical cleanup to benefit their local community.

TRV June 2015

One view of the Tijuana River Valley Community Garden, the largest community garden in the county!

Get to know the Tijuana River Valley Community Garden
Ann Baldridge, Coastal Cleanup Day site captain and Education Coordinator for the Resource Conservation District of Greater San Diego County, oversees the largest community garden in the County, the Tijuana River Valley Community Garden. The garden has 136 gardening plots that reflect the local community. Community members of all ages, young families to retirees, come to the garden to plant everything from your standard lettuce and tomatoes to culturally significant foods that represent the diversity of the surrounding communities. The plots have become so popular that there are currently 150 individuals and families on a wait list to receive a plot.

Ann shared that one of the most unique aspects of the garden is that it is a hidden gem within a regional park. Visitors of the regional park often mention that they had no idea this garden existed. Click here to learn more about the garden and how you, too, can find this local garden.

Garden and alley

The regional park trails run along the outskirts of the community garden which lead park visitors to stumble upon this local garden.

So, why does a community garden have its own cleanup site?
While the garden itself is beautiful, other parts of the river valley are significantly affected by illegal dumping and littering. As you can imagine, trash negatively impacts the local environment and the garden that feeds the local community. Before joining I Love A Clean San Diego for their first Coastal Cleanup Day in 2013, the RCD, Park staff, and plot holders at the community garden were already coordinating regular cleanups along the Tijuana River. When the team heard about Coastal Cleanup Day, they were inspired by the international movement and they knew that wanted to be a part of something bigger.

Trash in TJ River

Trash found in the Tijuana River – one of San Diego County’s many waterways that leads to the Pacific Ocean.

After years of leading these cleanups, Ann and her volunteers have found everything from construction debris and furniture to cigarette butts and abandoned shoes. When it rains, all that trash gets flushed through waterways straight to the ocean, resulting in unsafe conditions and frequent beach closures. When we remove the trash beforehand at cleanup sites like the Tijuana River, thousands of pounds of pollutants are kept from contaminating our beloved coastline and Pacific Ocean.

Tijuana River, US Border, Looking toward Tijuana, United States-Mexico Border, San Diego, California

Another view of the Tijuana River that shows how debris travels from inland sources straight to the Pacific Ocean.

Trash removal is a large part of this annual event, however, it will not be the only focus at this site. Thanks to SDG&E employee volunteers, the community garden will have extra volunteer power this year to help expand the capacity of the garden. SDG&E volunteers will work alongside local residents to mulch trails, construct new compost bins, plant a new pollinator garden as well as build two new garden plots for local residents to grow their own nutritious food. Talk about sustainability!


Hundreds of SDG&E employees and their families will participate in service projects to beautify San Diego County on Sept. 19th!

If you’ve never visited the garden, Ann encourages you to come out for Coastal Cleanup Day on this Saturday, September 19th – “You’re guaranteed to have a great day and connect with wonderful people!”

Youth volunteers

Tijuana River Valley Community Garden volunteers with buckets and grabbers in hand ready to cleanup their community!

Whether you join Ann at the community garden site in the Tijuana River Valley or another site that is meaningful to you, we hope you’ll join us for the largest cleanup of the year. Check out a complete list of cleanup sites at www.CleanupDay.org to find one near you. 

Can’t make it to Coastal Cleanup Day? Join us for one of our upcoming cleanups!

If you love San Diego, help us keep it beautiful.



ILACSD Internships: More than copies and coffee

Brittany HuthHi there! My name is Brittany and this summer, I was a Community Programs Intern at I Love A Clean San Diego. I recently graduated from San Diego State University in December with a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration. In my free time I enjoy exploring and taking pictures of scenic locations in San Diego, as well as watching my favorite sports teams – Go Padres! As a San Diego native, I grew up around the water, doing everything from surfing, wakeboarding, skiing, kayaking, and sailing.  I love being outdoors, and that’s why I have a huge passion for the environment!

In my undergraduate studies, I took a class that focused on contemporary urban issues. In this course, we focused on the best methods of sustainable living, and learned about environmental hazards. The topic that concerned me the most was the abundance of plastic bags found in our oceans harming and killing our marine life. This is one of reasons why I applied for an internship with I Love A Clean San Diego.


Marine life often mistake small pieces of plastics and plastic bags for food which leads to starvation. In this picture, the content of the albatross’s stomach includes bottle caps, and a lighter.

The Community Outreach Intern position sparked my interest because I wanted to expand my knowledge on environmental issues, as well as provide me with the opportunity to give back to the San Diego region. As an intern, I performed a variety of tasks both in-office and out in the community at our events. In the office, I typically focused on outreach to colleges to get students involved, tracked data from cleanup events, organized supplies for events, and coordinated my internship project. At the ILACSD cleanup events, I provided volunteers with supplies as well as informed them about upcoming events and other programs ILACSD offers.

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The ILACSD recycling board is a great way to test your knowledge and learn about the newest recyclable items.

To wrap up my internship experience, I organized a beach cleanup at Whispering Sands Beach in La Jolla. I was accompanied by my close family and friends, who were more than happy to participate! This provided me the opportunity to share with them everything that I learned during my time as an ILACSD intern including information about proper recycling and waste disposal, and ILACSD’s Adopt a Beach Program. In the two-hour cleanup we collected more than 15 pounds of trash and over 400 cigarette butts. To conclude my project I create a short video clip of the beach cleanup!

My experience with ILACSD has been nothing short of positive! Since I started interning with ILACSD, I have challenged myself to become more environmentally aware of my living habits and to try to make better choices.  Some of the changes I have made include using reusable bags for grocery shopping, recycling more, conserving water by using buckets in the shower, and properly disposing of hazardous materials. I am excited for the change this organization is making in the community and I’m forever grateful for being a part of it! Thank you, I Love A Clean San Diego!

If you’re interested in learning more about environmental issues impacting our local environment please consider applying for one of ILACSD’s internship opportunities. Applications are being accepted now with the intention of the internship starting this Fall. More information is available at http://cleansd.org/v_internships.php.

The ILACSD team  at one of our annual countywide cleanups, Creek to Bay!

Cheers to 10 Years – A Post about Pauline

This week, I Love A Clean San Diego recognizes our Executive Director, Pauline Martinson, as she celebrates her 10 year anniversary with the organization. In celebration of this milestone, we sat down with Pauline to get a better sense of what the last decade at ILACSD has meant to her.

Pauline joined I Love A Clean San Diego on August 22, 2005, after learning about an opening for an Environmental Educator position. She had a background in the environment with her degree from UC Santa Cruz, and had spent years honing her teaching skills as a Dive Instructor. As a kid growing up in Orange County, Pauline spent countless hours in the ocean. In fact, she still recalls an experience as a child where she dove under a wave and everything went black – her face had been covered by a black plastic bag. It was in that moment that she decided it was time to dedicate herself to preventing pollution and putting a stop to marine debris.

Pauline's other passion besides working at ILACSD is scuba diving in tropical waters and traveling to exotic destinations.

Pauline’s other passion besides working at ILACSD is scuba diving in tropical waters and traveling to exotic destinations.

Instead of becoming an Educator with ILACSD, she was offered the position of Project Manager, and thus began her journey here. After less than a year in that role, the organization’s Executive Director moved on, and Pauline was tapped as his replacement. She still recalls the initial shock of stepping into role as Executive Director.

“It was Coastal Cleanup Day in 2006 and as Interim Executive Director, I was responsible for speaking during the press conference kick off. I remember stepping up to the podium and looking out into a huge crowd of people. I was scared and nervous to be in front of such a large group as the center of attention, but I was also humbled that so many people were there to lend a helping hand in support of our efforts”.

Here's Pauline, giving her first speech as Executive Director of ILACSD in September 2006.

Here’s Pauline, giving her first speech as Executive Director of ILACSD in September 2006.

The shock didn’t end there. Back in 2006, the organization’s finances weren’t in the great shape that they are today, and taking over responsibility for getting the organization out of debt wasn’t a very glamorous undertaking. But, Pauline stepped up to the challenge, and has grown the organization’s total assets to more than $700,000.

Growth has been a consistent theme for the organization under Pauline’s tenure. Under her leadership, ILACSD has grown from 5 staff to 17 staff, which meant an office move back in 2010 to Liberty Station! While everyone was very excited about moving to a location with so many lunch options, it was bittersweet to say goodbye to our neighbors down the hall, San Diego River Park Foundation, and our beloved office cats.

The office cats in all their glory.

That’s right…cats. The old office was somewhat of a magnet for feral cats and their litters of kittens. Staff meetings always ended with strategy sessions on how to catch, spay/neuter, and potentially adopt these cute little furballs. One of her funniest memories at ILACSD went something like this…

“There were five kittens that would play and sleep right under one of our staff members office window (see pic below). One day, she couldn’t take it anymore and decided that she was going to pick one of the kittens up and bring it in the office for a little visit. It didn’t go well, and the kitten immediately jumped out of her arms and ran through the office until it found a little corner to hide in. I was nominated to go in and get it, wearing work gloves. Eventually, poor little Junior was taken back outside, and no one in the office ever tried that again.”

From attending cleanups to dealing with rowdy cats, ILACSD is glad to have Pauline Martinson as the leader of our organization. Cheers to another decade of her leadership and enthusiasm to keeping San Diego clean!

Thanks Pauline for keeping SD clean for ten years and counting!

Thanks, Pauline for keeping SD clean for ten years and counting!

Meet Stew: a surfer and site captain

Each year, as I Love A Clean San Diego ramps up for the largest cleanup of the year, Coastal Cleanup Day, we like to highlight site captains who go above and beyond. We recently sat down with one of our newest site captains, Stew Aadnes from Encinitas, to learn about why he loves a clean San Diego! Read on to learn more about how Stew got involved and how you can sign up to clean up either at his site or one of our 100+ sites near you. CCD15-Digital-Save-the-Date During the week, you’ll find Stew out in the field as a Site Manager with Geosyntec,  one of ILACSD’s 2015 Coastal Cleanup Day  sponsors, surveying storm drains and other infrastructure to minimize its impact on the local environment. On the weekends, like many San Diegans, you can find him catching some waves at Grandview or Beacon’s, two of his favorite breaks. Whether he is out preventing storm water pollution or enjoying the fruits of his labor surfing, the one thing he often finds is trash and lots of it.


Encinas Creek is right off Palomar Airport Rd. and easily overlooked. Thanks to this incredible team of volunteers the creek bed was restored.

Stew first got involved with ILACSD at a beach cleanup with his company. He soon realized that he wanted to do more. So he signed up to lead his very first cleanup at Encinas Creek in Carlsbad as a Creek to Bay site captain. If you’ve ever been to one of our beach cleanups you know that we find a lot of small pieces of plastic like straws, bottle caps, and abandoned beach toys. These items cause a lot of harm to wildlife, beach-goers, and surfers, like Stew. However, our inland cleanups are a different story with lots of big, heavy, toxic trash, that thankfully we’re take care of before making its way downstream. Just last spring at Creek to Bay, Stew reported pulling out whole couches, mattresses, shopping carts, and you name it, out of Encinas Creek. He even used rope to create a pulley system to get the heaviest stuff out of the creek bed.  Three hours later, he had two dumpsters full of trash.


Girl Scouts lending a hand at the Encinas Creek – Creek to Bay cleanup site!

But that’s not all you’ll find at Stew’s site. When speaking with him I asked, “What is unique about your site?” and he shared that there is something for everyone; if you want to get your hands dirty and pull out tons of trash, there’s that, but there is still plenty to cleanup, even for the youngest volunteers. You may be thinking, “Well, what motivates someone to do volunteer to run a cleanup site?” Stew hopes that he can look back in 6 months and see that he helped preserve a piece of nature that was once hidden by trash. Are you looking for some motivation? Stew says, “Come out and get your hands dirty. Put on your worst pair of jeans and get after it.” If nothing else, there’s always Pizza Port to look forward to afterwards :)


Great team picture before heading out for well deserved pizza!

Whether you live in Carlsbad or another part of the county, we know you love your community. Save the date for Saturday, September 19th and register at www.CleanupDay.org for a site that is meaningful to you. Whether it’s your favorite beach where you take the family or perhaps a piece of nature that otherwise would be overlooked, we hope you’ll join us. Connect and protect. Keeping San Diego clean, together. A special thank you goes out to Geosyntec for supporting San Diego’s largest cleanup of the year as a sponsor and encouraging their employees to get involved in their community. Thank you for investing in a clean San Diego! Geosyntec

The 7 Habits of Highly Eco-Friendly People

Emily M.It’s easy to get bogged down by the flood of information about eco-friendly practices and what you should be doing, or not doing, to protect the environment. Our Environmental Educator, Emily put together her top 7 habits that keep her passion for environment alive and well. Read on if you’re looking to rejuvenate your love for the environment and remind yourself why we do what we do.

  1. Remember your reusable bags. I know this is a Herculean task, but today is the day! As I tell myself frequently, “I can do hard things.” Channel your inner squirrel and stash bags everywhere – in your glove box, your purse, your top hat, your trunk, the stroller, the passenger’s side seat back pocket. Or, better yet, just get this song stuck in your head. I promise you’ll never forget again.Lincoln
  2. Set a new goal. Like any good relationship, you need to spice things up every now and again to keep your interest piqued. Go out for a nice dinner – and bring a reusable container for your leftovers. Or take a long walk on the beach – and collect any debris you find. For more ideas, check out this blog, which follows a woman’s adventures in zero waste.
  3. Keep a worm bin under your kitchen sink. Check out Amanda’s blog post about how to get started. You’ll reduce the organic waste you produce, have a bounty of natural fertilizer, and be a shoe-in for the Most Unique Pet award in the office superlative contest. Best of all, you can finally use those creative worm names you’ve been saving up on – Worm Gretzky, The Notorious D.I.G., and Dirts Bentley, for all you country lovers.Composting blog pic 2 (worms)
  4. Make it fun. Hold a household competition to see who can concoct the most creative way to conserve water. Litter your friends’ Facebook walls with environmental memes. Keep an eco-themed joke in your back pocket. (If you ever visit our office, I will gladly share one with you.) Enlist the help of Ryan Gosling. Humor yourself with creative green hashtags. My personal favorite: #brodoyoueventhriftMr T
  5. Share your passion. Fact: Most people don’t enjoy being lectured about how their habits are destroying our planet. Most people are, however, inclined to care about an issue when it’s important to someone they care about. Invite a friend to join you at a cleanup. Use your reusable produce bags with confidence, and be prepared to answer questions from friends and curious on-lookers. For my birthday, my sister-in-law gave me a purse made from recycled water bottles. She sought this out because she knows the three Rs are important to me. You may be surprised by how your actions and lifestyle encourage those around you.
  6. Pick up litter wherever you go. Earthshattering, I know, but the benefits of picking up litter are far-reaching. When you pick up someone else’s trash, you’re more likely to be responsible with your own trash. Other people notice when you choose to pick up the wrapper that 37 other people previously walked past. On more than one occasion, I’ve been thanked by a stranger who saw me remove a piece of litter. Removing litter inland helps reduce the amount that ends up in the ocean – and our animals. Besides, litter is still a major pollutant we find worldwide, which means every little bit helps.
  7. Kid PresidentRemember why you started caring in the first place. Even for the most devoted of us, aiming for a zero waste lifestyle can easily become overwhelming. However, history has proven that small, consistent actions lead to great results. You started recycling/biking to work/buying in bulk/living green because something made you care. Remind yourself of that initial spark. For me, it’s remembering my experiences working with children outdoors, and seeing how a connection to nature helps them feel confident, make new friends, and find peace during the tumults of growing up. So tape a Rachel Carson quote to your mirror. Cover your fridge with magnets of the sea creatures you’re devoted to. Head out to where you can truly see the stars and be reminded that yes, this earth is beautiful and absolutely worth working for. And remember, you’re doing a great job; keep up the good work!

Environmental Educator, Emily, teaching campers about the wonders of the outdoors, nature, and how to protect it.

Brittany’s Green Routine

Brittany green routine pic

Being environmentally-conscious doesn’t have to be confined to your blue bin. If you look closely, not so environmentally-friendly materials, such as micro-plastics, are hidden in everyday products. Follow Brittany’s Green Routine to learn how you can reduce waste, phase out hidden plastics and simplify your health and beauty routine! And check out our Pinterest boards for even more DIY inspiration!


routine definition

Routine (noun). – A sequence of actions regularly followed.

Everyone has routines and once you start, they are pretty hard to break. Since working at I Love A Clean San Diego, I’ve been inspired to be more eco-friendly in my day-to-day life, but I didn’t know where do start. Then I realized I could start by having what I now call my “green routine”. What is a green routine you might ask? A green routine is a type routine you create which benefits the environment. I realized I could save money while also being eco-friendly by creating some beauty products with ingredients I already have in my house.  For this week’s blog, I wanted to change it up and share some of my favorite DIY recipes I incorporate in my daily green routine!

Original-Lip-Scrub-with-textBrown Sugar & Honey Lip Scrub: Need to get rid of chapped lips? This is my favorite lip scrub

What you’ll need:

1 teaspoon of brown sugar

1 teaspoon of honey

Mix them together, lather your lips with the scrub, rinse with warm water, and pucker up! Your lips will feel moisturized, soft, and not to mention, this scrub is tasty!

Honey, Nutmeg, Cinnamon Face Mask: This mask is perfect for when you experience breakouts or are looking to brighten up your skin tone! You can use this has a spot treatment or as a mask. Honey is not only hydrating, but it helps soothe inflammation as well as fight against bacteria – that’s why it’s great for so many things! For sensitive skin I recommend leaving this on for 2-3 minutes.

What you’ll need:

cinnamon face mask

1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of nutmeg, 2 teaspoons of honey

Coconut Oil: Plain and simple, a jar of this does wonders and is extremely moisturizing.  Not only is this something I cook with but I use it for a variety of things which cuts down the number of products I use and minimizes the waste I create.

  • Skin Moisturizer: After a good (plastic-free) skin exfoliant, I take a dab to keep my skin smelling great and soft. A little goes a long way!
  • Hair treatments: I’m notorious for using heat products on my hair, so every once and a while I like to give my hair a little bit of love. After washing and conditioning my hair, I rub coconut oil through the ends of my hair to prevent breakage. You could also use coconut oil as a hair mask and rubbing the oil on your scalp helps with dandruff. I recommend keeping the oil in your hair for around ten minutes then rinsing.Coconut Oil
  • Lip moisturizer: Instead of using chapstick before bed, I use coconut oil, sometimes with a dab of honey, as a replacement. Be sure to pair it with the brown sugar lip scrub mentioned above!
  • Makeup remover: This is something I would normally spend a lot of money on. Instead, I take a small amount with my fingertips and rub it on the areas of my face until it melts. Then I take a wash cloth to wipe it off with warm water. That’s it!

And Guys, don’t worry, we have a recipe for you this year’s No Shave November too! This recipe sent to us by Alexandra Engel to help keep your beards fresh and clean. Blend together, rub through your beard, and rinse.

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A little beard oil goes a long way! *Flowers will not grow out of your beard after using this recipe.*

  • 3 fl. oz. Sweet Almond oil
  • 25 oz. Vitamin E oil
  • 25 oz. Argan oil
  • 30 drops Tea tree essential oil – prevents ingrown hairs and fights breakouts
  • 30 drops Rosemary essential oil – stimulates hair growth
  • ~20 drops Spruce essential oil (optional)
  • ~20 drops Pine essential oil (optional)
  • ~20 drops Cypress essential oil – astringent and antiseptic for oily skin.
  • ~20 drops Bergamot essential oil – antibiotic and deodorizing.

I hope you enjoy my favorite green routine recipes as much as I do. Not only are you saving green bills but you are also helping to keep the environment clean by eliminating micro plastics and cutting down on waste!  For more fun DIY beauty tips, crafts, and green living tips, be sure to check out I Love A Clean San Diego’s Pinterest boards


Fallbrook’s Recycling Ninjas

Emily M.It is never too early to take action towards waste reduction. After meeting with the Fallbrook Street Elementary School Recycling Club, Emily wanted to share the students’ enthusiasm about recycling with all of you! Read on for some inspiration to start a recycling program at a school or office near you!

From the time students enter the halls of Fallbrook Street Elementary School, they are coached to become strong leaders. Joshua Mills’ 5th grade class is a shining example, leading the school in efforts to be more environmentally active. As part of their rotating class jobs, students serve as recycling collectors, traveling from classroom to classroom “like ninjas” so as not to disrupt the learning environment. They compile the school’s recycling into a central bin and remove any non-recyclable items.

recycling ninja

You don’t have to be a student to be a recycling ninja! Check out the Ocean Conservancy’s Recycling Ninja pledge here.

What keeps them motivated to be dedicated recyclers? “Recycling is important to me because I like to have a clean environment,” said one student. “I like to keep my school clean,” said another. Many of them echoed this sentiment: “I love to recycle because I don’t want paper going to the landfills because you can recycle and reuse it.” To help encourage other students and teachers to adopt this perspective, they created informative posters displayed around campus and presented at a school-wide leadership rally.

As they look ahead to 6th grade, the students are excited to continue this recycling program. One student mentioned he is transferring schools, but intends to bring this knowledge with him to his new school.

albatross jar

The contents of this jar represent items commonly mistaken as food by marine life such as albatross. These items include plastic utensils, a lighter, and bottle caps.

During I Love A Clean San Diego’s free presentation, we built upon their recycling foundation and discussed next steps – further ways to reduce overall lunch waste. When I left, Mr. Mills was already scheming on how to teach math through a classroom worm bin.

To conclude our interview, I asked the students one thing they want the people of San Diego to know. They had some sound and simple words to live by:

“Don’t put things that you shouldn’t recycle in the recycling bin.”

“Don’t pollute because we won’t have good air.”

“If you see some garbage, pick it up, even if it’s not yours.”

“Pick up after your cats and dogs.”

Based on the variety of these responses, we can see how one small step towards waste diversion can lead to a lifetime of environmentally-minded choices.

Comment below to tell us about what your school is doing to help keep your community clean and green!

Interested in having our educators visit your classroom? We are currently scheduling for the 2015-2016 school year. To schedule, please email our education department at education@cleansd.org.

classroom panorama

No yard, no problem! Composting in small spaces.

amanda-2-photoshopToday’s blog comes from our Hotline Manager, Amanda! Earlier this year, she wanted to increase her composting knowledge, much like our Education Manager and Master Composter-in training, Erika. After taking a series of classes, Amanda wanted to share these two new methods that are great for small spaces. Read on to learn the basics of two innovative composting methods; perhaps you’ll find one that works for you! 

Many of you already know about traditional backyard composting, but there are other options out there to help you recycle your organics at home. Today, I’ll cover some basics on two composting methods you may not have heard of yet: vermicomposting and bokashi.

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Erika keeps her vermicompost under her desk and just as it should, it doesn’t smell!

Vermicomposting is a method of composting where organic material is broken down through the use of worms, red wigglers and red tigers being the best types of worms for this method. Vermicomposting is a great option for apartment and condo dwellers or those that do not have yard waste available. It can be done on a small scale (even under your kitchen sink!). Mostly food scraps are added to the vermicompost bin, as opposed to traditional composting where large amounts of carbon rich yard waste is needed. Vermicompost bins are available for purchase, and some residents may even be able to purchase subsidized bins – click here to see if you qualify! Or if you are feeling handy and you want to build your own vermicompost bin, check out some basic instructions from the Solana Center for Environmental Innovation.

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Practice makes perfect! At this station, kids learned how to sort out compostable vs. non-compostable items.

I Love A Clean San Diego has also integrated our newly acquired composting knowledge into some of our education offerings as well! Recently, we partnered with the City of Chula Vista & the Chula Vista Recreation Department to augment their youth after-school program, Empower Hour.  ILACSD educators lead  several hands-on activities during May & June to cover topics such as waste diversion, recycling and composting.  During the composting activities, the kids learned how to sort recyclables from compostable materials, and even got their hands dirty during the compost bin and worm discovery activities. If you’re interested in learning more about our education presentations, please contact our Education Manager, Erika at education@cleansd.org!

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Here’s ILACSD’s Program Assistant, Joseph leading the worm exploration station!

Here are 7 tips to maintaining your vermicompost bin:
1. Worms don’t have lungs, they breathe thru their skin. Fats and oil will coat their skin and they can no longer breathe, so avoid putting fatty or oily foods in your vermicompost bin.
2. Worms don’t like motion, vibration or extreme heat/cold.
3. Your bin should never smell, an odor would likely mean you are over feeding your worms.
4. If you are adding watery food, add some paper as well.
5. Moldy food is ok to add, the bacteria actually helps give the worms a head start on digesting the food.
7. Food scraps are best in smaller pieces.

Are you ready to start composting? Find local resources, such as bins, worms and classes near you at www.WasteFreeSD.org!

Bokashi is another composting method where you can pickle your food waste and thus store for later use in your traditional compost pile. What makes it unique is, unlike traditional composting, dairy, meat and bones can be used with this method. An inoculant, a combination of anaerobic microbes, is used to pickle the food waste and are available for sale online or you can also find online tutorials. Once you get your inoculated grain/paper and a 5gal bucket (or larger!) you are ready to go.

Simply add your food waste to the bucket and some inoculated gain/paper as you go along. After you bucket is full, it will take ten days to two weeks for your pickled food scraps are ready to be added to your traditional compost bin. As you are adding to your bokashi bin, place a plate on top to keep pests away. If you see white mold it is ok, only be concerned if you see green ,red or brown mold. Bokashi workshops are offered by Solana Center for Environmental Innovation, but keep an eye out for them on www.WasteFreeSD.org because they fill up fast! 


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