Brittany’s litter-free 4th of July guide

Brittany FischerToday’s blog comes from our administrative assistant, Brittany! San Diego native, born and raised, Brittany it goes without saying that she loves our beaches and 4th of July. To get you jazzed for the long holiday weekend ahead, she has put together some of her favorite waste-free tips for a day at the beach!

 

 

Looking for something fun to do for the upcoming patriotic holiday? Why go anywhere else when you live in a city full of beautiful beaches! The 4th of July has always been one of my favorite holiday’s to spend at any beach in San Diego. With so many people at our beaches, there is one thing that tends to be left behind and that’s trash. This 4th of July, Clean Beach Coalition will have large trash and recycling bins located at Ocean Beach, Mission Beach, Mission Bay, and Pacific Beach to give every beachgoer a chance to continue to keep the beach sparkling clean!  Last year alone, the CBC bins collected 96,860 lbs of trash and 2.8 MILLION pounds in the last 8 years. Pretty impressive, right? In order to prevent more trash from ending up on our beaches this holiday, I wanted to share some of my favorite things to pack in order to stay green while still rocking red, white, and blue!

CBC bins

Keep an eye out for our huge trash and recycling bins. They’ll be hard to miss so be sure to put them to good use!

The key to staying green is to pack up all your reusable items to prevent any trash! Here is my easy to follow step-by-step guide to a waste-free weekend!

  1. For starters, instead of using a Styrofoam cooler, bring a more durable reusable cooler. Not only will it last you years, it prevents any Styrofoam pieces from ending up on our beaches and the Pacific Ocean where it will never biodegrade.

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    Plastic pieces are easily mistaken for food by marine animals causing serious health issues. Here are pieces mixed in with sea kelp recently found at a cleanup.

  2. When packing up your goodies, try using reusable containers to transferring and reusable silverware! Here are a couple of my personal favorite snacks to bring to my Fourth of July beach festivities:

Fourth of July Rice Crispies Treats are a favorite of mine. Not only are they easy to make, but you can put them in a reusable container and be set to go! Check out the recipe here!

Fruit Kabobs! All you need are some wooden skewers, strawberries, bananas, and blueberries and you have an ecofriendly, patriotic snack!

plastic free treats

Fruit kabobs are the perfect plastic-free treat! Although the skewers will eventually go in the trash, wood will naturally biodegrade with time, unlike plastic.

 

3. Feeling thirsty? Fill up a reusable water bottle and bring it with you! Did you know American’s throw away 35 billion water bottles a year? It’s important to reduce bringing plastics to our beaches because once plastic enters the ocean, it is extremely difficult to clean up. Don’t have a reusable water bottle? Check out some of ILACSD’s reusable water bottles online!

patriotic water bottle

Brittany always carries her reusable water bottle wherever she goes whether it’s the beach, a park or work. Check out our merchandise to get you own ILACSD gear to sport around town!

4. Don’t have anything to pack up the rest of your goods? Use a tote bag! My favorite tote bag can be washed and reused over and over again. Do your best to not bring plastic bags to the beach, not only are they not recyclable but if blown into the ocean, marine mammals can accidentally mistake them for food.

Still not ready to end your beach time this weekend? Come show your patriotism in a new way with I Love A Clean San Diego on July 5th for the Morning After Mess Cleanup. From 8-11am we will clean up the excess trash left behind on Mission Beach from the holiday celebrations. Plus, the first 400 volunteers will receive a free tee from REI!

Whether you decide to stay in San Diego this 4th of July Weekend or travel elsewhere, please enjoy the scene, but keep it clean. Have a safe and wonderful 4th of July!

 

 

 

ILACSD Brides Dish Eco-Wedding Tips

Today’s blog comes from our recent newlyweds and bride-to-be on our staff, Natalie Roberts DeCarli, Emily Nelson, and soon to be Sarah Lott Buchholz. With so many people getting married or a part of a wedding this summer, we wanted to pass along our wedding planning knowledge to all of you! Read on to learn about how to plan a wedding with the earth in mind!  

Weddings – what a whirlwind of excitement, fun, and –  dare I say it – PLANNING. With so many choices and add-ons, it’s easy to overwhelm our brides, our wallets, and our landfills. Luckily, there’s a plethora of eco-conscious wedding tips. Here’s a few that are ILACSD bride tested and approved!

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ILACSD Environmental Educator, Emily and her now husband, Stan. Congrats, newlyweds!

Invitations & RSVPs: Evites and invitations made from recycled post-consumer material are definitely  the most environmentally friendly options. To go one step further, design your invitation as a timeless keepsake. Emily designed her invitation with that thought in mind; on one side there was a picture of the happy couple, and on the other side were the wedding details. That way, guests can display it in a frame or on their fridge along with other photos.

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Sarah created a custom profile and hyperlink to make RSVPs easy to manage and waste-free at rsvpify.com.

To manage RSVPs, Sarah found an easy to use online option called, rsvpify.com, where she created a customized profile and hyperlink for guests to access. Afterwards, she simply listed the hyperlink along with her phone number on the invitation instead of using mailed paper RSVPs. Plus, the website has a seating chart option. Time, money, and resources saved! 

emily's plates

Check out VerTerra plates! They are plates made from palm fronds that have already fallen to the ground.

Meal time! When in doubt, choose reusables.  Often times you pay a little extra, but in the long run, it’s the most eco-friendly option.

Eco alternative: Plates made from biodegradable materials instead of plastic! A great option that Emily found, called VerTerra plates, are plates made from palm fronds that have already fallen to the ground.

Bridal and wedding party accessories: Start by taking an inventory of what you already have. Emily found the perfect pair of heels to go with her wedding dress sitting in her closet! As for the wedding party, options like Union Station, make it easy for bridesmaids to rent a dress instead of purchasing one that they may never use again.

chalkboard exampleDécor: Tap into your networks! You never know who might have extra tables, easels, vases, etc. For example, Emily got silver dollar eucalyptus from a neighbor that has a tree in their backyard. Plus, at ILACSD, since several staff members are getting married in 2015, we plan on having an internal wedding décor exchange!

Avoid unnecessary printing: Chalk boards are great for wedding programs, menus, and seating charts, rather than printing items for each individual guest.  This not only saved our brides money on printing, but also greatly reduced paper usage at their weddings.  Plus, the chalk boards can be reused over and over again, for future parties and general home décor.

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Natalie enjoying her big day!

Favors: “We wanted something practical, meaningful, and would appeal to all our guests. Our solution? Seed packets! We offered a variety of flowers and herbs, leaving the guests free to select what they are most likely to plant, and displayed them in a flower box.” – Emily, Environmental Educator

 “After attending many weddings that gave each guest their own personalized wedding favor, we had a collection of  favors that we really didn’t need.  When looking into favors, we couldn’t really think of anything we felt people of all ages would want or need, so we decided to skip favors all together.  Plus, they often cost a few hundred dollars for a large wedding, and involve a lot of packaging for each individual item.” -Natalie, Senior Director of Operations

Check out other great alternatives on our pinterest board!

Post wedding: There are a lot of ways to donate, sell, or lend various wedding décor for reuse. Several websites including:

Plus, you might earn some money back while giving these items another life rather than taking up space in a closet or garage.

Goodwill or should we say Greenwill?

SONY DSCToday’s blog comes from our Hotline Assistant, Ani! As our Hotline Assistant, she is always on the hunt for great recycling resources to recommend to hotline callers as well as those who use our database, www.WasteFreeSD.org. Recently, she took a tour of Goodwill’s different locations to see exactly what the life of a donated item looks like. What if no one buys it? Where does it go? At the end of the tour, Ani was surprised to learn about all the different initiatives that Goodwill is taking to benefit the environment and keep items out of our landfills. Read on – we bet you’ll learn something new!

I had the great pleasure of going on a Goodwill Tour alongside city officials from Escondido, Oceanside, Poway, and Encinitas. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Goodwill goes above and beyond to find every donated item a home! 

My portion of the tour started at a local retail store where I witnessed Goodwill employees receiving donations on the back-end of the store. I saw how they carefully cleaned and priced items, this location alone receives donations from up to 150 donors a day! If you are looking to donate some unwanted items, find a Goodwill or second-hand store near you by searching our database, www.WasteFreeSD.org!

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Forget what you know about Goodwill – check out the Clairemont Retail Store’s trendy boutique style display!

I also learned about the rotation process. If an item does not get sold, it is relocated to another store in hopes that a special someone will notice its uniqueness and purchase it.

Our next stop was the Kearny Mesa Bookstore, a new location centered in a lively shopping center next to coffee shops and restaurants. There I learned that books are organized by genre and author to offer customers a better experience when browsing.

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Check out their E-business Warehouse and much more online!

The last 2 stops are where I learned just how dedicated Goodwill Industries is to diverting waste from the landfill. At their E-Business Warehouse donations are maximized by increasing their value online. Customers can browse through over 22,000 items listed online and bid on unique, lightly used items.

The last stop of the tour is a spot where donated items end up if they are not sold in any of their stores and are auctioned off in bulk. If not auctioned after several attempts, Goodwill AfterMarket separates the items, then recycles ALL donation items.

Do you have items that are well past their prime and can’t be used it their current state? Our database also has plenty of recycling resources for odd items including shoes, clothing, and more!

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Goodwill will take your single shoes and recycle them! Find a location near you at www.WasteFreeSD.org

It truly was an informative tour! Waste diversion is possible and Goodwill is contributing to San Diego’s zero waste plans in an immense way. Thanks for the great tour, Goodwill!

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Our knowledgeable tour guide (far right) along with all the tour attendees including city officials from Escondido, Oceanside, Poway and Encinitas!

Do you have items at your home or office that are in need of a new home or perhaps need just a little T.L.C? Check out our online recycling and repair databases, WasteFreeSD.org and RepairSD.org, to find landfill alternatives near you!

 

Meet Moriah!

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Today’s blog comes from our new Community Program Coordinator, Moriah Saldaña! Originally from Redlands, Califorina, Moriah first joined ILACSD nearly two years ago as a Program Assistant, working evenings and weekends while in school. Well, Moriah recently graduated with her Masters degree in Public Administration and we welcomed her on board full-time as our Community Program Coordinator. Read on to learn more about the newest mastermind behind our cleanups! 

Q: What brought you to I Love A Clean San Diego?
A: What stood out to me about ILACSD was the organization’s focus on individual empowerment to create noticeable changes in our community and our environment. I have been passionate about the environment since I was a little girl, going on river walks and learning about native plants with my mother.  It wasn’t until college though that I found myself able to make small but noticeable changes at my university, such as advocating for composting food waste on campus and starting the university’s now annual bike week.  Once I moved to San Diego I looked for an organization that would allow to me continue my passion for better our local environment, and ILACSD was a perfect fit!

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Last month Moriah completed her Masters degree in Public Administration from SDSU. Congrats, Moriah!

Q: What environmental topic are you most passionate about?
A: I think that one of the best ways to make a positive environmental impact as an individual is through being a smart consumer, so it is important to me that everyone has access to the information they need to “vote with their wallet.”  I make a conscious effort to buy items that use less or ideally zero plastic packing and that do not contain ingredients that our harmful to our environment, like microbeads.  Shopping in this way not only reduces your environmental footprint but also encourages companies to make more sustainable choices when developing their products.

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“…it is important to me that everyone has access to the information they need to ‘vote with their wallet.'”

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Moriah, Natalie and Lexi at this year’s Creek to Bay Cleanup. Be sure to join them for Coastal Cleanup Day happening Saturday, September 19th!

Q: What is your favorite ILACSD program?
A: The two annual countywide cleanup efforts that we coordinate, Coastal Cleanup Day and Creek to Bay, are my favorite events at ILACSD.  The amount of teamwork, energy, and thought that goes into these large scale events highlight what a great team we have here at ILACSD.  I am consistently impressed at the volunteer turnout and environmental impact at these events. The next one, Coastal Cleanup Day, is set for Saturday, September 19th – be sure to save the date! 

Q:“When I’m not at a cleanup you can find me…”
A: San Diego has provided me with the unique opportunity to explore the world of craft beer! I love the culture and the artisanship of the craft brewing industry in San Diego, so in my free time I am often imbibing at a local brewery or experimenting with home brewing in my own kitchen. I, also, use growlers as much as possible for at-home consumption so that I am not generating so much waste with cans or bottles. 

Moriahgrowlers

Outside of the office and organizing cleanups, Moriah spends her time brewing her own beer!

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Sometimes your booth gets placed in the middle of a reptile exhibit!

Q: Since joining ILACSD, what has been your most memorable moment?
A: As a Program Assistant with ILACSD, I had the opportunity to go to a lot of community fairs and events in order to tell people about our organization.  There was one event where my booth was located in the middle of the reptile exhibit at Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center. I had never touched a snake before, but within an hour I had one wrapped around my neck, and then a different one around my wrist for almost the entire day.   There was also a massive tortoise walking around the fair, as well as a bearded dragon that took residence on top of my flyers. That was definitely the most interesting community event I have attended.

If you haven’t met Moriah already, there is a good chance that you will at one of our upcoming cleanups. Stay connect on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well as our website to learn about how to get involved!

34% – we can do better!

SONY DSCToday’s blog comes for our Hotline Assistant, Ani, who is always on the look out for ways to reduce, reuse and recycle.  Many of us know the basics of recycling: paper, rigid plastic containers, aluminum, however, there is one part of the home that is often neglected, the bathroom. Read on to learn how you can keep perfectly good recyclables out of the landfill, and instead give that shampoo bottle or toilet paper roll a new life!

 

bathroom-recyc_5Let me start by asking, do you recycle your empty shampoo bottles? What about the toilet paper roll? Surprisingly enough, not many people do. A survey conducted by the Ad Council, a non-profit organization, revealed that only 34% of Americans recycle bathroom items. More surprising, 22% of Americans would not toss bathroom items in the recycling bins if the bin is located outside the bathroom.

What kind of changes can we make to form a habit of recycling in our bathroom? Here are some suggestions:

1. Place a recycling bin in the bathroom to serve as a constant reminder to recycle

2. Inform others in the household of the items that can and cannot be recycled (see graphic).

3. Assign a recycling expert in your household. I found it useful to assign my youngest niece the role of “Recycling Expert”. She is responsible for making sure everyone in the household recycles properly.

4. Make a bathroom recycling sign. Unilever, a consumer goods company, cleverly developed “Rinse. Recycle. Reimagine” in partnership with Keep America Beautiful and the Ad Council.

How do we recycle these items? Give your recyclable bathroom items a new life by lightly rinsing out the left over contents from empty bottles and removing the lid or plastic pumps (not yet recyclable).  Remember to recycle empty cardboard packaging like toothpaste boxes and tissue boxes. And also make sure that aerosol cans, like air fresheners and shaving cream, are completely empty before recycling (yes, you can place empty aerosol cans in the blue bin, yay!)

bathroomRecycling

“Rinse. Recycle. Reimagine.” It’s that easy!

So what happens after it is tossed into the blue bin? Bottles composed of PET plastic are recycled and used in carpet fiber, fiberfill for winter jackets and sleeping bags, car upholstery, and boat sails. Other recyclable materials composed of HDPE plastic are turned into flexible construction pipes, and patio furniture. To read more about what other recyclable items become, visit IWantToBeRecycled.org

Another solution to our abundant aBack-to-MAC-Program_2ccumulation of bathroom recyclables is shop for items with minimal packaging or shop in bulk. Products like LUSH Cosmetics strive to minimally package goods in store and opting out on packaging is always an option. You can also earn incentives for recycling your empty make-up containers in-store. Take MAC Cosmetics for example. If you take six empty MAC Cosmetic product containers back to the store, they will give you a free lipstick through their Back to M.A.C. program.

If you want to purchase items in bulk, check out Blue Dot Refill in Ocean Beach. Tunnamed-2hey offer customers the opportunity to bring their own empty bottles and jars to fill up on shampoos, body care products, and cleaning agents. They also accept empty bottles in-store for other customers to fill up and use, so start saving those bottles so you can use them again!

Lastly, another great way to limit the need to shop for bathroom items is by making them yourself right at home! Check out these great recipes on our Pinterest page and be on the lookout for a future blog all about simple DIY beauty products tested and approved by ILACSD staff!

 To get answers to other recycling questions, visit our database www.WasteFreeSD.org!

 

 

 

Reclaim and re-imagine to reduce construction waste

amanda-2-photoshopToday’s blog comes from our Hotline Manager, Amanda! You may remember her from one of our most popular blogs, “Curbing Food Waste by Gleaning” which was all about reducing food waste. Now, she’s focused on reducing another common landfill item – construction and demolition debris.  Whether you’re knocking down walls or swapping out home embellishments, you’ll be surprised how much can be recycled and repurposed! Read on to learn more about how you, too can help give these items a second life! 

Are doing some remodeling around your home?  According to the County of San Diego’s Public Works Department, each year 20% to 35% of the waste that goes to landfills in San Diego is generated from construction and demolition. This amounts to more than 1 million tons countywide. You probably already know a lot about recycling, so today we suggest thinking of a different “R” for your materials; reclaim and reimagine! You will keep valuable materials out of the landfill and make your home dazzling at the same time.

If the building materials you have are in good condition, consider donating them to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, which has locations in Mission Valley and Escondido. Items sold at these locations help to support Habitat for Humanity’s programs in San Diego County. Also, if you’re looking for materials to use for projects around your home, you can shop at ReStore too!

Construction Blog pic 1 (Habitat for Humanity ReStore)

Habitat for Humanity ReStore not only accepts donated home materials, you can shop as well!

 

Reconstruction Warehouse is a local company that is also available to accept your reusable construction related materials and offers a place to shop for these materials. Reconstruction Warehouse builds custom furniture from reclaimed wood, and it’s quite beautiful!  Click here to find out more about their pick-up program, plus you can also find them on Etsy!

Construction Blog pic 2 (Reco Warehouse Pallet Wall)

Reconstruction Warehouse makes beautiful custom pieces out of reclaimed wood. Visit their website to learn more!

 

If you are lucky enough to come across some unique and/or antique items in your home remodel, Architectural Salvage is a great option to consider. They specialize in period building materials; from vintage doorknobs to stained art glass windows, and eclectic one-of-a-kind treasures. If you aren’t sure if your materials of value, give them a call and they will be able to lend a helping hand! Learn more about Architectural Salvage here.

If you would like a little help in your home remodel project, The ReUse People of America provide deconstruction services in San Diego County. They assist with deconstructing a building, rather than demolishing it. In doing so they are able to salvage up to 80% of the buildings materials. They can assist with both full and partial deconstruction, and they are a nonprofit organization which allows you to make tax-deductive donations to them by allowing them to keep your valuable deconstructed materials. More information about the ReUse People can be found here.

Lastly, other items you may end up with after a home remodel include Asphalt & Concrete, Brick/Masonry/Tile, Dirt and scrap metal. These are all items that can be recycled! You can find a location for these items, along with info on the companies listed above, by visiting WasteFreeSD.org!

Construction Blog pic 3 (general C&D recycling)

Our friends at EDCO also operate SANCO, a recycling center in Lemon Grove specifically for construction and demolition debris. Click here to learn more!

 

 

Water Wasters Beware!

May is Water Awareness Month and it is only fitting that today’s blog comes from our friends at the San Diego County Water Authority! You may remember a blog from last fall called, When in DROUGHT, turn to us!” that focused on water use restrictions and how ILACSD staff conserve water in their lives. As water restrictions have intensified, we wanted to make sure you’re are up-to-date. Read on to learn new ways to conserve water in your life! 

When in Drought

State Mandates Water-Use Cuts

This means we all need to do our part to save water every day, every way

May is Water Awareness Month, and what we all need to be aware of is that the governor has ordered mandatory cuts in water use to start June 1.   If we all do a little more to save water, it can add up to big savings for our region – in terms of water and avoiding financial penalties from the state.

Each local water agency has a conservation target to reach from June 2015 through February 2016. These cuts range from 8 to 36 percent depending on each agency’s level of per-capita water-use. If a member agency does not reach its conservation target in the coming months, the agency could face fines. 

Summer is almost here, the peak season for water use.

  • watering yardLimit outdoor watering to two days per week, less if you can.
  • Leaks should be corrected immediately – sign up for your free WaterSmart Check up today!
  • Decorative water fountains must use a recirculating pump.
  • Use a broom to clear driveways, sidewalks and paved areas instead of a hose, which is prohibited.

Are you looking for even more ways to conserve water?

  • Opt to stop watering you lawn areas and let them get a tan this summer! (forget Orange is the New Black, Brown is the new Green!)washer
  • Shorten your showers. Shaving 1 minute off your shower time saves 150 gallons a month! 
  • Collect the warm-up water from your shower and use it to water plants.
  • Wash only full loads of clothes and dishes.
  • Turn off the faucet when washing, shaving or brushing teeth – you’ll save about 2 gallons per minute!
  • Install water-efficient appliances and take advantage of rebates at WaterSmartSD.org.
Sarah watering plants

Sarah, ILACSD’s Development & Marketing Coordinator, uses old water to water plants at the office instead of pouring it down the sink!

Already doing everything to conserve? Share what you’re doing with SDCWA on Facebook and Twitter

Check with your local water agency to see what restrictions are in place in your community. If you aren’t sure which member agency to contact, go to whenindrought.org for the member agency locator, more conservation tips, and rebate information.

Thank you for saving water every day, every way!

 

 

WasteFreeSD tips for a weekend off the grid

Erika-teamToday’s blog comes from ILACSD’s Education Manager and outdoor enthusiast, Erika! In preparation for Memorial Day Weekend, one of the busiest times of the year for San Diego’s outdoor spaces, Erika has put together her top eco camping tips! Whether you’re going to the beach or the desert, you’ll be able to fully enjoy your holiday weekend!

 

Summer is approaching, and with that, you will most likely find me outside camping.  One thing that really bothers me when I am in nature is seeing trash. To do my part, I try to camp, zero waste style. At first, I thought it would be difficult to ditch granola bars and instant coffee but realized I am much healthier and happier when making less waste. The most important thing is to plan ahead and be prepared.

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Do some meal prep before your trip to save time and minimize waste!

When it comes to camping, most waste is generated with food. We have become so reliant on the convenience of instant meals but rarely think of the health and environmental implications. To combat this, follow these eco tips:

Stove: Between me and my friends, we have a Jet Boil and camping stove, making cooking a synch. Take it one step further: buy your gear used! Check out Geartrade.org or your local REI for great used deals!

Utensils: A lot of people bring disposables when camping and picnicking but it is incredibly easy to wash your dishes at the campground. To save on water, I bring a tub to contain that water. Remember to use biodegradable soap!

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Reusable bags are great for produce and bulk food items like coffee and trail mix!

Snacks: Buy ahead of time and in bulk. When buying in bulk, I bring my reusable mesh produce bags to limit my plastic use. Recently, I made a bunch of these bags with different materials and sizes. These bags also make light weight snack bags, when hiking, so I don’t need to use resealable (Ziploc) bags. Click here for instructions to make your own! If sewing isn’t your thing, you can buy them here.

Coffee: Yes, this is a whole separate line…you can buy coffee in bulk, bringing your own produce bag and use a French Press. Another option is getting instant coffee that comes in a glass jar and you can reuse the jar!

Other beverages: Either grab your growler and head to the local brewery or go for cans in a box. Saint Archer and Ballast Point, both sell 6 packs in cardboard boxes, which you can use for a fire starter.

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Reduce your use. Fill a growler!

Water: Invest in a reusable water container – they have any size, and with any material – glass, stainless steel, plastic – you name it!

Ice: I tend to shy away from packing items that need ice, so I don’t find this too big of a problem. If you want a cold one, though, use reusable ice packs – you can even make yourself!

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Love campfires? Check out these DIY fire starters using toilet paper rolls and dryer lint!

Cleanup: Most people use paper towels, which you can burn in the fire. I gravitate toward bandanas and reusable kitchen towels.

When camping, I have found that I typically use a couple of trash bags, primarily for food scraps and recycling cans. Other than that, I am waste free! Obviously, I am a little more extreme; however, with planning ahead, we can all make a difference in our environment!

If you are more of the staycation type, and plan to hit the beach over this holiday weekend, be sure to keep an eye out for our Clean Beach Coalition bins! Millions of people will visit San Diego’s beaches to celebrate Memorial Day Weekend. To ensure that everyone has a way to conveniently dispose of trash, we place temporary trash and recycling bins throughout Mission Bay, Mission Beach, Ocean Beach and Pacific Beach. The bins will also be out over the 4th of July and Labor Day.P1050996

And if you’d like to volunteer with us after the holiday weekend to pick up any litter that didn’t make its way into the trash can, we’ll be out at Tamarack State Beach in Carlsbad the Tuesday after Memorial Day. To sign up, click here.

 

Showering the Bride-to-Be, the WasteFreeSD Way!

Erika-teamToday’s blog comes from ILACSD Education Manager, Erika! With more than half of the ILACSD team either getting married or involved in a wedding this summer, it was a no-brainer to put together some eco-friendly party planning tips! Read on to learn more about how you can plan a zero waste bridal shower for the blushing bride in your life! 

Wedding season is quickly approaching. As people gear up for cocktails and bouquets, remember to ditch the disposables and choose eco-friendly alternatives. Here’s how I planned a zero waste bridal shower:

Last month, I threw my sister a bridal shower. We both live sustainably, so we tried to create a party which reflected our lifestyles. We focused on 4 aspects that most showers and for that matter, parties in general, include: invitations, decorations, food and favors.

Invitations: We decided on using evites rather than hard copies. There are many other similar online invitation options, including another staff favorite, Paperless PostIncluded were green tips:

bride to be evite

evite - bridal shower

Sending evites is great for the environment and it’s also a huge time-saver!

 

Other green options: Online invites aren’t your style? No problem! Try recycled content or seeded paper cards.

eco friendly invitation alternatives

If your heart is set on sending out hard copy invitations, check out some of these eco-friendly alternatives!

 

Decorations: We focused on decorating with items we already had, and only buying things that we would use again. We mainly used flowers and succulents in vases that we already had. For more cohesion, we bought burlap, cut them into strips to use as bows and accents. We also decorated with tons of framed pictures. With some of the pictures, I included text showing some of the grooms favorite things about the bride-to-be.

table setting - bridal shower

Use items you already have to reduce waste and save on expenses!

Food: We fixed a vegetarian brunch, which included, homemade granola, fruit from the local farmers market, and substituting mushrooms for chicken in an Asian fusion salad. Platters, plates, utensils, and napkins were all reusable.

erika - veggie brunch

Animal products account for California’s largest water use. Try some vegetarian recipes to help conserve water!

Eco tip: Animal products account for California’s largest water use. Try using meat as a side or going without!

Gifts: Guests went all out with reusable gift ideas! One gift was wrapped in a handmade blanket, one was in a basket, and others were wrapped in dish towels!

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No gift wrap = less waste and less cleanup!

Favors: We elected for making our own trail mix. Trail mix was bought in bulk using reusable jars and bulk bags. The mix was distributed into mason jars amounting to zero waste!

zero waste favors

There are tons of zero waste favor ideas! Find more on our Pinterest here!

Do you have other eco-friendly party planning tips? Share them in the comments below or on our social media networks: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Be on the look out this June for our blog about eco-friendly wedding tips brought to you by our brides-to-be Natalie, Sarah and Emily!

 

Curbing Food Waste by Gleaning

amanda-2-photoshopToday’s blog comes from our Hotline Manager, Amanda, who came across this incredible environmental resource called “Gleaners”. When she first presented the idea of gleaning, much of our staff thought it was a play on words to promote green cleaning solutions, we were wrong. Read on to learn more about this eco-friendly trend!

In California, we’re blessed to have ample fruit trees and great sunny weather to grow fresh food, but did you know that a lot of it goes to waste because it isn’t harvested? Perhaps you have a fruit tree at home and have more lemons or oranges than you know what to do with?  Don’t worry! We have a solution, and it’s gleaners.

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There are a lot of things we glean: information, resources, and in this case, fresh food. Gleaning, performed by gleaners, is the act of collecting excess fresh foods from farms, gardens, farmers markets, grocers, restaurants, state/county fairs, etc. to provide it to those in need.

Why should we Glean?

According to the USDA, an estimated 23 million Americans, including 6.5 million children, live in low-income neighborhoods that are known “food deserts,” where affordable, quality, and nutritious foods are inaccessible. And yet hundreds of thousands of pounds of edible produce is landfilled each year!

gleaning

Local gleaners help collect fresh fruits and vegetables at no-cost! The collected food then goes to local food banks to feed those in need.

Gleaning helps to close the gap, connecting local residents with an abundance of home-grown produce, to people who need it most. This process occurs all around the United States. In San Diego, gleaning has taken a more unique, urban form with a focus on volunteers gleaning excess fruit from residential properties and farms to be donated local food banks.

If you’re in need of help to glean fruit or vegetables from your property, search “gleaners” at www.WasteFreeSD.orgLocal gleaning programs, including Cropswap Carlsbad, and Senior Gleaners of SD County, listed in our recycling database, can both pick up excess produce, as well as offer volunteer opportunities for those looking to donate their time.

Food waste is a serious problem in the US, prompting the EPA to get involved in reducing food waste. They have created a food recovery hierarchy,which helps to promote the best ways to reduce food waste and put excess food to the best use. The diagram below shows that the first priority is reducing the volume of food produced with the second being feeding hungry people with any excess food; gleaners do precisely that. 

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The average american throws away roughly 20 lbs. of food each month while 23 million Americans lack access to nutritious food.

For more information about reducing food waste, please check out the blog Five Easy Ways to Reduce Food Waste, written by our environmental educator, Emily. Also, if you see a need in your neighborhood and want to take action or want to learn more about gleaning check out the USDA’s toolkit to help.

As always, be sure to visit our one-stop recycling resource, www.WasteFreeSD.org, to find recycling and environmental resources near you! 


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