Tips for a Green Graduation

c2b16 mountain view park (278)Hi my name is Hannah and I am currently one of the Outreach Interns at I Love A Clean San Diego! I am graduating this May from San Diego State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sustainability.  My love for the environment started in high school after taking a course in environmental science, which led me to my major. I am always trying to find ways to be more sustainable, including my upcoming college graduation.

Graduation season is quickly approaching. From kindergarten to college, there will be millions of students all over the globe walking across a stage to receive their diploma.  Here are 4 ways to be sustainable this graduation season and have a green graduation!

  1. Send evites to your friends and family to attend your graduation ceremony or party rather than paper announcements! You will not only be saving the planet, but also saving money. The online alternative to invitations is affordable, easy, and environmentally friendly! Websites such as Paperless Post, Greenvelope, and Punch Bowl all offer free or low cost alternatives.

  1. Rent or recycle your graduation gown! There are more than 5 million high school and college graduates every year each purchasing a graduation gown they will probably never wear again and could end up in a landfill, if it is not recycled. Greener Grads is a website that provides low cost cap, gown, and tassel rentals. If you have already graduated or purchased your gown, don’t fret, Greener Grads will recycle it for you after you are done.

SDSU gown

  1. Arrange a carpool for your guests attending your graduation or encourage them to take public transportation. Not only will there be tons of traffic getting to and from the ceremony, but they will be making a positive impact on the environment.   Since SDSU has a trolley stop right on campus, my family is staying at a hotel in close proximity to a trolley stop for my graduation this May for a quick, sustainable, and hassle free journey.
  1. Encourage your friends and family to refrain from showering you with balloons and candy leis at your graduation ceremony, and let them know their attendance is more than enough! We are currently facing a helium shortage, you know the stuff that we fill balloons with, and studies suggest supplies could be depleted before the middle of the century. Helium is a non-renewable resource, so once it’s gone it’s gone. Another popular graduation ceremony gift are candy leis, but candy wrappers are made from mixed materials that can be very difficult to recycle.

We’ll that’s it! If you’re graduating this spring or if you know someone who is, take these tips with you as you celebrate this incredible milestone with our environment in mind. For more sustainable ideas for other occasions, follow I Love A Clean San Diego on Pinterest!

Graduation meme

Creek2Bay Site Captain Spotlight – Dixon Lake

I Love A Clean San Diego appreciates all the hard work our volunteers put in to our cleanups in order to keep San Diego beautiful. Today, we would like to highlight one our amazing volunteers who has taken on the role of site captain at Dixon Lake in Escondido. If you’d like to join her at her site or one in your neighborhood there’s still time to register at CreektoBay.org!

LoriLaugh

Lori having a blast at last year’s Dixon Lake cleanup!

Lori is a program assistant with the recycling division in the City of Escondido. At the recycling division, Lori handles the disposal of hazardous waste for the city and public education about waste diversion. Through her work, Lori attends farmers’ markets and schools to demonstrate repurposed crafts and recycling 101 as ways to reduce waste.

Lori originally got involved with the Creek to Bay Cleanup a few years ago when she accompanied her supervisor to a site captain meeting. After attending a few more site captain meetings, Lori decided this year she would be a site captain herself at Dixon Lake. 

DSC01031

The Creek to Bay Cleanup gets the community involved and invested in protecting our environment. Lori says, “People come to the sites and make a positive impact on the environment.” She believes that every piece of trash counts and that it also is very eye-opening for members of the community.

When asked why the Creek to Bay Cleanup is so important to her community, Lori said, “We are keeping the area clean, families are out and bonding, and the park rangers enjoy it.”

At Dixon Lake there are few recycling receptacles. Lori hopes to ultimately change that and match every garbage can with a recycling bin.

DSC01050

Lori keeps coming back every year to the Creek to Bay Cleanup because it is a rewarding few hours. She encourages others to come out and spend a few hours with their families to enhance our environment. Lori believes Dixon Lake is more than just a lake, “it’s a beautiful part of Escondido that brings many people together”.

Join us tomorrow, Saturday, April 23rd at one of our 110 Creek to Bay Cleanup sites! If you’re in the Escondido area, join Lori at Dixon Lake or find a site in your neighborhood at CreekToBay.org!

We’ll hope you join us at one of our 100+ sites as we beautify San Diego!

We are enhancing our environment, starting in your neighborhood.

A big thank you to Lori for all her work as a site captain and to the Escondido Recycling Division for supporting I Love A Clean San Diego’s Creek to Bay Cleanup. Thank you for investing in a clean San Diego!

c2b16-flyer

How to start a recycling program at your office

The majority of our day is spent at work. Every day you’re bound to deal with some amount of paper, especially if you work in an office. Implementing a recycling program in your office will require dedication, encouragement and education; luckily we have some tips on how to smoothly transition to a greener office.

First, find out what your waste hauler accepts and doesn’t accept, because each waste hauler is slightly different. You can find this information from a building manager or an administrative assistant.

WhatToRecycleMagnet

Start by catching everyone up to speed on what is recyclable and what isn’t.

Next, inventory your trash and recycling bin – how well is your office recycling already? Where can the recycling efforts improve?  Can you increase paper recycling, beverage container recycling, and food packaging recycling? Assess the items that are used most and which items are placed in the wrong bin. The goal is to divert those items from the trash can and into the recycling bin. From there you can set goals that are obtainable for your office.office recycling collage

Start small. Set a goal for the office that requires an educational component. Remind everyone that this is a team effort and involve everyone in the goal setting process. Appoint an overseer (we suggest you call them a “Sustainability Champion”) and as an incentive, reward others when you see them recycling properly.

trash labeling

In our shared kitchen area, we’ve labeled both of the trash & recycling bins along with a graphic that illustrates what items go in each bin.

Periodically, squeeze in a friendly reminder about the recycling goal at the bottom of an email or at the end of a staff meeting. Remember to avoid demanding phrases or shaming. Instead, highlight the achievement of individuals or the entire office. If you need a boost of eco-positivity, check out this blog from our Education Manager, Emily.

If you are looking to further expand your recycling program, appoint someone to collect any non-working electronics to recycle at a collection facility, not your office recycling bin. Common office items that can be collected for recycling include batteries, toner and inkjet cartridges, computer components, and fluorescent light bulbs.

Illustration of two batteries

Batteries are recyclable at household hazardous waste collection facilities.

In addition to an electronic waste pile, take your recycling efforts to the next level and add a donation pile in a cubicle or in the storage room.  There are great organizations around San Diego that will accept office items in good condition. To find a local organization visit WasteFreeSD.org

Remember to provide several rewards and words of encouragement. Set recycling goals that are achievable and go from there. Your office will continue to make improvements that will lead to the ultimate goal of zero waste!

 

CBTreg-cmyk

This blog has been sponsored by California Bank & Trust. 

Creek2Bay Site Captain Spotlight – Spanish Landing

c2b16-flyerEach year, I Love a Clean San Diego hosts the annual Creek to Bay Cleanup, with over 100+ cleanup sites. We like to highlight our volunteer site captains who go above and beyond to help make this event possible. For today’s blog, we’ve chosen Brendan Reed from the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority to tell us about his journey to help keep San Diego clean and how he and his team are making a difference in our community. Read on to learn more about how Brendan got involved and how you can make a difference at a site near you.

Brendan is a seasoned volunteer site captain and is committed to keeping San Diego clean. When he isn’t volunteering with ILACSD, you can find him at the San Diego Regional Airport Authority, where he is the Environmental Sustainability Manager. Brendan’s main focuses are energy and water conservation, air quality management, and clean transportation at the San Diego Airport.

Having such a passion for sustainability Brendan finds himself as the site captain at Spanish Landing Park East in Point Loma – what he considers “the front door step” for the traveling airport passengers. Spanish Landing is a relatively new site, which Brendan believes makes it an “untapped” area for cleanups. While the site is generally kept clean, Brendan says that you would be surprised by the amount of trash you can still find and cleanup, especially objects like cigarette butts, old fishing line, and other smaller items. 

spanish landing - brendan reed (2)

Small pieces of litter really do add up!

Brendan first started volunteering with ILACSD ten years ago when he was the environmental manager for the City of Chula Vista. What keeps Brendan coming back year after year? Brendan says it’s, “ILACSD’s mission and their on-the-ground projects.” Brendan feels that through cleanups, communities are engaged and it’s a great benefit not just for the environment but for everyone. Brendan encourages others to come out on April 23rd at one of the 110 sites because even their smallest actions could make all the difference. “With 5,000 plus volunteers we are making a difference and that’s inspiring”.

spanish landing - brendan reed (1)

It’s more than a cleanup. Creek to Bay is about community.

He encourages those who are looking to get involved with I Love a Clean San Diego to find a site that has meaning for them. By volunteering at the Creek to Bay Cleanup, we can help reduce our impact on the local environment.

Keep San Diego thriving and show it some love! Save the Date for the Creek to Bay Cleanup happening on Saturday, April 23rd by registering today at CreektoBay.org!

A big thank you to Brendan Reed for all his work as a site captain and to the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority for supporting I Love A Clean San Diego’s Creek to Bay Cleanup.

Thank you for investing in a clean San Diego!

san_diego_airport

 

 

Spring Cleaning in SD

Spring is here which means many of us will be cleaning out our closets to make room for our summer clothes. For others it means that a much needed home cleaning will be underway, as well. What better way to enjoy Earth Month than by donating your unwanted items to local organizations that keep items out of the landfill.

If you have furniture in good shape, workable appliances or electronics that you would like see find a good home, consider posting them on websites like CraigslistFreecycle and the Buy Nothing Project. These sites offer a method of landfill diversion and provide items in good condition with a second home. This is also the hassle-free way to donate items without having to physically move the items yourself.Freecycle

Looking to donate something smaller? ArtForm at the Rare Hare Studios will accept household items that can be reused for art projects. Items such as buttons, ribbons, bottle caps and yarn are just a few things in the long list of items that they accept as donations. To find what else they will accept check out their wish list online. Donations need to be pre-approved so give them a ring before dropping anything off – they’d love to hear from you!

IMG_5570blog

Looking to donate something bigger? If your spring cleaning involves some home renovations, places like Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore locations will accept things like doors, windows, and cabinets that are in good condition. To read more about donating construction and demolition debris to organizations that provide great services for people check out this blog.reduce-reuse-restore2Remember to check with each location before dropping-off donations to ensure that your items will be accepted and to confirm drop-off times.

Lastly, if you have items that cannot be donated such as broken electronics or appliances, household hazardous waste, or old/unwanted medications, be sure to search WasteFreeSD.org for recycling options near you!

Zero Waste 101

What is zero waste? First, let’s define what zero waste is to better understand how it affects you and what it means for our communities.

Zero waste is the process of eliminating reusable or repairable materials from ending up in the landfill. Zero waste encourages manufacturers, municipalities, and consumers to evaluate current consumption patterns and minimize single-use items. In order to divert materials from the landfill we must share the responsibility of producing and consuming sustainable products while limiting our use of disposable items.

Zero Waste Alternatives

Now that we know what zero waste means, let’s explore why this practice impacts San Diegans. Currently, the Miramar Landfill is composed of reusable substances; yes that is right REUSABLE substances. The top 3 reusable substances in our landfill are:

Organics (food scraps, yard waste) 39%

Construction and Demolition (building materials) 25%

Paper 17%

When we choose to send these items to the landfill, large amounts of methane gas are released which pose serious public and environmental health concerns. On the positive side,  all of this can either be recycled, reused or composted, which means, we can do something about it! ZW blog landfill

In response to the amount of reusable materials in the landfill (or should we say landFULL) the City of San Diego adopted a zero waste plan to focus on reusing rather than disposing items. Currently, the City of San Diego diversion rate has been consistent around 67%. Here is an outline of upcoming benchmarks for the city’s waste diversion plan:

  • 75%  by 2020
  • 90%  2035
  • 100% diversion rate by 2040.

The plan’s primary focus is on organics diversion. There are several resources available to help you reduce food waste through planning and composting. Learn more at by reading about some of our past food waste blogs and WasteFreeSD.org!

Even I Love A Clean San Diego’s Recycling and Household Hazardous Waste database is getting a zero waste makeover! Stay tuned for the redesign release of WasteFreeSD.org this summer! The new database will include a easy to use search bar that will help you find convenient ways to divert waste from the landfill!

Hundreds attend kickoff event at Dixon Lake

Here at I Love A Clean San Diego, we like to make it as easy as possible for people to volunteer with us. That’s why we love our Adopt-A-Beach and Adopt-A-Canyon programs—people can schedule beach or canyon cleanups any day of the year, and we provide all of the cleanup supplies for free.

Thanks to a grant from the Escondido Charitable Foundation, we are now able to bring this program to two sites in Escondido—Dixon Lake and Kit Carson Park. These are the first adoptable sites in inland North County, and we’re thrilled to have this program as an option for people who live far from the nearest adoptable beach.

This past weekend, we hosted a kickoff event to officially launch the program. We invited volunteers to join us at Dixon Lake in northeastern Escondido.

And we sure did kick off this program with a bang! A grand total of 402 volunteers collected 348 pounds of trash and recycling from around the lake and nearby Daley Ranch hiking trails. Here’s a recap of how the event unfolded.

DSC01019

Our volunteers listen attentively to the kickoff and safety talk from Lexi, our Development Manager. She covered topics like how trash travels through the community, why cleanups are important, and local recycling rules. She also talked about how to get involved with the newly launched Adopt-A-Canyon program in Escondido. Some of these volunteers have already signed up online and scheduled their next Escondido cleanups!

DSC01039

A team from the Division 37 East Key Club paused for a photo in front of scenic Dixon Lake. Throughout the morning, lake visitors thanked our volunteers for helping to keep the park clean and litter-free!

DSC01048

Miles of trails run along the lake, so our volunteers were able to spread out and cover a lot of ground. Here, a team from North Coast Church walked along one of the lake trails hunting for litter with our trash grabber and bucket in hand!

IMG_2923
You never know what you’ll find at our cleanup events! This young volunteer wins our Most Unusual Item prize for finding this full bottle of sparkling cider. Here’s to you!

DSC01061
We weigh all of the trash and recycling collected at our cleanups as a way of measuring our impact and accomplishments. When volunteers use their own buckets instead of single-use plastic bags, we simply subtract the weight of the empty bucket to determine the weight of the trash. The buckets get emptied right into the dumpster—no single-use plastics needed!

DSC01077
A big thanks to this massive volunteer team from UCSD’s Upward Bound program. We love working with big groups like this one to get a lot accomplished at our events. These young students were a huge help!

Interested in adopting one of these sites? Visit www.AdoptSD.org to learn more and to schedule your own cleanups. We can provide a free educational presentation to kick off your first cleanup, and if you complete three cleanups over the course of a year, you can apply to have your group’s name posted on a sign on site.

We’ll be back at Dixon Lake, as well as at four other Escondido sites, for our big countywide event, the Creek to Bay Cleanup, on Saturday, April 23rd from 9AM-12PM. Registration opens April 1st at CreektoBay.org!

C2B16-Road-Sign-Graphic

Zero Waste Home Decor

Grace- 131x172Today’s blog comes from Grace, one of our Education Specialists! If you want to create less waste in 2016 get started today with one of our tried and true zero waste crafts! If you like what you find here, be sure to come to our next free workshop this Saturday, February 20th to learn first-hand from our educators like Grace! 

The average person in San Diego County makes 1,825 pounds of trash in just one year – that’s 5 pounds a day! This abundance of trash can have a variety of consequences, including filling up our landfills and harming animals if this trash makes its way into our environment. In an effort to inspire San Diegans to kick-start a zero waste lifestyle, I Love A Clean San Diego has incorporated the following DIY repurposing projects into our Sustainable Living Series workshops. Repurposing projects not only save items from the landfill, but also reduce the amount of new resources that need to be purchased by upcycling the resources we already have.

10.7.15 - SLS (22)

Toy trucks, shoes, tea cups, you name it! Any common item can be transformed into a succulent planter with a little creativity.

Planting succulents in repurposed containers: This project utilizes drought resistant succulents that are perfect for our dry Southern California climate. Your succulent “pot” can be anything from an antique tea cup to a shoe.

Supplies:

  • Repurposed container
  • Drill (optional)
  • Charcoal (optional)
  • Rocks
  • Succulents
  • Soil
10.7.15 - SLS (40)

Who knew a gravy boat could be transformed into such a beautiful planter?

Instructions:

  1. Select your repurposed container.
  2. Some drainage in the container is preferred. If possible drill a hole in the bottom of the container. A diamond drill bit may be needed depending on the material OR cover the bottom of the container with a thin layer of charcoal to absorb excess water.
  3. Add a layer of river rocks at the bottom of the container.
  4. Fill container ¾ with soil.
  5. Arrange succulents to your liking.
    • For indoor arrangements, widely space plants in the same container for maximum exposure to sunlight.
  6. Once complete, give your succulents a soak with a spray bottle.
Zero Waste Home - Jan 2016 (40)

Finished pieces from our Zero Waste Home Workshop.


Repurposing glass bottles:
This project takes your empty glass bottles from one party and upcycles them into decorations for your next! Any sized bottle can be transformed into a vase or centerpiece.

Supplies:

  • Glass beverage bottles
  • Goo Gone
  • Paint or Spray Paint
  • Twine

Zero Waste Home - Jan 2016 (85)Instructions:

  1. Remove labels and clean residual glue from bottles with Goo Gone.
  2. Swirl the inside of the bottle with paint OR Spray paint the outside of the bottle.
  3. Wrap selected areas of the bottle in twine.
  4. Variations can include using newspaper, old book pages, metallic markers, tissue paper and ribbon.

Try your hand at a DIY project at our next Zero Waste workshop! Register for our Zero Waste Shopping workshop on February 20th at Ocean Knoll Farm.

Zero-Waste-Living-Workshop---Feb-2016

Moriah bridges love for craft beer & the environment

Mo brewing beerToday’s blog comes from our Community Program Coordinator, Moriah as she shares her love for San Diego craft beer and our environment!

I am known as the resident beer nerd at I Love a Clean San Diego.  After working at a local brewery for about a year and brewing at home, it’s safe to say I know a thing or two about beer.  One thing I didn’t know, however, was how connected my love of beer was to my love for the environment.  In a city like San Diego, it’s not surprising that our local breweries value our environment as much as they value their craft.

Ways SD breweries minimize waste

Water conservation is a big issue for everyone in California, and that includes craft breweries.  The industry average in California ranges from 3.5 to 6 gallons of water for every gallon of beer produced.  Breweries in San Diego are leading the way in reducing the amount of water needed for their production.  Local breweries are becoming increasingly water-wise.  According to the California Craft Brewers Association, Ballast Point has reduced its water use by more than 24 percent, and Stone Brewing Company recycles more than 62 percent of its water daily.

One of the biggest ways that local breweries reduce waste is by using their spent grain in creative ways.  Spent grain is the grain left over after the brewing process.  Instead of throwing this used grain in the landfill, most of San Diego’s breweries donate it to local farms, where it can be used as livestock feed.  Stone Brewing Company even uses it as a mulching tool in their garden.  Some of their spent grain goes towards locally made soaps and dog treats as well!

Hop farm

Hop farm picture is Jordan Brownwood tending hops at Nopalito Farm & Hopyard. Photo credit:  slowfoodurbansandiego.org

San Diego is known for its hop-heavy beers, but did you know that farms right here in San Diego County grow one of beer’s most important ingredients? Nopalito Farms is a local, family-run organic hopyard and orchard in North County San Diego.  Since water conservation is always an issue in Southern California, Nopalito Farms has adopted sustainable farming practices like drip irrigation and mulching, and they work to maximize the rain that they get in Valley Center.

Imbibe with the earth in mind!

  • Bring a growler with you next time you pick up beer. Instead of cans or glass bottles that will end up in your blue bin, get a reusable growler and take it to the closest brewery.  Get fresh, draft beer straight from the source! Be sure to check with the brewery first to see if they have any specific growler policies.
  • Reuse old beer or wine bottles to make decorations for your house. At our recent Sustainable Living Workshop that focuses on a zero waste home, our educators taught attendees how to reuse their old bottles and turn them into fashionable home decorations.

    Zero Waste Home - Jan 2016 (29)

    One example of a  repurposed wine bottle from our Zero Waste Home Workshop.

Volunteer at Cupid’s Cleanup!

If all of this beer talk has you thirsty, you can join us and Benchmark Brewing Company on Saturday, February 13th from 10am-12pm for a cleanup of the San Diego River! Why not switch up the typical dinner and a movie Valentine’s Day date and help us clean up the San Diego River instead. Then, if this blog has inspired you to try some local San Diego suds, you can join us afterward for a Valentine’s Day-themed mixer hosted by Benchmark Brewing Company! Families, sweethearts, kids, and singles are all welcome.

Register here! Help us spread the word by joining the Facebook event and sharing the cleanup with your friends and family. 

cupids instagram

Meet Becca – Our newest educator!

Becca-131x172Hello Everyone! My name is Becca and I’m the newest Education Specialist for I Love A Clean San Diego!

I have been involved in teaching students all ages about the environment since college when I discovered that my passion could easily translate to a career. The appeal for working as an Education Specialist for I Love A Clean San Diego is multifaceted, but one of the most important aspects I appreciate is how we focus on helping students understand their individual power. Students may not be able to drive or vote, but they can make a difference and improve their environment with their individual actions. For example, students have power over choosing whether or not to pick up their pet’s waste. This is a very simple task that takes minimal time and has huge benefits. Who knew kids had that power?

Becca's-first-presentation

Becca’s first presentation as an ILACSD Education Specialist!

That explains why I Love A Clean San Diego (ILACSD) is great, but why do I do this work in general? I believe in empowering students. Every person can make a difference through their choices and that when they feel connected to their environment, they are more likely to make choices that support conservation and protection efforts. When students engage with their environment, it benefits the students’ development as future citizens of the world.

I also love the ocean. Whenever my family vacationed when I was little, it was to visit the beach. I have seen a variety of coastal systems now and have both the scientific and anthropogenic understanding of coastal ecosystems. This being said, there is also an aspect beyond the science. There is the element of emotion behind my connection to the ocean. The ocean is a powerful, incredible, yet calming presence. When students make that connection with the ocean for the first time, it is always an awe-inspiring experience for me.

12079991_2563852741250_8910089781427291076_o

Becca exploring the depths of the ocean.

ILACSD takes on a challenge that many others may shy away from – we introduce the students to the bigger picture of how undesirable items travel from land to our beloved ocean. This is a new challenge for me is to help students that might not regularly visit the ocean to understand how their everyday actions greatly impact such a giant body of water as the Pacific Ocean. It is an important lesson with great value and hopefully is a model for other programs to learn how to introduce such a big concept of interconnectivity to students of all ages.1505657_2123297407642_5278649911434705247_n

If you’d like to have our educators visit your classroom, please contact our Education Manager, Emily! 


ILACSD Logo

Subscribe to ecoBLOGic

Enter your email address to receive notifications of new posts by email!

Join 7,922 other followers

Archives

Follow Us On Twitter

ILACSD on Facebook


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,922 other followers

%d bloggers like this: