2016 ILACSD Accomplishments

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

2016 ILACSD Accomplishments

2016 Accomplishments Breakdown:

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

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

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

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

Zero Waste New Year’s Resolutions

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Today’s blog post was written by Education Manager, Emily!

The new year gives us a chance to set intentions for our lives. At the close of every December, I set goals for the coming year, write them on an index card (or recycled piece of paper!), and post them somewhere visible. Unlike more general New Year’s resolutions, I typically have success meeting my goals because I make them specific and review them regularly to keep focus.

As you’re looking ahead to 2017, consider setting goals to adopt a zero waste lifestyle. By doing so, you will reduce the amount of trash sent to the landfill, become more sustainable, and minimize your carbon footprint. We’ve gathered a few ideas to help you get started.

  • Buy local. Find your local farmer’s market and shop there once a month. Shopping locally reduces fossil fuel-based transportation costs.

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  • Conduct a waste audit to see what you’re currently throwing away. Spend a week collecting your trash to understand what you’re throwing away. Then, select one disposable item you can replace with a reusable alternative. Some ideas: reusable produce bags, safety razors, handkerchiefs, chopsticks, stainless steel straws, beeswax wraps, and sandwich bags.
  • Be mindful of energy use. Start by selecting one appliance to unplug when not in use. Toasters, cell phone chargers, and fans are a great place to start. Or look into more sustainable energy options, like the SDG&E EcoChoice Program.
  • Reduce food waste. Learn how to properly store fresh produce to slow rotting.
  • Buy secondhand. Shop at a thrift store 3 times throughout the year.
  • Learn a new skill. Canning, gardening, and sewing are great skills for your zero waste journey. Or learn to do your own car maintenance or bicycle repair.
  • Shave two minutes off your shower time. Most shower heads have a flow of 2 gallons per minute. This minor adjustment will save four gallons per shower. If we make a very modest assumption that you shower once a week, that equates to 208 gallons saved over the course of the year. If you shower daily, that’s 1,460 gallons saved. For more ideas, check out The Hidden Water We Use by National Geographic.
  • Try one recipe a week using bulk items. Soups, grains, granola bars, and baked goods are great dishes for bulk success!
  • Plant an herb garden. You’ll only need to pick the amount you need per recipe instead of letting half a bunch of mint wilt in the back of the fridge. If you’re short on space, try a vertical garden.
  • Learn! Read an article a week about zero waste and sustainability, listen to podcasts, watch videos, find books, and get inspired by others.
  • Rethink your main mode of transportation. Research electric vehicles on the market. Even if you’re not currently in the market for a new vehicle, it’s useful to stay abreast of the current offerings so you can be a more informed consumer when the time comes.
  • Carpool. Carpool to one event or outing per month.
  • Plant native. Native plants require less water and maintenance. They also provide habitat for birds, butterflies, and other native wildlife.
  • Go vegetarian 3 days a week. Learn more about why with this YouTube video.

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  • Start composting. Check out our Classroom Composting lesson plan for basics about starting a vermicompost.
  • Reduce paper use. Assess any print publication subscriptions (or junk mail), and find one to eliminate. Once you’ve read past copies of the periodical, contact your local library, elementary school, or scouting group to see if they’re interested in using your old copies.
  • Attend a community cleanup. Not only will you be removing debris from our environment, but dedicating time to collect litter from the street will spur your motivation to reduce your reliance on single-use items. Subscribe to our Facebook events to stay up-to-date on our public cleanups!
  • Get outside. Hike, stargaze, bike, swim, camp and explore. The more you connect with the natural world, the more dedicated you will be to preserving it for generations to come.

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Staff Picks: Zero Waste Holiday Gifts

There’s no greater test to a zero waste lifestyle than holiday time! A zero waster strives to keep items they use out of the landfill but it can feel challenging to stick to your values with many holiday activities like gift giving. Though it can be tough, it’s also a wonderful opportunity to get creative, have a little fun and share with others how simple it is to incorporate zero waste practices any time of the year.

Need some ideas? Check out a few go-to zero waste and eco-friendly gifts from
I Love A Clean San Diego staff members:

Ex Libris Anonymous

Repurposed Book Journals – Emily
Our Education Manager, Emily, loves the handmade journals from Ex Libris Anonymous. She loves them so much, she gave me no choice but to include the Portland company in this post. If you’re a literary fan, you’ll fall in love with these interesting journals made from vintage books.

 

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Reusable Makeup Cotton Pads – Natalie
Reusable makeup pads are a great alternative to disposable cotton balls and cotton pads because they help eliminate the trash you produce on a daily basis with your beauty routine. More and more companies are selling them and they are quite durable (some boasting to last more than 1,000 washes!). Natalie, our Senior Director of Operations, likes the reusable cosmetic pads from Makeup Eraser. If you’re feeling crafty, you can make your own like above. Check out this DIY Reusable Makeup Remover Pad.

 

Locally Roasted Coffee – Pia
I’m all about supporting local coffee roasters. You get better quality coffee AND support the local economy. Win-win! Many local roasters are willing to work with you to fill your own containers. I love Common Good Coffee in La Mesa. You can also get bulk local coffee from the OB People’s Market.

 

Sustainable Wood Earrings – Becca
Many jewelry companies use repurposed or sustainable items for their materials. Becca, our Education Specialist, couldn’t stop raving about her favorite earrings from Green Tree Jewelry. They are made in the US from sustainably harvested trees and utilize 90% recycled ear cards. Plus, they’re stylish too!

Need more zero waste gift inspiration? Check out our Zero Waste Gift Guide.

Zero Waste Gift Guide

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Today’s blog comes from Education Specialist and Zero Waste Workshop Teacher, Grace!

Zero waste and gift giving don’t always go hand-in-hand. Picking out the perfect gift for friends and family can be a lot of fun, but to factor in packaging waste, longevity of the gift, gift wrapping, cards and more…it’s no wonder it can feel overwhelming to someone with a zero waste lifestyle! Have no fear—we’re here to help! We’ve compiled and tested out some great strategies for zero waste gift giving to make your spirits bright while also sticking to your zero waste habits.

Wrapping
Cute wrapping paper and fancy bows are often all too tempting at the store but going more sustainable with your wrapping can help you personalize your gifts and save money.

  • Newspaper. Newspaper makes for a wonderful wrapping paper. Comic pages are especially fun for kids (and adults)!
  • Paper bags (for those times you forget your reusable grocery bags). Many people reuse their paper bags as book covers, trash bags and more. They also make for great gift wrapping material.
  • Reusable bags. Utilize a reusable bag to wrap your gift.
  • Cloth, scarf or handkerchief. Wrap your gift in a vintage handkerchief, cloth napkin or scarf for two gifts in one!
  • Scratch paper. For smaller gifts, scratch paper can be utilized as a wrapping paper.
  • Reused gift bags or gift wrap. Keep all gift bags you receive and reuse!
  • Or just skip the wrapping!

Be sure to decorate and personalize your gifts once they’re wrapped. Use twine instead of bows and make your own cards or tags out of scratch paper, old tags, scraps or business cards. For more zero waste gift wrap ideas, check out our past blog on Sustainable Gift Wrap Solutions.

 

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Zero Waste Gift Ideas

There are many directions you can go to incorporate zero waste practices into your gift giving and bring even more meaning to your gifts. In general, look for gifts with minimal or no packaging and figure out what your family and friends really want and need. Sometimes the best zero waste gift is the one that the recipient will enjoy for years to come!

  • Eco-friendly items. Help friends and family be more sustainable with gifts like reusable cups, stainless steel straws or travel utensil sets.
  • Shop local. Buy locally roasted coffee, find unique gifts at farmers markets and support local boutiques. Often, local companies are more sustainable with packaging and materials.
  • Purchase repurposed items such as glass cups made from beer bottles.
  • Shop at thrift or secondhand stores. Games, books and kitchen items are great categories to find secondhand to prevent consumer waste and save some money.
  • Support a nonprofit. Give a gift to an organization making a difference in your community on behalf of a friend or family member.
  • Make DIY Gifts such as candles (see this tutorial), bird feeders (tutorial here) or scarfs (see this DIY).
  • Invest in an experience. Purchase a cooking lesson, schedule a tour pass to discover a new part of San Diego or book tickets for a theater show. Giving the gift of an experience can also be a great way to share time together!
  • Handmade soaps. Check out local shops or farmers markets. Or make your own handmade soap.
  • Food. Share your latest baking creation! Make cake pops, truffles or gummy bears. Be sure to think of zero waste friendly packaging options such as cloth napkins, beeswax saran wrap, Mason jars or reusable tins. Follow the I Love A Clean San Diego Pinterest page for DIY ideas for food and other gifts.
  • Buy a membership. Art lover? Give them a museum membership. Surfer? Purchase a membership for an organization like Surfrider Foundation. Foodie? Get a membership that supports an organization AND gives discounts to local restaurants like Slow Food Urban San Diego.

How to Live WaterSmart

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

Resources provided by the Water Authority and its partners include:

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Other great WaterSmart tips:

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

Sam’s First Time Driving Our EV

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

ZERO WASTE HALLOWEEN

Zero Waste: ENERGY

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

Here are some simply spooky spells & treats:

No Bake Monster Teeth:

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Erika’s no-bake cheesecake:


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Zero Waste: PLASTIC PACKAGING 

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

Zero Waste: GOURDS (PUMPKINS AND SQUASH)

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

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

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

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

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

 
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Zero Waste: Shopping

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

NEW WASTEFREESD COMING SOON

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

TRASH OR TREAT 

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

 

 

I Love A Clean San Diego’s Fall Social

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Love A Clean San Diego’s Fall Social 

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

The Catamaran Resort

Click here to reserve your place 

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

 

Let’s all be Gleaning Machines

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

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

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

Food Desert Infogrpahic

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

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

Gleaning

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

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

PB Site Captain Strikes a Chord with Surfers & Volunteers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

lobster traps that have been found at tourmaline

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

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

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


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