Green Up Your Spring Cleaning!

Amanda, ILACSD Hotline ManagerAlthough the groundhog saw its shadow and predicted six more weeks of winter last month, it sure feels like spring has taken hold in San Diego! For today’s blog, Amanda, our Hotline Manager, has put together a variety of useful tips to help jumpstart your eco-friendly spring cleaning!

Some may argue that San Diego only has two seasons – summer and a slightly cooler and rainier version of summer. Nevertheless, it is officially spring! Along with visions of bunnies, tulips and warmer weather – you’ll probably think of (and dread!) spring cleaning when you hear the word “spring”.

Eco-friendly products are now more popular than ever, but how do you know if what you’re purchasing is really helping to protect the environment? The EPA is rolling out a new program this spring/summer, it is called the Safer Choice Label. These labels will not only help you choose products that are safer for our environment, they will also help you choose products that are safer for your family, children and pets. More information on the EPA’s program can be found here

Per the EPA  – “Only products that meet our Safer Choice Standard, which includes stringent human health and environmental criteria, are allowed to carry the label.”

If you aren’t able to find a product with the Safer Choice Label, there are a few things you can look for when choosing an eco-friendly cleaner on your own. Here is a list of harmful ingredients to avoid:

  • Phosphates and EDTA, or ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid
  • Butyl or 2-butoxyethanol and oxalatesgreen cleaning alternatives

In place of these harsh chemicals, look for sodium citrate, sodium bicarbonate alkyl polyglycoside, isopropanol and glycerol on the ingredients list.  For more information, check out this article from Washington Post!

If you have a little more time to invest, DIY cleaning products are great alternatives as well! You can make anything from glass cleaner to furniture polish to carpet cleaner with some basic products you may already have at home. You can clean your toilet bowl with vinegar and baking soda – yes, just like the volcanoes you made as a kid! Find more tips on our Pinterest board “Clean and Green” including this great Buzzfeed article about DIY household products!

After your house is spick and span, remember to repair, recycle, donate, reuse and/or properly dispose of the excess items, putting things in their place. If you need a refresher on what is considered trash, recyclable, and household hazardous waste turn to www.WasteFreeSD.org! Our database also has lots of information about donation and recycling centers to help you get rid of unwanted items!

Find this handy resource on wastefreesd.org!

Find this handy resource on WasteFreeSD.org!

 

Profiling ILACSD’s longest-serving site captains!

Mindy & Jane - Dog Beach Dog Wash

Mindy & Jane, Dog Beach Dog Wash owners, with Juno, Chipper & Zydeco.

Today’s blog is a special one. Two of our longest standing supporters, Jane Donley and Mindy Pellissier, graciously put together these thoughtful answers about their experience as site captains and what they do year-round to help protect OB’s Dog Beach. Read on to learn more about their passion for a clean San Diego and why they want you to join them for Creek to Bay, happening April 25th!

Prior to opening the Dog Wash, Mindy & I got our first dog in Feb. 1989 and began visiting Dog Beach daily.  The Ocean Beach Town Council had adopted Dog Beach in 1972 (when it officially became an off-leash area) for cleanups 3-4 times a year.  As members of the Town Council, we became involved in the cleanups and in 1993 (when opening Dog Beach Dog Wash) took over as captains and organizers of the cleanups.

In 1996, we organized Friends of Dog Beach to cleanup and care for Dog Beach, conducting bi-weekly cleanups with several hundred volunteers.  Currently we conduct monthly cleanups (every second Saturday from 9 to 11 am) in addition to Creek to Bay, Morning After Mess on July 5th, and Coastal Cleanup Day.  We installed 12 stainless steel containers for dog bags with help from County Supervisor Greg Cox and the OB Community Development Corporation in 2002, and currently provide more than 10,000 free poop bags a week to keep Dog Beach clean.

DBDW - 2009

Throw back to 2009 at one of OB Dog Beach’s monthly cleanups!

 

 

What brings us back?

We value Dog Beach (40+ acres of sand where the San Diego River meets the Pacific Ocean) for the joy it brings to the 10,000 dogs who visit each week, the social benefits to dogs and human guardians, and the love and respect we have for the natural habitat and fresh air.  We are committed to improving the water quality of the river and ocean, and maintaining the beach as a desired destination for nature- and dog-lovers, and will always support organizations and individuals who share these values.

SD River meets the Pacific Ocean

OB’s Dog Beach – 40+ acres of sand where the San Diego River meets the Pacific Ocean.

Why should others consider becoming site captains?

The best part of being a site captain is the vested interest in protecting and enhancing the beauty and health of a “great place” be it a canyon, creek, back alley or beach.  Over years one can see improvements, and socializing with neighbors for a good cause improves everyone’s quality of life.  Inspiring others, especially younger generations, to respect and enhance the environment is another major goal.

DBDW - CCD14

Volunteers, including Councilmember Lori Zapf and ILACSD Director Bill Haines, at last year’s Coastal Cleanup Day at Dog Beach.

 

Aside from cleanups, how else does Dog Beach Dog Wash protect the environment?

In our private lives, and at Dog Beach Dog Wash, we continually seek ways to protect and enhance the environment.  We’ve planted trees, and conserve water with low-flow devices, synthetic lawn and low-water plants.  We use recycled and recyclable paper products, green cleaning products, “Energy Star” appliances, and sell healthy organic dog treats and dog/cat collars and leashes made from soy and recycled plastic bottles. Because of potential zoonotic diseases, we cannot use recycled water; we looked into that.

We also donate our used towels and dog accessories to local animal shelters to be re-used for dogs & cats awaiting forever homes.  We support organizations that share our values for sustaining and improving the environment, including I Love A Clean San Diego, Think Blue, Surfrider, Coastkeeper, and the San Diego River Park Foundation.

DBDW and OB sacred heart - 4.12

Student volunteers from OB Sacred Heart Academy – Earth Day Cleanup 2012

 

Mark your calendars – registration opens Wednesday, April 1st! You’ll have the opportunity to choose from 100+ cleanup sites across San Diego County, including Jane & Mindy’s site in OB! For more information & to register, please visit www.CreektoBay.org. In a matter of only a couple hours, you’ll be able to show pride for your community working along side neighbors to ensure a safe and clean environment for current and future San Diegans! 

A Rind is a Terrible Thing to Waste

Erika-teamToday’s blog comes from our Education Manager, Erika. Earlier this year, Erika took it upon herself to find new ways to reduce the amount of waste she creates each day – she signed up for a composting course! Now that she is on her way to becoming a Master Composter, she wants to share what she has learned in hopes of inspiring you to take a composting course near you! Read on to learn more about how food waste impacts our landfills and how you can become a skilled composter as well! 

A rind is a terrible thing to waste, so do something! Join the Master Composters!

Here at I Love A Clean San Diego, many of my coworkers and I feel strongly about waste reduction. In the past few years, I have seen my own transition from using some disposable items in my life. An example being bringing my stainless steel pint glass to the Adventure Run last week, so that I wouldn’t have to use a disposable plastic cup for that IPA at the end of the race. While I have been able to carry my bamboo cutlery and stainless steel straw around, I noticed that I was still creating quite a bit of waste – food waste. In San Diego, we lead the country in per capita waste, with disposing about 1.3 million pounds in 2012. Of that trash, a 2012-2013 study showed that food represented the most prevalent material composed in our landfill, accounting for 15% of the total waste stream. In residential waste, that percentage increased to 18%. After learning these startling statistics, I realized there is so much more that I can do with regard to waste reduction. So, with waste in my mind, I signed up for a Master Composting class.composting blog - 1 SMW chart - composting blog 2

Hands on learning is always best!

Hands on learning is always best!

Last October, my friend, @girlforaccleanworld, and I joined with a dozen other composting inquirists, skeptics, novices, and enthusiasts to begin our composting journey to potential Mastery. At first, I was quite anxious. I previously had a horrific experience with a vermicompost, resulting in [read quickly] maggots and other vermin. Needless to say, I was apprehensive but determined to further reduce my waste through composting. The great thing about the course is that there is such a great variety in reasons why people compost – from professional development, to reducing waste, to ameliorating compost gone wrong, to education – there were people from all walks of life.
Another great thing about the course is its hands on approach. On the first day, we were already getting our hands dirty, layering greens (food scrapes, grass clippings, etc.) and browns (cardboard, paper, other wood products). Each week, we measured the temperature and moisture of the bin, turned it, and looked for grubs – ok, that might have just been me. I was captivated by how clean everything was and how quickly different items could degrade. While I learned a lot in the class, the take home for me was:
• Anything and everything (natural) will eventually turn to compost, it just is a matter of time.
• You can be active or passive, it will still turn to compost
• Compost does not smell – if it smells, give it a turn, it needs to breath
• Composting doesn’t need a ton of space, especially vermicomposting

Vermicomposting

Since completion, I have been working toward 30 hours community composting service to become an official Master. I have become more conscious of my grocery shopping, as to not buy more than I need, and have been able to help people out with their composting woes. I would highly recommend the class to anyone. For more information visit http://www.thelivingcoast.org/programs/composting-programs/. There is also a 5 week long composting workshop available through the Solana Center that starts on April 11th. For additional information please click here.

Let’s work together to minimize our food waste! Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram for helpful tips and tricks about how to reduce waste in your life!

IMG_0304 (2)

Photo Credit: @girlforaccleanworld. Thanks for allowing us to use these great photos!

 

Local Businesses Step Up for Creek2Bay

Community Programs Manager, LexiToday’s blog comes from our Community Programs Manager, Lexi! If you have ever volunteered for one of our cleanups there is a good chance you two have crossed paths! In addition to community cleanups, she also helps coordinate our two countywide cleanups, Creek to Bay and Coastal Cleanup Day. Creek to Bay is the first countywide cleanup of the year and there will be close to 100 cleanup sites across San Diego County! Read on to learn more about how local businesses have stepped up to protect and conserve our environment!

Preparations for our Earth Month volunteer event, the Creek to Bay Cleanup, are in full swing here at I Love A Clean San Diego. With 95 cleanup and beautification projects happening throughout San Diego County on April 25, it’s certainly a busy time around our office!

c2b15-logo-with-details

This event would not be possible without the support of some of our business partners in the community. We’d like to take this opportunity to recognize some of these groups that help make this event a success.

BoxedGreen

One of our newest partners for this event is local startup BoxedGreen. This eco-friendly company is helping San Diegans reduce their environmental impact by offering gently used cardboard boxes for $1 each. Through unique partnerships with local businesses, BoxedGreen connects community members in need of boxes with nearby retailers who have boxes to spare.BoxedGreen Founder

BoxedGreen will be donating a portion of the cardboard boxes we use to pack up the cleanup supplies for our 95 different Creek to Bay sites throughout San Diego County. We can’t wait to put these recycled boxes to good use!

 

RECON Environmental, Inc.
Maple Canyon in the Park West neighborhood of San Diego looks quite a bit different now than it did 4 years ago, thanks in large part to cleanup efforts led by a team from RECON Environmental, Inc. RECON, a local environmental services firm, wanted to use its expertise in habitat restoration to revitalize a canyon in their neighborhood through community involvement.

RECON staff began serving as site captains for this canyon in 2011, focusing first on large trash items that had been illegally dumped years ago. Once these items were properly disposed of, RECON began to focus on habitat restoration by removing invasive plants and slowly returning the canyon to its native state of coastal sage scrub.

Maple Canyon cleanup led by RECON Environmental, Inc.

Maple Canyon cleanup led by RECON Environmental, Inc.

To keep the canyon looking great between our countywide cleanup efforts (Creek to Bay in April and Coastal Cleanup Day in September), RECON also coordinates their own cleanups of the canyon through our Adopt-A-Beach/Adopt-A-Canyon program. RECON is a perfect example of how a company can take action to beautify the environment right in its own backyard!

Sony
For the last several years, we have worked with our friends at Sony to offer a fun photo contest for all of our volunteers. The winner of this year’s contest will receive a brand new Sony Cyber-Shot camera! Last year’s photo contest theme was “Be The Change,” and we received tons of great shots of volunteers beautifying their local communities.

Last year's Sony Photo Contest winner!

Last year’s Sony Photo Contest winner!

And not only is Sony supporting our event by sponsoring the photo contest—they also gather a volunteer team every year to participate at one of our many cleanup sites.

Sony employee volunteer group at Kids' Ocean Day 2015

Sony employees volunteer with us year-round in addition to our countywide cleanups! Here is a group of Sony volunteers who joined us at Kids’ Ocean Day in February!

Interested in getting your business connected with our Creek to Bay Cleanup? Visit www.CreektoBay.org to find out about how you can get involved! If you’re interested in becoming a sponsor, please download a copy of our sponsorship packet. For more information, please email Natalie, Senior Director of Operations, at nroberts@cleansd.org. Thank you!

Unique Partnership Captures Cross-Border Message

SONY DSCFor today’s blog, ILACSD’s Development & Marketing Coordinator, Sarah, collaborated with Lucy Eagleson, Program Coordinator & Media Educator from Outside the Lens (OTL) to highlight one of ILACSD’s most cherished partnerships. Read on to learn more about how we meshed digital media and environmental stewardship to bring our Kids’ Ocean Day aerial art to life!

First, a little bit of background information about OTL, Lucy and how this partnership came to be.

Lucy spends a lot of her time as a Media Educator in San Diego classrooms, helping students find their voice within and express it through digital media arts. By looking at current and historical photography and films, students come to understand that a picture is often worth a thousand words, and sometimes even more. Lucy enjoys partnering with I Love A Clean San Diego for Kids’ Ocean Day because it brings together her passion for photography and making a difference in our community.

Kids' Ocean Day 2012

Kids’ Ocean Day 2012

 

ILACSD staff have worked together with OTL for Kids’ Ocean Day for many years now, but this year we threw Lucy a curve ball – a bi-national aerial art image. Without going into too many details, a bi-national aerial art image posed some challenges for Lucy and the Corporate Helicopter team, but at the end of the day we couldn’t be happier with the end result.

Lucy Eagleson - OTL

“I believe in the power of images and the stories they tell. Images speak where words cannot, and carry within them beautiful narratives that have the momentum to move people to change.” – Lucy Eagleson, OTL

Close to 1,200 students, their teachers and volunteers from both sides of the border came together to remove harmful pieces of beach debris along Border Field State Park and Playas de Tijuana. After the cleanup, one-by-one, the students filled into the aerial art outline to form this year’s cross-border aerial art image and commemorate the first-ever bi-national Kids’ Ocean Day! Below is one of our favorite pictures of the aerial art formation coming to life!

Students filling in the aerial art formation and patiently waiting for Lucy in the helicopter to capture the art from the sky!

 

This stunning image clearly demonstrates that we all need to do our part to protect our environment and that the ocean knows no borders. The message reads “UNITE POR EL MAR” which translates to unite for the sea. This image has received an overwhelming response on social media and from local media alike, for which we are extremely grateful.

UNITE POR EL MAR!

First-ever bi-national Kids’ Ocean Day aerial art image!

It goes without saying that a special “thank you” goes out to Outside The Lens, Lucy, and the Corporate Helicopter team for capturing this powerful image!

Be sure to follow and like ILACSD and OTL on your favorite social media networks to stay connected to the great work happening year-round!

Facebook logo Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/iloveacleansd

https://www.facebook.com/OutsideTheLens

 

Twitter_logo_blueTwitter:

https://twitter.com/iloveacleansd@ilacsd

https://twitter.com/OutsideTheLens – @OutsideTheLens

instagram logo Instagram:

https://instagram.com/iloveacleansd/

https://instagram.com/outsidethelens/

 

About Outside the Lens - Outside the Lens empowers youth to use digital media to create change within themselves, their community, and the world. Students see how the power of their photos can speak louder than words and even inspire change in the community around them. 

www.outsidethelens.org

 

DITCHING DISPOSABLE PLASTIC – the bag edition

Development & Marketing Director, Morgan Justice-BlackSince last fall, ILACSD has received a variety of questions about how plastic bag ban laws will impact the way we shop. For today’s blog, ILACSD’s Director of Development and Marketing, Morgan, will focus on Encinitas’s plastic bag ordinance and tackle some frequently asked questions. Read on to get the answers to your questions and learn about upcoming reusable bag giveaways!

 

As you may have heard, the California statewide plastic bag ban is now on hold until it can be put on the ballot for a statewide vote. While the battle rages on in the case of California vs. Big Plastic, there is also some news about a local plastic bag ban. You may have heard that back in October 2014, the Encinitas City Council voted to establish an ordinance limiting the usage of single-use plastic carry out bags at local stores. Well, the first phase of that ban is set to go into effect on April 10th. I Love A Clean San Diego is working hard to make sure that Encinitas residents and businesses are informed about the changes before they go into effect. If you live, work, or shop in Encinitas, you can turn to us to get all of your questions answered about how “Encinitas Municipal Code Section 11.26” will actually work.

ChicoBag_FRONT

Also, starting this weekend, ILACSD will conduct a series of bag giveaways at local grocery stores in the community. So keep an eye out on our Facebook and Twitter pages as we announce give-away dates, time and locations.

Here’s a rundown of some of our favorite FAQs:

Why is the City of Encinitas banning single-use plastic carryout bags? Well, plastic bags are extremely lightweight and can act like balloons blowing out of garbage trucks and landfills. These flyaway bags litter our communities, enter storm drains, and eventually end up in the ocean. Plastic is the most common type of litter found on local beaches. Marine life often become entangled in plastic bags and can mistake plastic particles for food, causing harm and sometimes death to the animals. New research suggests that this plastic is making its way up the food chain and is potentially affecting the seafood we eat.

An albatross that ingested multiple pieces of plastic.

Marine life often become entangled in plastic bags and can mistake plastic particles for food, causing harm and sometimes death to the animals.

I heard that I will have to pay 10 cents to use my own reusable bag. Is this true? NO! Customers will now have two choices at checkout: bring your own reusable bags to carry your groceries at no cost (some retailers even offer a rebate for each reusable bag you bring) OR purchase bags at checkout. You can buy reusable bags or paper bags for your groceries at a minimum cost of ten cents each. If you forget your reusable bags at home and don’t want to pay for bags, you always have the option of loading groceries back into your cart and putting them directly in your car without any bags.

What about using biodegradable bags? A “biodegradable” plastic bag is not a solution for litter issues associated with plastics. These bags can only break down under very specific conditions and do NOT break down naturally in our waterways, posing a threat to animal life. To fully degrade, these bags require heat and specific bacteria present in industrial composting facilities, and we don’t have any of those facilities in San Diego County.

Flush Puppies - alternatives to plastic bags

Check out other solutions to pet waste disposal in our blog “Scoop the Poop: Alternatives to Plastic Bags“.

I line my trash cans with plastic bags from the grocery store. Now what can I use? Trash can liners and large trash bags will still be available for purchase in stores. To cut back on waste, you can buy heavier-weight plastic bags and reuse them after emptying waste into your curbside bin. To cut out plastic bags altogether, line the bottom of your trash can with newspaper or other paper, and rinse it out periodically after use.

I use plastic grocery bags to pick up pet waste. What do I do now? There will still be many plastic bags in circulation. You can use bags from bread, produce, bulk products, or cereal, or purchase a roll of small pet waste bags. To avoid using plastic bags altogether, you can bring last week’s newspaper or a waste-scooping device on your walk and use it to pick up after your pet. Check out other solutions to pet waste disposal in our blog “Scoop the Poop: Alternatives to Plastic Bags”.


I’m worried about bacteria on reusable bags. Are they sanitary?
Plastic produce bags will still be available for wrapping meat, poultry, and seafood. Consider carrying these raw meat items in a designated reusable bag each time, separate from fresh fruits and vegetables. To keep your reusable bags clean, just use common sense and everyday hygiene. Throw your cloth/fabric tote bags into the wash with your laundry load to clean them periodically. For thick plastic reusable bags, wipe them clean with a sponge dipped in warm, soapy water and allow them to air dry before storing. Find cleaning tips for your bags and other eco-friendly cleaning tips on our Pinterest board “Clean and Green”.

Easy ways to keep your reusable bags clean!

If you have other questions that are not listed here, please share them in the comments below!

Trendy Ways to Keep Clothing Out of Landfills

amanda-2-photoshopToday’s blog comes form Amanda, ILACSD’s Hotline Manager, and she is here to show you how to reduce your use and reuse your clothing. You may even make a buck doing it! Read on to learn more about how this new trend not only benefits your wallet, it conserves our planet.

Did you know what the average American throws away 65 pounds of clothing each year?  Recent reports show the steady decline of available space in our landfills and the majority of municipal solid waste can be diverted through recycling and reuse, and that includes textiles. Thus, we want to redirect our clothing and give it another life before it heads to its final resting place at the landfill. Buying and selling used clothing help to reduce the heavy burden on our local landfills, and it allows you to do your part in reducing your use of our finite resources on our planet.textiles 2

Thanks in part to Macklemore’s hit “Thrift Shop”, buying used clothing has become one of the latest fashion trends. There are now many options beyond your local thrift store to buy and sell used clothing and other accessories – allowing shoppers to find one-of-a-kind pieces.  Plus, you can have the peace of mind your favorite top or dress found a new home and you free up some space for some new-to-you treasures! To get started, visit www.WasteFreeSD.org and search “Thrift Stores” to find a variety of stores that buy and/or sell used-clothing near you! Here are some of our favorite used-clothing vendors:

Buffalo Exchange buys, sells, and trades gently used clothing, shoes and accessories. In San Diego, Buffalo Exchange has stores in Pacific Beach and Hillcrest.  Before coming in to sell clothing for the first time, Buffalo Exchange recommends calling ahead to see what items the store is looking for at that time. Buffalo Exchange is also a donation point for authentic fur apparel. Items  made of fur are donated to their Coats for Cubs program  where the items are then sent to rehabilitation organizations around the U.S. to provide a natural environment for rescued animals. We certainly don’t endorse purchasing authentic fur apparel, but it’s great to know that there is a positive way to repurpose those. Don’t forget to bring your reusable bag to Buffalo Apparel, because when you refuse a plastic bag, they give you a token to place into the nonprofit container of your choice, and they will make a donation just because you brought your own reusable bag!

Buffalo exchange 1

Online thrift stores have also grown in popularity. They offer a wide variety of clothing for you to peruse and order from the comfort of your own home! ThredUP, for example, invites you to order a FREE Clean Out Bag online, stuff it with your unwanted items and then ship your clothing to be sold online. Any items that are not in a reusable condition go to their charitable partners or textile recyclers.

Clean out - cash in

Vinted is another website and convenient smartphone app. You take pictures of the items you want to sell, list what condition it is in, and correspond directly with the buyer. Vinted handles the financial transaction for you, and you ship the items yourself to the buyer.

vinted 1

Acting locally is always best when it comes to reusing clothing you’ve grown tired of. Gather together a group of your best friends and have a clothing swap night! Emily, one of our environmental educators, recently hosted one at her church and it was a hit! Approximately 10 people attended and walked away with at least 5 new items – all for FREE! The remaining 143 items, a combination of shoes, accessories and clothes, were donated to the church’s clothing closet. Just because you are tired of your floral pink blouse doesn’t mean your friend is! This not only helps to reuse clothing, it reduces the need for greenhouse gases created in shipping clothing around the country.

exchangecollage2.jpg

Finally, if you just can’t seem to part with some sentimental pieces of clothing, repurposing is always a great option! If you have an old sweater that has seen better days, turn it into a cute scarf or even a reusable cozy for your coffee cup.  Old t-shirts can also be turned into dog toys, bags or even a rug. The ideas are limitless!

sweater coffee cozy

You can find all of these great ideas and more on I Love a Clean San Diego’s Pinterest page! And don’t forget to check out www.WasteFreeSD.org and www.RepairSD.org to find other recycling and repair services near you!

Cupid’s Cleanup and other Green Valentine’s Day ideas!

SONY DSCHave you found it increasingly difficult to be creative each Valentine’s Day? Well, you’re in luck! Today’s blog comes from our Marketing Coordinator, Sarah, who has put together some great eco-friendly, Valentine’s Day-themed ideas! Read on to learn how to celebrate with the environment in mind!

Celebrate your love for the environment at Cupid’s Cleanup!

Switch up your dinner and a movie routine! We want you to join us on Sunday, February 15th for a street-sweep cleanup and Valentine’s Day-themed mixer hosted by AleSmith Brewing Company! Complimentary beer tasters will be on-hand for adult volunteers as a “thank you” for your hard work and to celebrate our love for a cleaner community. This is also a great way to connect with like-minded singles, couples or even new friends. Take Ken and Julie for example!

In 2007, Ken and Julie met for the first time at Cupid’s Cleanup…

Fast forward to 2015, they are happily married with two children, ages 2 and 4 years old! They have since moved to Oregon, and continue to protect our environment by instilling environmental values in their children who, by the way, already enjoy putting trash in its place!

Although they won’t be joining us at this year’s event, Julie shared these kind words with us…

“We have not forgotten about you (ILACSD) or where we met.”

Cupids Cleanup - Ken & Julie

For more information about how to get involved with Cupid’s Cleanup please click here or email Lexi at lambrogi@cleansd.org!

If you cannot join us for Cupid’s cleanup, here are some other festive Valentine’s Day-themed eco-tips!

Candy

Let loose, get your valentine some sweets! Instead of the cliché heart-shaped box of candies, head over to the bulk section and fill up reusable glass jars with more variety and less waste!

Fish in the sea - pinterest

Flowers

Instead of buying flowers that are going to wilt and die within a week, choose a sustainable and earth-friendly drought tolerant plant! Here are a few of our favorites:

Recon Native Plants has a variety of affordable native plants!

Recon Native Plants has a variety of affordable native plants!

 

Succulent planter available on Etsy!

Succulent planter available on Etsy!

 

If you do decide to go with a dozen roses, remember they are compostable!

Skip the card – give with purpose

Although most cards are recyclable, why not give a gift with a purpose? If you have children, this link is especially good for low waste, kid-friendly Valentine’s Day gifts!

upcycled crayons valentines

These are just a few of our ideas – share your earth-friendly Valentine’s Day ideas in the comments below!

 

 

Q&A with Emily, ILACSD Environmental Educator

Emily Melear, Environmental EducatorWe’re switching things up for today’s blog! Emily originally joined the ILACSD team in September as one of our part-time educators. You may remember her from recent blogs about food waste reduction as well as eco-friendly holiday tips! Within the last month, however, she moved up the ranks to become a full-time Environmental Educator! Read on to learn more about Emily and why we’re excited to have her as a part of our team!

Q: What brought you to I Love A Clean San Diego? 

Emily poses proudly with her Girls Scout patch she received from ILACSD!

Emily proudly points to a patch she received from ILACSD when she volunteered at a beach cleanup with her Girl Scout Troop all those years ago!

A: I Love A Clean San Diego stands out because of its genuine, word-and-deed methods to improving the environment. I am impressed by the extensive reach of our programs, and how we offer something for everyone. After years of teaching kids in an outdoor setting, I was looking for some way to teach about the environment while in the city. ILACSD was the place for me! I have a substantial collection of early memories where I was taught environmental stewardship (including ILACSD beach cleanups with my Girl Scout troop!) while still very young. Learning that mindset at an early age leads to a lifetime of positive actions. In today’s world, it is essential to have our youth be environmentally minded.

Q: What environmental topic are you most passionate about?

A: I love teaching about food waste because it’s a simple way to get started. Students can easily grasp the concept of “giving back” as they watch food decompose in the compost bin, and as plants thrive in the composted soil. In my previous camp experience, we would graph our food waste at each meal. During just 5 days at camp, our students regularly reduced their food waste, often achieving a waste-free meal by the end of the week. As I travel to various sites to deliver presentations, it’s exciting to see so many schools with gardens and compost bins.

"I love teaching about food waste because it’s a simple way to get started."

“I love teaching about food waste because it’s a simple way to get started.”

 

Q: Do you have a green New Year’s resolution?

A: Shorter showers! Despite my efforts to live an environmentally-conscious lifestyle, that’s one guilty pleasure that has avoided the chopping block. I have decided that 2015 will be the year!


Q: What do you enjoy most about being an environmental educator?

A: The most rewarding moments are when you see the information click for a student. Whether it’s when they see a picture of a seal tangled in plastic, or they get fired up and declare war on pollution, that moment of impact reassures me they will be more conscious about their future choices.

Microplastics

These microplastics are harmful to our environment and our local wildlife.

 

Q: Do you have a favorite presentation?

By helping students experience the nature in their own neighborhood, they can better understand and value the nature surrounding them every day.

By helping students experience the nature in their own neighborhood, they can better understand and value the nature surrounding them every day.

A: That’s easy – Nearby Nature. The most effective way to teach people to care about the environment is to have them develop a personal relationship with nature. Spending time outdoors will more effectively teach a person to respect their environment than any fact or figure. A close second would be our SDG&E presentation/cleanup combination. Immediately taking action after learning the harms of litter will leave a longer-lasting impression on the students’ behavior.

 

Q: What do you look forward to most as you settle into your new position?

A: I’m excited to be able to speak to the environmental issues in our local community, find new ways to encourage sustained engagement, and encouraging kids across the county to work toward a clean San Diego.

 

Do you have a passion for environmental education like Emily? ILACSD is looking for an experienced educator to join our team as a part-time educator. For more information about the position please click here!

To apply, please send cover letter, resume, and availability to Samantha Russo, srusso@cleansd.org. No calls, please. Applications will be accepted until position is filled.

 

 

 

 

 

Greetings from DC!

MJB-2010-photoshop-picToday’s blog comes from our Director of Development & Marketing, Morgan Justice Black, who along with another member of the ILACSD team, are in Washington DC this week for the Keep America Beautiful conference.

 

 

Hello from a chilly Washington, D.C. Even though it may only be 25 degrees outside, we are having a great time at the Keep America Beautiful National Conference learning more about how affiliates throughout the US create vibrant communities through community beautification, litter prevention, waste reduction and recycling! We made it to D.C., despite blizzard warnings and having to sprint through the Philadelphia airport to make our connection. And once we arrived…it was snowing! Quite a change for the two of us, both born and raised in San Diego! Well, the conference kicked off with a keynote address from Peter Kageyama, the man who has written two books about loving your city. How perfect, since we have a little fondness for the word “love” too! He spoke about the importance of gathering people together to interact casually in the outdoors. Can you guess where the most social place probably is in your city? The dog park!

Last night was the awards dinner, and I have to say that ILACSD certainly cleaned up! We were up and down accepting three…yep…three first place awards! And we have the pictures to prove it!

Natalie Roberts, Morgan Justice Black and Keep America Beautiful COO Becky Lyons with out awards!

Natalie Roberts, Morgan Justice Black and Keep America Beautiful COO Becky Lyons with our awards!

Our awards included first place for our Cigarette Litter Prevention Program, a program that we implement in San Diego in partnership with the Surfrider Foundation’s Hold onto your Butts program. Over the last five years, we’ve installed and maintained more than 100 ash receptacles in San Diego, helping make a dent in the amount of cigarette butts picked up during cleanups! In fact, in the areas that we’ve done this program, cigarette litter has decreased by an average 64%! This was a well deserved award for Natalie and her team in the Community Events Department!

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Natalie accepting the CLPP award from KAB staffer Bronwen Evans.

 

Next, ILACSD was the recipient of a storytelling award, and this is the first year that this award category has been offered! Keep America Beautiful judges sifted through dozens of promotional materials, media articles, social media messages and more to identify five affiliates who are doing best at telling their story of building better communities. This is a true team win for us, as every member of the ILACSD team is involved in writing blogs and contributing to our social media!

Morgan, accepting the Storyteller Award from KAB staffer Mike Rosen, who was celebrating his 3rd day on the job!

Morgan, accepting the Storyteller Award from KAB staffer Mike Rosen, who was celebrating his 3rd day on the job!

The most exciting part of last night was the final awards category, the National Affiliate Awards. ILACSD was honored to receive First Place and awarded “Affiliate of the Year”. The plaque might not fit in our suitcases, but it will make it back to San Diego eventually! This award is truly an honor, since ILACSD has been an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful since the 1970’s. In fact, at breakfast today a man came up to me and told me how proud I should be to be part of I Love A  Clean San Diego because we were (and still are) a pioneer in the environmental movement! Back in the 1970’s, there were less than 50 KAB affiliates nationally, and we were the only one in California. Now there are more than 600 affiliates, and although I am biased, I have to say that we are one of the best!

So cheers from Washington, DC and thanks to all of our supporters for being part of our success!

KAB_pic4

Now it’s time for a nap…this three hour time difference is killer when the conference starts at 8am local time!

 


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