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How Do Expiration Dates Work?

Today’s blog post was written by High Tech Middle Media Arts 6th grader, Kaiya. Kaiya’s class studied the impact that humans have on our local water resources and their contribution to food waste on a global scale. The students looked into water and food waste issues locally, statewide, nationwide and globally. The class hopes to educate the local community about waste and pollution issues and inspire change.
Photo credits
Illustration by John Wagner

Have you ever wondered how expiration dates work? Wondered how important they are? Well, I certainly did. So to those who still do, let me explain.

Let’s start with a short history lesson. Expiration dates were introduced in 1950 at a store called Marks & Spencers. It wasn’t until 1970 when “Sell By” and “Best By” tags were added to most supermarkets. Now that our history lesson has concluded, let’s get to the interesting stuff!

Expiration dates aren’t supposed to show a fruit’s edibility, but the fruit’s “peak quality”; not when it’s expired. It’s because of this common misconception that people discard perfectly good food! So actually, expiration dates are optional. They are suggestions meant to assist. It’s more important to know your food and to simply throw it out because of the expiration date.

Oftentimes, grocery stores will throw away their produce once it turns brown.

Well, how and why were they made?

Americans discontinued making their food, but still wanted to be informed about how it was made. This caused the creation of expiration dates. The facilities did tests on fruit, seeing how long they usually lasted. The most common result would become its “expiration date.”

We are wasting food.

When shopping for fruits, people are usually attracted to the apple that has the least bruises, causing an unnecessary amount of food waste. The food that’s wasted converts to a brown lump and produces a white puss. That’s mold. Mold should be thrown out, but if it’s just brown, it should be fine. Brown spots on fruit are sugar spots, meaning they amplify the flavor. They are perfectly safe to consume, but if it’s a blob of brown, you should throw it away. These spots are discovered on bananas when they continue to ripen, due to ethylene. Supermarkets tend to throw away brown fruit because it doesn’t sell. Food is wasted for no reason.

As your bananas begin to brown, throw them in your freezer to make smoothies, or use them to make banana bread!

Why do they become brown?

Brown fruit is oxidized fruit, meaning that air made them turn brown. Brown fruit is still edible! Apples turn brown in recently bitten parts. The brown on parts on apples reduce taste, but it can still be consumed.

Is there anything I shouldn’t eat when expired? Yes. Infant formula loses its nutrients passed its expiration date. Expired deli meats give you food poisoning, as well as eggs. Dairy gets bacteria buildup when it expires, so it also shouldn’t be consumed.

What moldy food can I eat?

Cheese increases in value when moldy. It tastes more flavorful, which makes a higher profit when sold. However, only specific types of cheese are edible with mold. Cheddar, Colby, Parmesan, and Swiss should be fine to consume. Other soft cheeses like cottage cheese, cream cheese, and ricotta cheese with mold should be discarded.

About the Author

Kaiya is a 6th grader at HTMMA. Her blog was democratically selected by her peers to be featured on I Love A Clean San Diego’s website. Her work will be exhibited alongside other students at a community beach cleanup coordinated by the HTMMA students. 

 

Making Waves at Kids’ Ocean Day!

On May 24th, I Love A Clean San Diego celebrated its 20th Kids’ Ocean Day, fostering the next wave of environmentally informed and engaged students. Kids’ Ocean Day is not just an excuse for students to hang out at the beach during the school day. It actually begins weeks before in the schools with ILACSD staff facilitating educational presentations for local elementary school students! These students then join ILACSD and a team of volunteers at the beach for a litter cleanup and the formation of an aerial art piece.

During the assemblies, ILACSD educators teach students about the importance of marine life, how their actions affect the ocean, and how they have the power to protect the health our environment. “It was absolutely fantastic. We had kids eager to go to other beaches to clean them up. I can’t say enough good things about how much the kids loved the assembly,” said one teacher from Los Peñasquitos Elementary. The teacher explained how they loved their students being able to see others come together to make a difference for their community during the beach cleanup. The teacher was thrilled to have their students participate in Kids’ Ocean Day, saying, “Thank you so much for this incredible experience. We can’t thank you enough for this opportunity.”

Over the 20 years that ILACSD has hosted Kids’ Ocean Day, we have engaged 20,816 participants and removed approximately 7,280 lbs. of debris from San Diego’s coastline. 

Each year, the five participating California cities determine a statewide-theme for the artwork. The 2018 theme – “Waves of Change” – evokes images of our youngest generations propelling us forward towards a cleaner, safer, and more mindful future. It illustrates how our daily choices, including what we eat, wear, discard, and purchase, have far-reaching effects. This message is broadcast to the world through the art formation. It serves as a call to action for others to join the cause and be mindful of consumption and disposal habits. Check out this video to see the final aerial art image being formed!

Students collected plastic debris on Mission Beach using re-purposed water jugs!  

“Kids’ Ocean Day is my favorite day of the year,” said Emily Nelson, Education Manager at I Love A Clean San Diego. “This entire event, from the assembly to the cleanup and aerial artwork, showcases the power of the individual, no matter their age. I hope each child realizes just how important and powerful they are.”

We would not have been able to make “Waves of Change” without the help of our sponsors, our volunteers, teachers, and students!

Thank you to all of our Kid’s Ocean Day sponsor for investing in a cleaner San Diego!

California’s Coastal Commission’s Whale Tail Grant Program and
the Protect Our Coast and Oceans Fund

Qualcomm Foundation
Cox Communications
Jack in the Box
Bumble Bee Seafoods
Alta Environmental
Wells Fargo
CRC CARES
U.S. Bank
ViaSat
Kohl’s
Einstein Bagels
Starbucks
Outside the Lens

 

Saving Summertime Celebrations from Litter with the Clean Beach Coalition

One of the best ways people choose to spend their holiday weekends is on the beach — especially in sunny San Diego. With Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day coming up, families and friends will flock to the coast to celebrate their long weekends. In response to the influx of locals and tourists, ILACSD and the San Diego Clean Beach Coalition (SDCBC) will place 200 temporary trash and recycling bins along some of the city’s busiest beaches to reduce the amount of beach and marine litter.

A Clean Beach Coalition recycling bins set out for the Fourth of July last summer!

Over the past decade, SDCBC has kept 3.5 million pounds of trash off the beach and out of the ocean. This past year, over 61,000 pounds of debris were collected during the summer holiday weekends. With the support of Think Blue San Diego, PB Shore ClubFreePB, and more, SDCBC aims to educate beachgoers about the benefits of swapping reusable alternatives for single-use products.

How can you make the most out of your holiday weekends while staying sustainable? SDCBC recommends that visitors bring hard plastic coolers, refillable water bottles, and food storage containers to reduce the amount of disposables items brought to the beach. Avoid bringing plastic straws and utensils! And make sure all recyclables are clean, dry, and empty. Spend less time worrying about your waste by visiting our zero waste database, WasteFreeSD.org, for everything you need to know about reusable options!

Summer can stay sustainable by simply packing reusable options when preparing to head to the beach!

In fact, your only worry while basking in the sun at the beach should be when to reapply sunscreen. That is why SDCBC’s goal is to ensure that the safety of the community and the ecosystem is not compromised by the impact of litter. With these easily accessible CBC bins, visitors are able to responsibly throw away and recycle their waste while still enjoying their vacations. Even at the most crowded beaches, people will still be able to enjoy the sun, sand, and the ocean in San Diego!

Not planning to hit the beach for the holidays? No worries! You can still party with a purpose while you celebrate this summer! A picture is all it takes to support ILACSD as the local Keep America Beautiful affiliate. With Absolut Vodka’s new Absolut America campaign, for every photo submitted through the site, $1 will be donated to Keep America Beautiful or another selected charity. After submitting your photo, you can share the decked out picture on social media to show how easy it is to support ILACSD and Keep America Beautiful all summer while you #PartyWithAPurpose with #AbsolutAmerica.

Support Keep America Beautiful and its affiliates by submitting a photo of how you party with a purpose to Absolut America!

With the Clean Beach Coalition and Absolut America, it is simple to #DoBeautifulThings. Just by recognizing the impact that waste has on water ecosystems, San Diegans are better prepared to act wisely when it comes to waste, especially during the summer holidays. For more information about the Clean Beach Coalition, make sure to visit CleanBeachCoalition.org.

It’s Almost Bike to Work Day: Are You Ready to Ride?

Bike to Work Day is less than a week away! Are you ready to ride? Celebrated regionally in San Diego this year on Thursday, May 17, 2018, Bike to Work Day is a nationally recognized event that encourages everyone to GO by BIKE and supports biking as an everyday, environmentally friendly commute choice. However, if you’re not a regular rider, it’s important to think about a few things before you jump on two wheels. Here are a few things to review and prep to have a successful Bike to Work Day!

Before the Big Day

What You Need:

Well, first and foremost, you need a bike. According to iCommuteSD, “Participating in Bike to Work Day means using pedal power. Beach cruisers, mountain bikes, road bikes, elliptical bikes, electric bikes, and bikeshare bikes are all great ways to GO by BIKE.” You’ll want to make sure the type of bike you have is suitable for your ride (maybe avoid a beach cruiser if you’ll hit a lot of hills on your route). You’ll want to make sure your bike is in good condition before you go. Check the brakes, tires, and chain to make sure they are properly maintained. Make sure your bike fits you comfortably. Check your seat height and handlebars.

If it’s been a little while since you’ve been on your bike, chances are it needs a little maintenance.

If you don’t have a bike of your own, you might want to make sure you have a plan for utilizing a bikeshare bike on a day they will likely be very busy! Luckily, a few bikeshare programs will be running a Bike to Work Day special! Discover Bike, LimeBike, Mobike, and Ofo will all offer free bike rides for up to one hour on Thursday, May 17 to the first 100 people from 6 – 9 AM. Just use the following promo codes: Discover Bike (33844), LimeBike (LIME2WORK), Mobike (sandiegobtw), or Ofo (SDBTWD2018).

Break out your bike lock and helmet!

Outside of a bike, you’ll want to make sure you have a helmet! Safety is key on a bike. If you take a spill, you’ll want to make sure you have a helmet on and any other protective gear you prefer. California law requires everyone younger than 18 to wear a helmet.  On top of a helmet, you’ll want to make sure you have a way to lock your bike up (unless you use a bikeshare bike). You can protect your bike with a lock (make sure you lock up your bike properly if you have any quick release tires) or utilize one of many bike parking or bike locker options.

Does your bike have a basket or spot to store a few things? If not, make sure you have a backpack or something to carry any items you might need to take to and from the office. If you have a long ride ahead of you, consider leaving a change of clothes and shoes in your office a day before. Make it easier on yourself and carry less by having anything you need to freshen up after your ride already at the office.

Depending on when you ride, you might need to consider lights for your bike as well. Being seen is vitally important! If the sun will be down for any portion of your ride, come prepared with lights. For longer trips, you might consider a patch kit and tire pump, but luckily, there will be plenty of pit stops on Bike to Work Day. Don’t forget your manners! Know all the hand signals for riding and always keep bike etiquette in mind!

Read up on the rules of the road before you bike if you are unfamiliar!

Plan Your Route:

Know where you want to go! It’s important to be safe when you share the road with motorists. Be prepared by knowing the best route to your office for when on two wheels! The best route to work in your car may not work so well on your bike. Use the iCommuteSD interactive Bike Map to help figure out the best way to GO by BIKE.

Get Registered:

Register for Bike to Work Day to get all of the information on pit stop locations and be a part of the thousands of commuters throughout the San Diego region participating in Bike to Work Day on Thursday, May 17. When you register for Bike to Work Day, you can pick up a free t-shirt at one of 100 pit stops throughout San Diego County from 6 to 9 AM (participants must show proof of registration to claim their free t-shirt). 

While You Ride

People riding bikes have the same rights and responsibilities as people driving cars. You can use a rack or backpack to keep your hands free. Hand signals should always be used to indicate your turns. Avoid using headphones or a cell phone. Be aware of traffic laws just like you would in a car! Use bike lanes when available, but know your rights on the road when sharing with other vehicles!

Stay safe and feel free to take a break while you ride!

 

Need a Break? Hit a Pit Stop

A total of 100 Bike to Work Day pit stops are planned across San Diego County, which will be open from 6 to 9 AM on Thursday, May 17 for anyone who registers. Pit stops offer fun breaks for bike riders to rest and pick up a free t-shirt, snacks, and encouragement. Some stops may even be able to assist with minor maintenance if you run into an issue. For a list of the Bike to Work 2018 pit stop locations and to see what is offered at pit stops along your route, check out the pit stop map.

Go Beyond Bike to Work Day

GO by BIKE All Year Long

The fun doesn’t stop after Bike to Work Day! San Diego has over 1,570 miles of bikeways in the San Diego region, you can get almost anywhere by riding a bike. You can participate in the City of San Diego’s Transit Tuesdays every week on your bike. iCommute is always a helpful resource to get started with riding tips, information about taking your bike on transitbike safety tips, and more.

We’re excited about your biking adventure and would love to see how it goes! Share your Bike to Work Day story with us by tagging I Love A Clean San Diego in your Bike to Work Day photos on social! PEDAL ON!

 

Over 6,000 Volunteers Celebrated Earth Day by Cleaning Up San Diego from Creek to Bay

This past weekend, we celebrated Earth Day by hosting our 16th Annual Creek to Bay Cleanup where we empowered an estimated 6,000 volunteers to give back at 113 cleanup sites around San Diego County! Volunteers including residents, corporate groups, and civic organizations transformed their appreciation for San Diego’s environment into action for Mother Earth by putting in the time and effort to give back in their local communities. During this three-hour cleanup, volunteers enhanced the overall health and beauty of San Diego’s natural environment by removing more than 175,000 pounds of trash and debris from San Diego County.

Volunteers joined site captain, Brittany Novick (Miss Scuba International), to help celebrate her birthday and Earth Day by protecting the environment at the Mission Beach Belmont Park cleanup site!
Among the debris, there were several notable odd items collected during the cleanup including: 19 shoes at one site, a giant teddy bear, and a bathrobe.

Volunteers also restored the local environment through beautification projects such as painting park structures, planting native plants and trees, mulching, and weeding. Thanks to thousands of volunteers, 113 parks, beaches and community spaces received special care to keep the area healthy and beautiful for the community.

Painting was just one of many beautification projects that volunteers could take part in on top of litter removal at Creek to Bay!

Creek to Bay was an opportunity for the community to go green in more ways than one. With a push toward zero waste practices, we encouraged all youth and adult volunteers to be more sustainable by choosing to bring at least one reusable item for the cleanup like a water bottle, work bucket, or gloves. Many stepped up to the challenge! Volunteers could showcase their zero waste commitments in the Sony Photo Contest with the 2018 theme of “Rocking Reusables” or by entering the Bling Your Bucket Contest. Both contests offer prizes to the winners to celebrate their sustainability and creativity.

Gabriel used recycled items to decorate his bucket for the Bling Your Bucket Contest helping cut back on the waste created at the cleanup!

Creek to Bay also received attention from several of San Diego’s elected officials who visited cleanup sites in their respective districts including:

  • San Diego City Councilmembers Barbara Bry, Myrtle Cole, Mark Kersey, David Alvarez, and Georgette Gomez
  • Assemblymembers Todd Gloria and Shirley Weber
Councilmember Bry helps kick off the Creek to Bay at the Scripps Pier site!

The entire I Love A Clean San Diego team could not be more thrilled and inspired by the results from the Creek to Bay Cleanup. Joining the team this year as Community Events Coordinator, Nik Kennedy reflected on his first Creek to Bay Cleanup experience:

This was my first year planning Creek to Bay, and after months of preparing it was amazing to be a part of the event! From recruiting volunteers to organizing activities, I was excited to see so many neighborhood volunteers come out and beautify Azalea Park and all of San Diego County! This was such an undertaking, and it was incredible to watch all of our work pay off for a cleaner environment.

Major thanks go out to all of our sponsors for the Creek to Bay Cleanup!

Creek to Bay would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors and partners! Thank you all for your commitment to a clean, green, and beautiful San Diego!

Thank you to all of our Creek to Bay sponsors for investing in a cleaner San Diego!

City of San Diego, Think Blue
Wells Fargo
CBS 8/CW San Diego
Republic Services
EDCO
Walmart
Cox Communications
County of San Diego
County of San Diego Watershed Protection Program
Project Clean Water
Anheuser Busch
City of San Marcos
General Dynamics/ NASSCO
Dart Container
Sony
Bank of America
Dudek
Teledyne Instruments, Inc
San Diego Regional Airport Authority
City of La Mesa
Port of San Diego
City of Imperial Beach
City of Chula Vista
Michael Baker International
U.S. Bank
BAE Shipyard
Brown and Caldwell
Mitchell Financial
City of Escondido (Utilities Department)
City of Escondido (Recycling Division)
Dog Beach Dog Wash
Power Crunch

From the entire ILACSD team, THANK YOU to every volunteer, partner, sponsor, and community member who made Creek to Bay such an incredible success! We couldn’t do it without you!

 

Be a Wave of Change at Kids’ Ocean Day

This May, I Love A Clean San Diego will bring 1,000 elementary school students, teachers, and volunteers to the beach to become a living piece of artwork at South Mission Beach to celebrate the annual Kids’ Ocean Day. Through a partnership with the California Coastal Commission, ILACSD will host San Diego County’s 20th Annual Kids’ Ocean Day! Kids’ Ocean Day kicks off before we even reach the beach with in-school assemblies to educate the students on the importance of our ocean, how it is being harmed due to human actions, and how we each play a role in protecting the health of our oceans. Then, on May 24th, these students will unite in a beach cleanup, followed by the formation of an image only visible from the sky. Check out the video below to get a glimpse of what to expect at Kids’ Ocean Day.

This year, the statewide theme is “Waves of Change,” evoking the powerful force we can be when united in our actions. Forming the aerial art message through the collective efforts of each individual sitting in the sand is a perfect metaphor for how our combined daily habits like refusing single-use plastics have incredible power in shaping the health of our environment. We are grateful to have so many young participants engaging in this cause and hope this event will propel their momentum in acting as wise environmental stewards.

Revealing I Love A Clean San Diego’s 2018 Kids’ Ocean Day “WAVES OF CHANGE” Aerial Art Design:

2018 Kids’ Ocean Day Aerial Art Design

If you would like to be a part of this event, we’re looking for adult volunteers (18 years of age and older) to lead students during the cleanup and the aerial art. If you’re interested, you can find more details on the Kids’ Ocean Day event page or register here! As a thank you, all volunteers will receive a photo of the completed aerial art image as a keepsake! We hope you’ll come together with us this year to be a wave of change for our environment!