Rethink Recycling That Same Old Date

Valentine’s Day…it’s almost here! For some of you, that could mean absolutely nothing (shout out to all of my sustainable singles – I’m happy to be in good company). But for those of you who find yourself coupled up this February, it can be a struggle to celebrate your sweetheart with a holiday that often seems to focus on consumerism and neglect conservation. As an organization that has love in our title, we’re here to help you with some ideas on how to show love to your special someone and San Diego’s environment without the added waste!

Let’s be real, dates can be a little monotonous. As a single, 20-something, I have personally been on a countless amount of dates that, aside from the person I was with, were completely interchangeable. For me, it was the dates where we did something just a little creative and normally pretty simple that I always recall. Here are a few of my personal favorites that might inspire you to change up the usual dinner and a movie with a box of chocolate and flowers.

Hammock Hangouts

Once, a date surprised me with a sweet little hang session…and I do mean hang. After setting up a hammock at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, we talked, relaxed, and enjoyed the sunset at one of my favorite spots in San Diego. With all of the scenic spots around San Diego, you have a vast amount of options to explore and enjoy with your date.

Share a sunset view with someone special.

Blanket, Basket, and your Babe

If you’re not into the hammock and hangout idea, grab a blanket and a basket instead. When my date filled up a basket with delicious snacks and all the necessary reusable items for a picnic, I was amazed. Is it just me or does throwing down a blanket at Kate Sessions Park beat any table you could be sat at in a restaurant?

Prep your picnic with reusable items for a sustainable outing with your significant other.

Cook as a Couple

While dining out is the popular go-to for dates, I still prefer the night my date and I stayed in to cook a homemade meal together. Whether you prefer to prepare a meal for your partner or cook as a couple, the experience is one you won’t forget. Don’t forget to plan your menu in advance so you can buy any ingredients in bulk and avoid excess packaging.

Cleanup with your Cutie

Want to drastically change up your idea of a perfect date? Show your date you care by creating a cleaner community to enjoy together. Sign up to volunteer with your sweetheart for a Saturday filled with sunshine and sustainability. Head into Valentine’s Day with full hearts from eco-friendly experiences, and join us for the Cupid’s Cleanup on Saturday, February 10th at 10:00 AM in Ocean Beach at Robb Field. Celebrate after the cleanup at Mike Hess Tasting Room. As a thank you to those who participate in the cleanup, Mike Hess will be running a special for all volunteers offering beers for only $5 each!

Volunteer with your Valentine at ILACSD’s Cupid’s Cleanup on February 10th.

No matter how you choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, just remember, we only have one planet to love. Let’s make sure we treat it right. ♥


Give More Love and Less Waste This Holiday Season

The holidays have officially arrived! It’s time to spend some quality time with the people we love and reflect upon all the things in our life that give us a reason to be thankful. With all that you’ve helped us accomplished so far this year, we have a lot to be thankful for in our offices! We’re thankful for dedicated volunteers who continually show up cleanup after cleanup and never let their passion for our planet fade. We’re thankful for beautifully clean beaches, litter-free landscapes, and healthy habitats. We’re thankful to be serving a cause that is so near and dear to all of uscreating a zero waste, litter-free, and environmentally engaged San Diego region.

We’re also thankful to know we’ve got supporters like you to help us do even more for our communities moving forward. There are several ways in which you can help support ILACSD this holiday season:


In our offices, we’re beyond thankful to all of our volunteers! Each and every one of you makes the work we do possible. While our volunteers have already made such a huge impact on San Diego, there is still work left to do. If you have time off for the holidays, use that opportunity to register for one of our final cleanups or workshops before the New Year and help end the year standing stronger than ever for a clean San Diego!

Spread some joy by introducing your loved ones to your love of volunteering!


Spending time with your loved ones over the holidays? Share with your friends and family what you’re thankful for this year, like your ability to make a difference for the environment and your community! Invite those special people in your life to join you at a cleanup or zero waste workshop to learn more about ILACSD. Or talk to them about how we can all take small steps to positively impact our planet – like by reducing our food waste! If you host dinner, consider supplying your guests with reusable containers for leftovers with a little environmental love note!


Holiday festivities go hand in hand with gift giving. While we all understand that consumerism isn’t the best for our environment, there are ways we can be eco-friendly with our gift exchange. Give the gift of going plastic free with reusable alternatives to single use items. Check out the ILACSD online store for reusable water bottles, straws, sporks, cups, and totes! Not only do these items make terrific holiday gifts or stocking stuffers, your purchases directly help our environment by providing the necessary resources needed to host our 250+ cleanups throughout the county in 2018. Oh, and don’t forget that a cloth napkin can make for an awesome alternative to wrapping paper (this helps decrease the 2 million tons of wrapping paper that will end up in a landfill this year)!

Cloth napkins make a great gift AND gift wrap so you can skip the wasteful wrapping paper!


Are you considering making a financial gift this season to support environmental classroom education, community cleanups, and recycling resources? There is no better time than #GivingTuesday! #GivingTuesday is a wonderful opportunity to give back to the causes we care about online while sharing the stories of why they matter. Make a difference on Tuesday, November 28th by making a #GivingTuesday contribution to ILACSD. Your gift makes a tremendous difference, no matter the size! And don’t miss the opportunity to share your support on social media with an “UN-selfie.” We want to hear why a healthy environment is important to you so tag @ILoveACleanSD on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram and use the hashtags #GivingTuesday and #ILACSD.

Whatever way you choose to celebrate this season, the ILACSD team wishes you a very safe, happy, and clean holiday!


Brews by the Bay: A Celebration of Environmental Action!

On Thursday, October 12th, I Love a Clean San Diego hosted our annual Fall Social fundraising event, Brews by the Bay, at the iconic Catamaran Resort and Hotel, overlooking Mission Bay. This outdoor soiree brought together some of the top environmental leaders and community members of San Diego for an evening of music, fun, and a celebration of those who are making a difference to better our environment.

Guests were treated to the musical styling of Peter Hall while they enjoyed picturesque views and a tasty drink!

Guests were treated to the musical talents of Peter Hall, who played a variety of folk and classic rock songs, as well as the special guest emcee talents of Fox 5 News’ Brad Wills. With delicious food provided by the Catamaran and lively libations provided by Barefoot Wine & Bubbly and Baja Brewing Company, the event was the largest fundraiser of the year, with all proceeds supporting environmental change in San Diego County. A diverse and interesting silent auction included fabulous items such as tickets to Disneyland, a signed Mark McGwire baseball, camping gear from REI, staycations at many of the finest San Diego resorts, fashionable clothes by Patagonia, and much more. Guests who wanted to try their luck in the opportunity drawing had the chance to purchase “wingspan” lengths of tickets, which was quite the sight!

Senator Toni Atkins presented ILACSD with a Proclamation recognizing our work leading environmental action in San Diego!

Senator Toni Atkins started the program off with a passionate speech on the importance of each individual taking personal responsibility for the health of our community and presented I Love a San Diego with a Proclamation recognizing our dedication to creating a zero waste, litter-free, and environmentally engaged San Diego region. Brews by the Bay also provided the opportunity for I Love a Clean San Diego to recognize folks who give their time and energy to improving our community. Each honoree was presented their award (made from recycled ceramics!) by our local elected officials. The 2017 I Love a Clean San Diego honorees are:

Corporate Employee Engagement
Patagonia (Small Business Honoree) presented by 78th District Assemblymember Todd Gloria
SDG&E (Large Business Honoree) presented by 77th District Assemblymember Brian Maienschein
Volunteer of the Year
Jonathan Applebaum presented by County of San Diego Supervisor Ron Roberts
Leader of Tomorrow
Katrina Berge presented by City of San Diego Councilmembers Barbara Bry and Lorie Zapf
Zero Waste Innovation Award
City of Chula Vista presented by City of Chula Vista Councilmember John McCann

I Love a Clean San Diego would like to thank our following sponsors: SycuanSDG&ECox CommunicationsSonySenator Toni Atkin’s OfficeSan Diego County Airport AuthorityHarrison & Associates, and Morgan Stanley who have made this event and the work we do around San Diego County possible. We also thank everyone who joined us for Brews by the Bay, making it our largest fundraiser ever! Thanks to your support we have the ability to perform even more cleanup and beautification events, to engage more volunteers, to bring more environmental educational programming to our schools and communities, and to provide important recycling information to thousands of San Diegans throughout the county. Now that’s something to celebrate. Cheers!

Thank you all so much from your ILACSD team! Cheers!


Preliminary Counts from a Remarkable Coastal Cleanup Day as Results Continue to Roll In

While results continue to trickle in from this year’s Coastal Cleanup Day, one result we can’t overlook is the incredible time that was had by all of our participants! From volunteers picking up litter at the beaches to groups removing graffiti and refurbishing playground equipment, the volunteers expressed the immense joy they took away from the experience! As a direct result of all of that hard work, San Diegans are now able to enjoy more than 100 clean outdoor spaces free of litter!

ILACSD’s Pauline with our sponsors and speakers officially kicking off Coastal Cleanup Day by planting a tree.

For the past 30 years, I Love A Clean San Diego has coordinated Coastal Cleanup Day in San Diego County as part of a statewide and international cleanup effort to restore coastlines across the globe. The effort is coordinated statewide by the California Coastal Commission and internationally by The Ocean Conservancy. While international totals for 2017 are not available yet, in 2016, in 92 countries around the world 504,583 volunteers picked up more than 18 million pounds of trash!

A before and after look at the D Street Fill cleanup site in National City!

ILACSD team members woke up extra early on Saturday morning to lead more than 250 volunteers in beautification projects at Golden Hill Park. Even with volunteers spread out among various beautification projects including mulching, tree planting, mural paints, and storm drain stenciling, they still managed to clear out over 2,500 pounds of debris! 

As for the entire county, preliminary totals for Coastal Cleanup Day in San Diego indicate that we had over 7,500 volunteers cleaning up 105 local creeks, canyons, beaches, and bays as part of this event!  While the trash totals are still being compiled, we are expecting that more than 150,000 pounds of trash were removed from San Diego County. On top of the trash removal, volunteers also beautified and enhanced the local environment through painting murals, removing invasive plants, planting trees, mulching, and performing a variety of park maintenance projects.

Volunteers painted a mural at the Golden Hill Recreation Center!
Volunteers preparing an area to be mulched.

Every year at Coastal Cleanup Day and Creek to Bay, our two annual countywide cleanups, we see that cigarette butts and small plastic items are our most commonly found items. While unfortunately, this information is not that surprising, we are often stunned by some of the unique pieces of litter that our volunteers find. Some of the favorites this year include a dish rack, costume vampire teeth, RV door, an elephant shrine, and a Charger’s jersey.

Volunteers at Spanish Landing found dentures during their cleanup.

Many thanks go out to all that donated their time and effort to volunteer with us on Coastal Cleanup Day. We feel lucky to put on such a beloved event with dedicated and wonderful participants every year! This year, we had individuals, groups, and corporate volunteer teams out all over the county representing various organizations including SDG&E, Wells Fargo, Lincoln Military Housing, Bank of America, San Diego County Water Authority, San Diego Metropolitan Credit Union, Illumina, Evans Hotels, and a large number of scout troops!

Bank of America volunteers winding down after cleaning up the Golden Hill site!


Volunteers from SDG&E excited to clean up at the Scripps Ranch site.

See more pictures from Coastal Cleanup Day and our other cleanups on Facebook and Instagram!

Looking to join us at our next event? We have a quite a few volunteer opportunities coming up. Visit our upcoming events page for more information on how to get involved!

Coastal Cleanup Day Site Highlight: Volunteers Needed Here!

Can you believe it’s already September? In the ILACSD office, that means we’re in full swing for Coastal Cleanup Day! It seems unreal that it is less than two weeks away. As we amp up for this huge day of action for our environment, we wanted to take some time to show some love to our cleanup sites that are still in need of more volunteers! Volunteers are encouraged to register at a cleanup site in need today at!

Stop inland trash and debris from making it out to the beach this Coastal Cleanup Day!

While the beach locations are a big hit for Coastal Cleanup Day, it is still vitally important to spread out our efforts throughout the county. San Diego County has 11 different watersheds that carry debris out to the coast and ocean. This year, we want to encourage volunteers to explore a newer area also! Stop debris from even reaching the beach where it is more likely to end up in the ocean and affect the wildlife.

With over 100 cleanup and beautification sites throughout San Diego County, Coastal Cleanup Day offers this unique opportunity to explore new areas in your own town! Volunteers can find a new area for hiking or a neighborhood park they never knew about before. Check out some of the sites listed below to find a new site you’d be interested in volunteering at on Coastal Cleanup Day. Who knows, maybe you’ll find your new favorite hidden gem in San Diego!

Click any of the sites listed below to take you directly to the registration page for that location. If you have any questions about these sites or Coastal Cleanup Day in general, feel free to reach out to our Community Programs Coordinator, Michelle Freeman.


North County:

Fallbrook – Live Oak Park

Central San Diego:

Alpine Creek before volunteers cleaned it up last year on Coastal Cleanup Day.

Mission Hills Neighborhood Cleanup

Chollas Creek – Chollas Pkwy at Boyce

City Heights – Auburn Creek

City Heights – Cooper Canyon

Hillcrest – South Marston Canyon

Emerald Hills – Emerald Hills Park

Volunteers in the swing of it on last year’s Coastal Cleanup Day at Cooper Canyon!

East County:

Lemon Grove Park

Lemon Grove – Chollas Creek

Encanto Park

Alpine Creek

El Cajon – Fresh Farm

Last year, Howard Lane Park got an upgrade with new paint! Keep the park in tip top shape at Coastal Cleanup Day this year!

South County:

Chula Vista – Sweetwater River

Otay Valley Regional Park – Saturn Staging Area

Tijuana River Valley – Smuggler’s Gulch

San Ysidro – Howard Lane Park

Otay Mesa – Dennery Canyon

San Ysidro – San Ysidro Blvd

Give Smuggler’s Gulch some much-needed love this Coastal Cleanup Day!

Coastal Cleanup Day Site Highlight: Paradise Creek

This year’s Coastal Cleanup Day is set for Saturday, September 16th from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM. One local wetland has benefitted from the work of a dedicated group of volunteers for the last 25 years, and it is once again set to be a site for the annual volunteer effort.

Paradise Creek Educational Park is a public park in the Old Town neighborhood of National City that was designed to increase environmental stewardship and to provide a place of respite in the busy city. Paradise Creek has flowed out to San Diego Bay as part of the Sweetwater River watershed for thousands of years. In 1999, the non-profit organization, Paradise Creek Educational Park Inc., formed to carry out the mission of advocating for and preserving the salt marsh wetlands. Since that year, a group of community members, teachers, students, families, and others have been holding Creek Day cleanups on the last Saturday of every month. 

On this year’s Coastal Cleanup Day, the park will hold a small celebration of the recent completion of work carried out by the City of National City. Come out and take a walk through the new entry way of native plants at 1815 Hoover Avenue in National City. Also, there is a new schoolyard garden that can be visited. Check out the Paradise Creek Facebook page for more information. 

There is still time to register to volunteer at the Paradise Creek site on Coastal Cleanup Day. Head over to to sign up at Paradise Creek or one of the other 100+ cleanup sites in San Diego County for Coastal Cleanup Day and be a part of this international day of action!