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!


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!

Registration Open for 33rd Annual Coastal Cleanup Day

Get registered today at!

Registration officially is open for San Diego County’s Coastal Cleanup Day! While the name Coastal Cleanup Day suggests that this cleanup is all about the beach, many of you already know ILACSD’s volunteer efforts reach far beyond the coast. With eighty percent of marine debris originating in inland areas, at ILACSD we have expanded our Coastal Cleanup Day reach to include both inland and coastal territory. This year, sixty-five percent of the cleanup sites are located inland along rivers, creeks, canyons, and urban areas with the aim to stop debris before it makes its way to the ocean. We even have 3 clean ups happening on the water with kayaks! With 114 cleanup sites last year, volunteers removed 185,000 pounds of debris from San Diego County – the equivalent weight of 10 garbage trucks! Help us remove even more trash and debris and beautify our county by getting registered for this year’s Coastal Cleanup Day on September 16, 2017, from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM! Get registered now at!

Cut back on waste by bringing your own reusable buckets, work gloves, and water bottle if you have them!

In an effort to reduce waste produced by an event of this size, Coastal Cleanup Day volunteers can pledge to bring at least one reusable item to the cleanup. When volunteers bring their own reusable water bottle, work gloves, and bucket to collect litter, they prevent thousands of single-use bags and disposable gloves from entering San Diego’s landfills. When you register, please consider pledging to bring one of these items with you (or all three)! Once again, we will be having our “Bling Your Bucket” competition for Coastal Cleanup Day. Participants have the opportunity to decorate their reusable buckets showing off their creativity and imagination and submit photos of for the chance to win fun prizes and have their picture posted on the Coastal Cleanup Day website for one year! Volunteers of all ages are also encouraged to participate!

Participate in the Sony Photo Contest for the chance to win a Point & Shoot Camera!

The Sony Photo Contest is also returning to Coastal Cleanup Day! While you spend the morning helping to preserve our environment, snap some pictures of all of your hard work! After attending Coastal Cleanup Day, participants can submit their best photo from the event into the competition where the top five finalists will be put to a vote on the ILACSD Facebook page. The winner will receive a Sony Point and Shoot Camera!

We also collect valuable data about the debris collection that helps us understand how we can better prevent litter. Instead of using paper data cards, ILACSD is asking volunteers to download the Ocean Conservancy’s user-friendly mobile data collection app, Clean Swell, onto their smartphones as another way to cut back on waste.

Bring the whole family and join us for Coastal Cleanup Day on September 16th!

Not only will we be removing litter on Coastal Cleanup Day, the event also includes beautification projects such as graffiti removal and replacement of invasive species with drought-tolerant alternatives. Volunteers who signup will work with ILACSD to preserve and enhance San Diego for current and future generations to enjoy. Leading the way to a zero waste, litter-free, and environmentally engaged San Diego region, ILACSD encourages all community members to take action in their neighborhood by joining us on September 16th. Registration information and details regarding Coastal Cleanup Day can be found at

Come Together This Kids’ Ocean Day

Today’s blog post was written by Education Specialist, Alaine

We’re counting down the days for the 24th Annual Kids’ Ocean Day on Thursday, May 18th at South Mission Beach!

Last year, 950 students, teachers, and volunteers called for a “sea change” with this powerful image, reminding individuals to be conscious of their impact on the Pacific Ocean:

2016 Kids’ Ocean Day Aerial Design

This year, students from eight Title 1 schools across the county, along with students across four other cities in California, will attend an assembly about ocean conservation, learning how we’re connected to the ocean through the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the beaches we use for recreation. Students will then put their knowledge to practice and get hands-on experience protecting our marine environment.

2016 Kids’ Ocean Day volunteers

They will begin their day picking up litter across the beach to learn firsthand how different kinds of pollution travel through the watershed and harm our ocean. For some students, this unique experience will be their first visit to the beach!

2016 Kids’ Ocean Day volunteer

Following their hard work cleaning up the beach, each student will make their mark with our aerial art image. As small, individual dots in the big picture, they will unite to call humans to “come together” as protectors of our environment. Just how hundreds of people create a beautiful and powerful image in the sand, our combined small actions have a significant impact on the condition of our oceans. With over 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating in the world’s oceans, and a Pacific Garbage Patch growing to be twice the size of Texas, this is a crucial time to unite our efforts and address global problems to create a cleaner future.

2017 Kids’ Ocean Day aerial design
2017 Kids’ Ocean Day aerial design

If you would like to be a part of this event, we’re looking for adult volunteers (18 and older) to lead students during the cleanup and the aerial art. If you’re interested, please register here. As a thank you, all volunteers will receive a photo of the completed aerial art image as a keepsake! Stay tuned to our social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) on May 18th to see the final image.

Morning After Mess at Belmont Park

Ah, the Fourth of July in San Diego. What else screams “holiday weekend” besides the smell of sunscreen, the countless beach umbrellas, and the blur of red, white, and blue colors donned by tourists and city natives on the beach? So many people enjoy the beaches in our beautiful city. With the influx of people on our beaches, unfortunately, comes litter. Thanks to an incredible team of volunteers, it didn’t stay long. 

Our shoreline is precious to us here in San Diego, so much so that Surfrider dedicated a day to restore them after the weekend holiday rush. This year marks the 8th anniversary of the Morning After Mess cleanup and I Love A Clean San Diego was more than happy to lead a site at Mission Beach Belmont Park, while CoastKeeper and Surfrider hosted three other locations in San Diego. In total, the cleanup prevented 1,138 pounds of trash and debris from making its way in the ocean after the holiday weekend!

From the 138 volunteers that participated Tuesday morning at our site, 50 lucky volunteers who arrived early received an awesome hat with the “Morning After Mess” logo. Volunteers walking throughout the beach were easy to spot with the bright red, white, and blue, fit for American pride.

The first 50 volunteers received a small thank you from our friends and event coordinators, Surfrider San Diego!

Before the cleanup, Clean Beach Coalition bins, sponsored by many local organizations and vendors such as Think Blue San Diego,, The Local,and PB Shore Club, were placed strategically to help eliminate trash from collecting on the beach and in the bay. Some volunteers expressed their appreciation and happiness when seeing the bins filled up with trash and items that would ordinarily be left behind in the sand. 

It’s hard to miss these Clean Beach Coalition bins – each one is the size of a twin mattress!

Many of the bins and trash bags were filled with items like empty food containers, used plates, and cups, and even larger items like grills, chairs, and broken boogie boards. 

Better in the bins than in the sand.

Volunteers kept track of the amount of waste they collected: cigarette butts, Styrofoam pieces, plastic bags, and any unusual items they found. Throughout the morning, volunteers found items like shoes, sunglasses, backpacks, clothes, and a few stranger items, like a cheese sandwich in a Ziploc bag left uneaten, metal scissors, and action figure parts.

Within just three hours , our volunteers collected over 400 lbs. of trash, 53 plastic bags and over 3,000 cigarette butts just at Mission Beach.

Our volunteers are dedicated to keeping San Diego and our oceans clean. If you are inspired to take action in your local community, check out our upcoming events or Adopt-A-Beach program to get involved! 

Family, friends, coworkers, neighbors – Let’s keep San Diego clean, together! Get involved at!