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The Right Way to Recycle: Aerosol Cans

As many of us at ILACSD know, one of the biggest barriers to getting folks to recycle is a lack of education on what is recyclable and how easy it can be! What might seem like constant changes to the items that can or cannot go into a blue bin often leave residents feeling a little confused. So today, let’s take a moment to talk about the right way to recycle a common household item… aerosol cans!

Open one of the cabinets in your kitchen, bathroom, or garage and chances are you’ll find an aerosol can. Though hairspray might be the first thing to pop into your head when you think of aerosols (I can’t be the only one picturing big 80s hair and an Aqua Net can?), the list of products that come in aerosol form is quite extensive. Here are just a few examples of products that are contained within the cylinder walls of an aerosol can:

Kitchen

Bathroom

Garage

Cooking Oil

Shaving Cream Gardening Chemicals

Whipped Cream

Hair Spray

Spray Paint

Cleaning Products

Dry Shampoo

Auto Maintenance
Products

 Air Freshener

Sunscreen

Insect Repellants

Deodorant

Shower/Toilet
Cleaners

Aerosol containers are composed of steel and aluminum. Steel is very similar to aluminum when it comes to its sustainable recycling capabilities according to our friends at Ball Corporation. You can check out our post on can growlers where we reviewed the benefits of materials like steel and aluminum for packaging. Because of its composition, aerosol cans are begging to be recycled. So how do you recycle them?

Well, when recycling an aerosol can, you first need to answer the question: “Is it completely empty?”

If you answered yes:

Awesome! Way to be aware of your needs, use up your products completely, and create less waste. Still, it is important that ensure that aerosol cans are completely empty. A quick way to be certain that the can is empty is to listen closely. Give the can a shake or spray (listen for any remaining fluid inside and verify that the product is no longer coming out of the nozzle). Once you know the can is empty, you can toss it in your blue bin for curbside recycling! No other steps are necessary. Make sure you never puncture aerosol can as it can be dangerous. There is no need to remove the nozzle before placing it in your recycling bin.

If you answered no:

Aerosol cans that still contain fluids are considered hazardous waste. You can still recycle these cans though! First, try offering the remaining contents to a friend or neighbor who might want it. Put the item on your local “Buy Nothing” page or see if it is able to be donated (unused spray paint can be donated Habitat for Humanity if it is in good enough condition). If you cannot donate or give the remaining product, you’ll want to treat it like any other household hazardous waste. Use the search bar on WasteFreeSD.org to find the closest location for recycling your hazardous waste.

So that’s it! Empty aerosol cans go directly in your blue bin to be recycled. Be sure to only buy as much of a product as you need and use it until it is depleted. Not only will that help you waste less, but it will make your recycling as easy as can be!

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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:

Participate!

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!

Educate!

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!

Celebrate!

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!

Donate!

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!

 

Three Easy Actions to Take for a Greener Office on America Recycles Day

Today is the 10th annual America Recycles Day a nationally recognized day and an initiative by Keep America Beautiful that promotes ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle in our everyday lives. America Recycles Day is dedicated to the individual actions that people can take that create a collective difference for our environment! Having normal “blue bin” style recycling in the office is an awesome start, but let’s take a look at some other ways to boost your recycling program (if you don’t have a recycling program in place, check out our previous blog post that can help you get one started). Here are three easy ways you can enhance your workplace recycling in celebration of America Recycles Day.

Deal with the Graveyard of Dead Electronics: Recycle Electronics

Electronics are all around us, especially in a workplace. So what happens to all of those electronics when they kick the bucket? Electronic waste, also known as e-waste, should be properly recycled with a certified e-waste recycling company. Printers, computers, laptops, fax machines, phones (yes, most offices have landlines) can all be taken to a recycling location or a temporary collection event. Some businesses even offer to pick these items up from your workplace. Start by designating a spot in your workplace to collect electronics that are no longer working and can no longer be repaired (you can search for repair options on WasteFreeSD.org ). When you want to recycle the collected e-waste, simply use the search bar on WasteFreeSD.org by typing in a specific item, “E-waste Collection Event”, or “Electronic Waste Pick-up”.

Make sure everyone in the office knows where to drop off any electronic waste to be recycled.

Donate Before Ditching: Give Unwanted Office Supplies and Furniture to a Thrift Store

Does your workplace have way too many paper trays or stockpiles of old binders? Did your office go through a remodel and now has a bunch of outdated office decor? Don’t toss these items! Give your supplies and furniture a shot at finding a new home by donating them to a thrift store. Start by letting your colleagues know about the collection of unwanted office supplies, where they should drop off their unwanted supplies, and give them the opportunity to grab something they might need from the collection before it’s donated. Head over to WasteFreeSD.org to search “Thrift Stores” if you don’t know your nearest one. You can even find a local thrift store or organization that specializes in just second-hand furniture if you recently upgraded your office furniture.

Recent workplace renovations? Donate your unwanted office furniture or supplies to a nearby thrift store!

Stop Wasting Half the Paper Supply: Print Double-sided

A staple in almost any office is a large industrial printer. And chances are your office goes through a ton of paper. Remember to recycle that paper first off! Ensure that each cubicle, office, and room has a recycling bin and clear signage indicating the types of items that should be placed in it. But there is also another option to cut down on wasted paper: printing double-sided. Change your printer’s default setting to printing on both sides to reduce the amount of paper used. Another option is to have a pile of “previously printed on paper” that has an unused side. Utilize paper from this pile to manually feed into your printer for one-sided print jobs or for scratch paper!

Set those printer default settings to print on both sides of the paper!

Keep Up the Recycling Momentum

Don’t let your recycling efforts fade after America Recycles Day ends. Keep the conversation going! Each workplace should have a designated recycling champion…that can be you! Kindly remind your co-workers about recycling guidelines, reward anyone you catch “green-handed” (recycling correctly or contributing to the donation pile), and celebrate your workplace achievements with all of the staff. Don’t wait until the next America Recycles Day to implement a new practice and remember to provide your team with resources that make recycling crystal clear.

For more information regarding recycling, visit the Resources Page at WasteFreeSD.org or register for an upcoming workshop.

Coming Together for a Cleaner San Diego

Volunteers power all of our cleanups, like our two annual countywide cleanups, Creek to Bay and Coastal Cleanup Day.

As the days cool down, the chill in the air hints at the year coming to a close soon. At ILACSD, we are taking this time to reflect on yet another successful year working to keep our community clean and safe for everyone alongside a dedicated, committed team of volunteers, sponsors, and donors. Thanks to your generous support in the form of time, energy, and financial gifts, together we have accomplished some incredible things this past year.

In 2017, YOU came together with I Love A Clean San Diego to accomplish incredible feats. Together in 2017 we:

Removed 400,000 lbs of litter | Mobilized 32,000 volunteers | Educated 28,000 students

These are just a few of the tremendous outcomes we have carried out together, but that’s not all! As a direct result of your support in 2017, we conducted 265 countywide cleanup events and delivered 650 educational presentations on the importance of caring for the environment (we even managed to have a little fun while we were at it too!). Our efforts will have a lasting impact on future generations. We feel honored to be working alongside you to make our San Diego a place where everyone has the opportunity to revel in our countless majestic outdoor spaces.

Students at our Annual Kids’ Ocean Day love to enjoy the beach while they clean it up!

As we prepare for another year, we ask – will you help us do even more in 2018? Financial gifts to ILACSD ensure that our education, recycling, and community cleanup programs teams are able to reach all parts of San Diego County and provide this important work.

Every donation helps so much!

$50 can equip 25 volunteers at our cleanups with reusable work gloves.
$100 can supply the equipment to clean and beautify one community park.
$250 can provide 50 underserved youth with the transportation needed to participate in Kids’ Ocean Day.

We hope you will help us do even more for the community we all love in 2018! Visit CleanSD.org to make your tax-deductible gift today.

Oh, and don’t forget #GivingTuesday is coming up on Tuesday, November 28, 2017! Be sure to follow ILACSD on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Share you support on social media with an “UN-selfie” and use the hashtags #GivingTuesday and #ILACSD.

Loving Lemon Grove and Enhancing Encanto

This year, I Love A Clean San Diego was selected as a recipient of the 2017 Keep America Beautiful/Lowe’s Community Partners Grant Program which has provided funds to conserve, protect, and enhance areas in Lemon Grove and Encanto.

The 2017 Keep America Beautiful/Lowe’s Community Partners Grant Program engages local volunteers to take action to benefit their community with projects that focus on critical needs. I Love A Clean San Diego’s grant program has already impacted both Lemon Grove and Encanto by supporting beautification and cleanup events in those communities. One final day of action for Lemon Grove is still to come on November 4th.

Lemon Grove Park volunteers had a blast while giving back in their community!

As a result of this grant program, on September 16th, we were able to expand two of our smaller Coastal Cleanup Day sites into large scale cleanups with additional projects to improve the parks! On this day, we had focused beautification efforts on Encanto Park and Lemon Grove Park. Between the two sites, over 130 volunteers removed 129 pounds of trash and 57 pounds of recycling from the areas. On top of the debris removed, volunteers accomplished impressive feats by removing brush, weeding landscape, planting 90 native plants, spread mulch, painting 9 structures, and removing graffiti.

Even with all the fun, those volunteers completed many beautification projects around the park!

On October 21st, we hosted the third event in Lemon Grove’s Civic Center Park. With a turnout of over 120 individuals, volunteers joined forces to remove litter – collecting 128 pounds of trash and 28 pounds of recycling, as well as some household hazardous waste like batteries and syringes. In addition to the cleanup, volunteers collected an unprecedented amount of cigarette litter from landscaped areas, spread new mulch over approximately 200 square feet of landscape, planted 95 various plants in that space, and painted the exterior of a nearby public restroom.  Overall, volunteers made efforts to drastically improve the area surrounding the Lemon Grove Depot station, a landmark of Lemon Grove, and removed over 150 pounds of debris from entering the stormwater system and flowing to the Pacific Ocean!

Volunteers completed painting and planting projects at Lemon Grove Park on October 21st!

The work isn’t done just yet! We’ll be in Lemon Grove once again for a final event as a part of this grant program. On Saturday, November 4th, we are slated to complete another cleanup featuring even more beautification projects for Lemon Grove’s Berry Street Park. Volunteers can still register for this event and become a channel for change in their community. So roll up your sleeves, and let’s get to work!

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!

 

Demonstration Garden Highlights Four Key Principles of Sustainable Landscaping

The San Diego County Water Authority unveiled a renovated demonstration garden at its Kearny Mesa headquarters designed to inspire more residents to create outdoor spaces that achieve multiple environmental benefits.

The four key principles of the Sustainable Landscapes Program.

The approximately 3,000-square-foot garden provides a tangible example of the recommendations of the San Diego Sustainable Landscapes Program, or SLP, and highlights four key principles of sustainable landscaping.

Here’s what to look for when visiting the garden:

  • Healthy, Living Soils: Healthy, living soils rich in organic content feed a complex soil food web. The soil holds water like a sponge and has nutrients for better plant health. Healthy soil may also play an important role in carbon sequestration. The garden has a 1.3 inch layer of compost mixed into the soil and is topped with 3 inches of mulch to suppress weeds and reduce evaporation.
  • Climate-Appropriate Plants: A large selection of beautiful groundcovers, shrubs, and trees is compatible with San Diego’s mild Mediterranean climate. These plants use less water and exhibit diverse colors, textures and shapes, while providing endless design opportunities. The garden uses more than 20 varieties of very low to moderate water-use plants, placed in hydrozones where plants with similar irrigation needs are grouped together.
  • High-Efficiency Irrigation: A smart irrigation controller adjusts water automatically in response to site and changing weather conditions. High-performance distribution components regulate pressure and are tailored to fit the exact watering needs of different plants in the landscape. The garden has inline drip irrigation and rotating nozzles to maximize water-use efficiency.
  • Rainwater as a Resource: Sustainable landscapes make the most of rainfall onsite. By slowing its flow, water is captured from rooftops and other hard surfaces so it can sink into the soil or be stored for later use. The garden demonstrates rainwater harvesting through a bioswale and detention basin next to the building and rain barrels along the entryway.

Visitors can check out the exhibit sign to learn all about key sustainable landscaping principles.

The garden also features an exhibit-quality sign to introduce visitors to key sustainable landscaping principles. The sign includes a QR Code that enables visitors to use their smartphones to quickly locate related SLP resources at sustainablelandscapessd.org.

Smaller signs throughout the landscape identify specific plant types. Free brochures on sustainable landscaping featuring the landscape’s design plan and plant palette are also available for visitors to take home.

Mexican Bush Sage at the Demonstration Garden.

To learn more about water conservation incentives, programs, resources and more, go to watersmartsd.org or follow SDCWA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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!

Cox Communications Gives Back to Our Community!

An eager group of Cox Communications employees ready to get started cleaning up De Anza Cove!

I Love a Clean San Diego volunteers work year round to ensure our neighborhoods and communities are safe and healthy places for all to enjoy. Throughout San Diego County, ILACSD volunteers remove thousands of pounds of harmful litter and debris which are detrimental to our environment and local wildlife. In 2016, over 33,000 volunteers from all walks of life came together to make a positive difference—we can accomplish so much together!

ILACSD is especially grateful for our partners at Cox Communications and their commitment to the environment! Since 2013, Cox Communications volunteers have made an impact in San Diego through their support at many different cleanup events such as Creek to Bay and Coastal Cleanup Day. Cox volunteers have been instrumental in cleanup efforts in the areas of Rose Creek, Oceanside Pier, Chula Vista, and many more locations. Support Cox Communications has provided for the annual Kids’ Ocean Day event has supplied environmental education materials, transportation, and cleanup equipment for hundreds of San Diego youth from low-income schools.

Cox Communications volunteers collecting debris around De Anza Cove.

On September 12th, nearly a group volunteers from Cox Communications volunteered to clean up Mission Bay’s De Anza Cove. Together, they collected 387 pounds of litter and 19 pounds of recycling. This work helped to protect marine life and other animals from dangerous, small pieces of litter, which can be mistaken for food and is often deadly. We thank Cox Communications for their support all year long! For more information on Cox Communication’s dedication to the environment, please visit www.coxcharitiesca.org!

After splitting into teams to clean up De Anza Cove, the winning team boasted about the 160 pounds of trash they collected! Way to go!

 


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