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WFSD FAQ: Top Recycling Questions from 2016

Did you know I Love A Clean San Diego received more than 13,000 inquiries in 2016 through the WasteFreeSD.org database and call center combined? That’s right! WasteFreeSD.org answers all your recycling questions and it is just a click away! With that in mind, Ani, our incredible Recycling Programs Manager, has created our newest recurring blog series that features frequently asked questions from WasteFreeSD.org that we will be calling WFSD FAQ!

WFSD Database

Go to WasteFreeSD.org to answer all of your zero waste questions!

WFSD FAQ: Top Recycling Questions from 2016

This year I Love A Clean San Diego staff worked hard to build WasteFreeSD.org into a Zero Waste Database. The redesigned site houses information beyond recycling including repair options, reduction tips, and donation locations. We thought we would share with our readers the top recycling questions we received last year. Any guess on what the number one most asked about item (non-hazardous) was in 2016? Drumroll, please! It was…refrigerators!

2016’s Top three most asked about items (non-hazardous):

  1. As previously mentioned, refrigerators were the number one item residents are looking to recycle. Refrigerators are bulky and most residents call to inquire about pickup services, fees apply. Some recyclers that accept appliances will actually pay you for bringing it to their facility to recycle, it’s a few cents a pound but hey anything helps! The redesigned WasteFreeSD.org allows for users to search for repair services including services that repair refrigerators. Make appliances last longer with proper maintenance and hire a professional to fix.
  2. It’s no surprise that as new technology rolls out people are looking for the latest and greatest. Televisions ranked second as the most asked about item for recycling. There are plenty of recycling options for electronics including e-waste collection events and household hazardous waste collection facilities. Some businesses even offer pickup services, fees apply. Opt to buy any new technology, televisions were made to last! Believe it or not, there are still places that repair televisions, at a reasonable price.

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    Keeping electronics for longer and properly recycling them afterward ensures that they do not end up in the landfill.

  3. Christmas in the Summer? Just kidding! We receive a large number of inquiries in January after the holidays about recycling Christmas trees. When you take your recycling tree to a collection site, the trees are made into mulch, which is then used to improve soil health at public parks, local farms, and homes. If your waste hauler offers a pickup service, make sure you read the curbside instructions and plan early! Many waste haulers will only pick up Christmas trees immediately after the holidays. Be prepared to take down that tree before the service goes away!

Do you have any recycling questions that need answers? Do your part to keep items in good condition out of the landfill, search for repair options and donation locations today! Check out the redesigned WasteFreeSD.org and tell us what you think!

Toasts & Tacos: Summer Social 2017

beerSan Diego summertime is pretty much unbeatable. Start with a beautiful, sunny beach day, enjoy drinks with a view, and load up on some tasty tacos with friends. How can you really top that? That’s why this year’s Summer Social has it all! It’s all said in the event name: Toasts & Tacos!

Taking place on June 24th at the ChuckAlek Biergarten, our Summer Social brings together some of San Diego’s finest attributes together: sunshine, craft beer, delicious tacos, and a good cause– keeping San Diego clean. Your ticket to the social gets you one free craft beer from ChuckAlek Biergarten and access to our taco bar featuring food from Rubio’s Coastal Grill. All of that for only $15! How can you beat that deal? With games, a raffle, live entertainment and more, this is an event not to be missed!

All proceeds benefit I Love A Clean San Diego and help provide educational and community-based programming focused on a zero waste, litter-free, and environmentally engaged San Diego region.

ToastsandTacos

Happy supporters of ILACSD at the 2106 Summer Social! Pick up your “Toasts & Tacos” tickets today!

There is still plenty of time to be a part of this exciting mixer that also benefits our local environment. Get all the details below, and reserve your spot today. I’ll see you there!

I Love A Clean San Diego’s Toasts & Tacos: Summer Social 2017

June 24th, 2017, 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM
ChuckAlek Biergarten
Click here to reserve your spot!

Thank you to the incredible sponsors, Rubio’s and ChuckAlek Biergarten, who are making our Summer Social Possible.

Sustainable Company Profile: Ball Corporation

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I Love A Clean San Diego is proud to partner with businesses making a difference in the environmental movement. Sustainably minded companies have the power to not only impact their customers, partners, and employees, but also initiate meaningful change in industry standards. Today, we are profiling one of our partners: Ball Corporation.

Founded in 1880, Ball Corporation is known among zero wasters, minimalists, and crafters for their versatile mason jars, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg of their commitment to sustainability. Ball supplies sustainable packaging solutions for beverage, food and household products, as well as aerospace and other technologies and services. Ball has been recognized by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index as an industry leader in their practices for packaging.

They have over 18,000 employees in more than 100 locations worldwide, and they create innovative solutions for packaging, such as the Widget Can, which allows craft breweries to package the tasty on tap experience of Nitrogen infused beer.

The Most Sustainable Package from Ball Corporation

Commitment to Sustainability

Sustainability and environmental stewardship are key components of Ball Corporation’s corporate responsibility. Sustainable packaging is high on their priority list, with an emphasis on enhancing the life cycle of their products and ability to recycle metals (Did you know metal food packaging is the most recycled container in the world? See the video above for more information on Ball’s sustainable packaging).

Ball partners with many organizations to improve regional sustainability and sustainability for the industry as a whole. Their partnership with The Recycling Partnership, for example, works to improve packaging recycling in the US.

In addition to sustainable packaging, Ball focuses on sustainable operations to ensure a healthy future for their company, their employees, and the environment. They introduced a plan to reduce the carbon footprint of their beverage cans by 25% by 2020 through optimizing the weight of the beverage cans and increasing the plant’s energy efficiency.

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Commitment to Community

Ball’s commitment to the communities in which they operate is impressive. They encourage their employees to volunteer with organizations and causes that are important to them. Ball employees log more than 32,000 hours of community service each year, and that’s just North America alone! Employees in the US and Canada are able to track their volunteer hours and earn $20 per hour to be donated to the charity of their choice.

Ball makes a difference in the San Diego community by supporting I Love A Clean San Diego’s programs! In addition to support of our recycling and hazardous waste database, WasteFreeSD.org, their employees participated in a cleanup through our Corporate Cleanup program last year at Coronado City Beach. Thanks to Ball’s support, our newly revamped WasteFreeSD.org will go live in the next few months, making it easier for San Diegans to find resources to reduce, reuse, repair, and recycle in San Diego County.

Learn More

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2016 ILACSD Accomplishments

2016 was a great year for I Love A Clean San Diego! Check out the highlights of our impact in San Diego this past year.

2016 ILACSD Accomplishments

2016 Accomplishments Breakdown:

We led 250 cleanups in 74 communities around San Diego. Of the 433,098 pounds of debris picked up at cleanups, the most common items were cigarette butts, plastic pieces, food wrappers, and straws/stirrers. 63,183 cigarette butts were found during last year’s Coastal Cleanup Day and through our Adopt-A-Beach program alone! The weirdest items? We found a dog house, wizard hat, wedding dress, and dentures.

Our Education team empowered more than 31,000 kids and adults through 750 presentations around San Diego County. The presentation topics focused on local San Diego environmental issues, such as watershed protection and zero waste.

Our Recycling Programs team received more than 13,000 inquiries through our hotline and recycling database, WasteFreeSD.org. The most frequently requested items: paint, motor oil, medicine, florescent light tubes, and sharps/needles. If you aren’t sure where to recycle these items in your area, visit WasteFreeSD.org and search by item and zipcode.

Want to get involved with us in 2017? Subscribe to our newsletter to hear about upcoming volunteer events. Subscribe to our Facebook events to get updates whenever we add an event. Adopt a beach, canyon, or park in San Diego through our Adopt-A-Beach Program to get involved on a more regular basis. Or join our Clean Committee to become a bigger part of the ILACSD team.

Zero Waste Travel with Emily

While schools were on break this summer, Emily, ILACSD’s education manager, took time to travel both domestically and internationally. During her journey, she learned about how other places manage resources and waste. Read on for her best tips for reducing waste while on vacation.Emily Taroko Gorge

Traveling is a popular pastime, and for good reason. Stepping outside our community exposes us to new ideas and helps us gain greater appreciation for our globe and the other inhabitants who share it.  Though traveling can throw off our normal routine, here are a few small, simple ways to maintain zero waste principles while on the go.

For the airplane:

  • Pack your own snacks and reusable water bottle to avoid the tempting pretzels and soft drinks. Although aluminum can be recycled continually, it’s better to avoid the energy used to manufacture and transport that can in the first place.
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Stainless steel container filled with bulk dried cranberries, pecans, and popcorn.

Eating throughout the trip:

  • Just like at home, dining in is more often zero waste than buying take-out. Even better, explore a local grocery store or farmer’s market. It’ll be easier to find items without packing, and you’ll get to experience a different aspect of the culture. Three items I always like to carry with me are a reusable water bottle, reusable spork, and reusable chopsticks. If I remember, I also pack my reusable stainless straw, though I usually just go straw-less. Pack any leftovers into the reusable container you used for your plane snacks.

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    This delicious udon tasted even better with my reusable chopsticks.

Accommodations:

  • According to the EPA, 16% of water use in hotels is attributed to laundry. Help reduce their footprint by only refreshing towels when needed. Additionally, search for hotels who provide a “light clean” service – a practice that includes simply straightening the sheets like you do at home instead of laundering bed linens daily.
  • Some hotels and hostels donate partially used hygiene items to organizations like Clean the World. To see if where you’re staying is a participant, and to learn how much they’ve donated to date, click here.
  • Look for accommodations that have innovative, sustainable options as a way to test out potential lifestyle changes. Our Air Bnb in Kyoto had a combination sink-toilet, something my husband and I had been talking about for several months. Now that we’ve had a trial run, we’re more likely to invest in one for our home.

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    After testing it out on our trip, now we’re even more excited to install a toilet-sink in our home!

Hygiene:

  • Opt for items with non-plastic packaging. On your next adventure, try bar shampoo or Toothy Tabs – dry toothpaste tablets brought to froth with a wet toothbrush. Both avoid the 3 oz. liquid limit for carry-on bags. Refill travel-sized bottles with your shampoo/conditioner/lotion at home before you go. I’ve been using the same set for over five years!

    https://i0.wp.com/cleansd.files.wordpress.com/2016/09/refillable-shampoo-osaka.jpg?ssl=1refillable shampoo Osaka

    Our hotel in Osaka provided shampoo, conditioner, and soap in refillable pumps.

Other:

  • Learn to use the waste systems in place for where you’re going. Take the time to stop and figure out how to divide your waste. You may even come home with a new idea about how to go green. Ten points to Gryffindor Seattle for having large-scale composting AND pictures of what to place in each receptacle. I witnessed multiple people stopping to read the sign before sorting their waste. The more educated we are, the more of an impact we can make.

waste bins Seattle

If you’re looking for more steps for zero waste travel, check out Girl For A Clean World on Instagram – she’s full of inspiration and innovative ideas. I’ll let this sign I saw in Taipei sum it all up:

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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, FreePB.org, 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 CleanSD.org!

Successful Zero Waste Plans IRL

Sam2016 - 131x172Today’s blog comes from our Contracts Manager, Sam, who has been attending several meetings related to San Diego’s Zero Waste Plan, including food recovery and organics recycling. The idea of zero waste can seem daunting or too far-fetched. Read on to learn about other cities that have successfully implemented zero waste practices IRL (in real life) and what San Diegans can do to help reach these waste diversion goals.

As we all know, “Zero Waste” is a hot button word around environmental circles these days. By its definition, Zero Waste is a commitment to diverting at least 90% of all waste away from landfills, and utilizing other means of proper disposal. But what does it look like in practice? How far along are we? What are the challenges? We will take a look at three California cities to see!

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Repurpose tip: extend the life of common items like glass bottles and jars by transforming them into home decor!

Let’s start with the current big kid on the block in all environmental programs, San Francisco. San Francisco has been among the leading pioneers in the nation for environmental programs, and zero waste is no exception. As a part of their commitment to 90% waste diversion by 2020, San Francisco has implemented composting and green waste recycling pickups at businesses and residences. Along with convenient disposal, San Francisco has also invested in providing the public with educational resources about reducing food waste, consumer and producer responsibility, and the list goes on! When other cities in the U.S. look to a city to replicate good behaviors, San Francisco is a wonderful place to start.

Next, let’s look at Los Angeles. Currently hovering around 75% diversion of waste away from landfills, Los Angeles’s goal is to to achieve a lofty 97% waste diversion by 2030 through SWIRP, which is an acronym for Solid Waste Integrated Resources Plan. LA’s infrastructure will soon follow in the footsteps of San Francisco to ensure that greater tonnages of green waste (yard clippings, food scraps, etc.) and compost can be properly disposed of instead of winding up in a landfill. Along with San Francisco, LA believes educational outreach for both food waste reduction and proper recycling techniques are critical to their long term goals. Looking to achieve 87% diversion by 2020, Los Angeles has made a firm commitment to realizing their ultimate “zero waste” initiative by 2030.

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Practice makes habits! Students practice sorting paper, cans, and food scraps into pretend trash, compost and recycling bins.

Last, but certainly not least, our wonderful home of San Diego. The macro-level goal is to achieve virtually 100% waste diversion by 2040, with yearly increments designed to test the progress. Along with LA, San Diego is playing catch up to San Francisco in regards to the infrastructure required to divert large quantities of green waste. Working with the State recycling agency, CalRecycle, as well as haulers and constituents to ensure the County meets its goals will be required if they hope to reach their goals:

  • 75% by 2020,
  • 90% by 2035
  • “zero” waste by 2040

In order to achieve this, the County will need to divert an additional 332,000 tons to offset the current 67% diversion rate. They hope to do this by encouraging haulers to divert more away from landfills, educate San Diegans, and of course divert more green waste away from landfills. Click here to learn more about San Diego’s Zero Waste plan. 

Sustainable-Living-Series-Summit-flyerIt’s exciting times! Zero Waste is no longer just a dream, but it is now a successful process! And with the process, we can see the evolution towards greener, healthier, and more beautiful communities. I Love A Clean San Diego is doing its part by revamping our comprehensive recycling database, WasteFreeSD.org, to include zero waste tips and tricks to fit any lifestyle.  You can always give us a call at 1-877-R1-EARTH to have any of your recycling questions answered as well.

If you’re looking for a more hands-on approach, our education team hosts community workshops designed to give you real life solutions like choosing reusables, how to shop in bulk, etc. Our next workshop, the Zero Waste Summit, will take place on Saturday, June 11th at Ocean Knoll Farms in Encinitas. Let us know you’re coming by registering ahead of time – Here’s to Zero Waste!

Record Breaking Creek to Bay Results

c2b16 mountain view park (247)Today’s blog comes from our Community Program Manager, Moriah who is eager to share this year’s Creek to Bay Cleanup totals!

I am thrilled to announce that the 14th Annual Creek to Bay Cleanup was an overwhelming success! This year, we focused on increasing communities to volunteer together in their own nearby parks, open spaces, canyons, creeks and beaches.  In total, our volunteers cleaned up a record 110 sites all over the county!

Totals from around the County are still coming in, but we can confidently report that this year’s event was record breaking all around! More than 6,400 volunteers channeled their appreciation of San Diego’s environment into action and removed more than 170,000 pounds of trash and debris from our county!

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What is even more impressive is that considering how many sites we had, we actually collected less trash than usual.  That means that we are all making improvements in our daily lives to reduce the amount of waste that we create and dump into our environment! On top of this, volunteers also beautified and restored the local environment through removing invasive plants, planting trees and native plants, stenciling storm drains, and performing a variety of park maintenance projects.Before and After - Postage Stamp Pt.

Our staff helped out at our media site, Mountain View Community Park.  While across the County we were expecting rain, the sun came through for a beautiful day.  More than 200 volunteers ranging from community members to corporate teams came out to beautify the park.  We painted bleachers and buildings, planted day lilies, stenciled storm drains on neighborhood streets, and removed more than 4,000 pounds of debris from the park and surrounding community.  It is so inspiring to see members of the community heartened after connecting with the beauty of their local environment.Fox Canyon

At almost every cleanup event cigarette butts and plastic items are our most commonly found items.  This year was no different, but there were quite a few found items that took our site captains and our staff by surprise.  Our North Swan Canyon site in City Heights found 13 rolls of piano music from the 19th Century, quite a few sites reported finding small toy dinosaurs, and New Roots Community Farm found a litter of kittens from a cat that lives at the garden! We are happy to say that the kittens are safe and sound and one of them even went home with Leila, our Recycling Program Assistant!

Tonks1

Meet Tonks aka Lil Sprout!

Thank you again to all of our site captains, volunteers, event sponsors and partners for all of your support! Stay tuned for our final totals, and save the date for our next countywide cleanup, Coastal Cleanup Day, happening Saturday, September 17th, 2015! More information can be found at www.CleanupDay.org!

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Thank you from the ILACSD team!

 

New Resources Promote Water-Efficient Landscapes

Today’s blog is from our friends at the San Diego County Water Authority! Read on to learn more about the newest water-wise landscaping resources that are available!LogoColorVertPCbig

May is Water Awareness Month and studies have shown that large improvements are being made statewide to effectively conserve water and our reservoirs are slowly but surely making their way back to pre-drought levels. With that said, we all can do our part to conserve this precious and unpredictable resource.

When in Drought

Were you aware that more than half of a typical single-family household’s water use happens outdoors?

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To help improve our region’s outdoor water efficiency, the San Diego County Water Authority recently launched two new resources – an online video series that guides homeowners through the process of transforming their yards into water-efficient landscapes, and an EPA-approved training program for landscape professionals.

The WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Program’s Videos On Demand take the content of the Water Authority’s award-winning WaterSmart Landscape Makeover classes and condense it into 17 short, engaging episodes that provide step-by step guidance through the landscape retrofit process, including site analysis, design, implementation and maintenance.  To watch the videos, or learn more about the WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Program, go to LandscapeMakeover.WaterSmartSD.org.

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The Water Authority also is now a partner in the Qualified Water-Efficient Landscaper (QWEL) training program. This program provides landscape professionals with 20 hours of education on principles of proper plant selection for the local climate, irrigation system design and maintenance, and irrigation system programming and operation.  Go to QWEL.WaterSmartSD.org to learn more, including information about hiring QWEL-trained landscapers.

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In addition to these new resources, the Water Authority continues to work with multiple partners to help homeowners and business owners maximize water efficiency. Please visit  www.whenindrought.org for links to water-use rules by community and other conservation resources, such as incentives for rain barrels to low-water-use devices and appliances.

Thank you to all of you who have conserved and continue to find new ways to make the most of our most precious resource! 

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Hundreds attend kickoff event at Dixon Lake

Here at I Love A Clean San Diego, we like to make it as easy as possible for people to volunteer with us. That’s why we love our Adopt-A-Beach and Adopt-A-Canyon programs—people can schedule beach or canyon cleanups any day of the year, and we provide all of the cleanup supplies for free.

Thanks to a grant from the Escondido Charitable Foundation, we are now able to bring this program to two sites in Escondido—Dixon Lake and Kit Carson Park. These are the first adoptable sites in inland North County, and we’re thrilled to have this program as an option for people who live far from the nearest adoptable beach.

This past weekend, we hosted a kickoff event to officially launch the program. We invited volunteers to join us at Dixon Lake in northeastern Escondido.

And we sure did kick off this program with a bang! A grand total of 402 volunteers collected 348 pounds of trash and recycling from around the lake and nearby Daley Ranch hiking trails. Here’s a recap of how the event unfolded.

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Our volunteers listen attentively to the kickoff and safety talk from Lexi, our Development Manager. She covered topics like how trash travels through the community, why cleanups are important, and local recycling rules. She also talked about how to get involved with the newly launched Adopt-A-Canyon program in Escondido. Some of these volunteers have already signed up online and scheduled their next Escondido cleanups!

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A team from the Division 37 East Key Club paused for a photo in front of scenic Dixon Lake. Throughout the morning, lake visitors thanked our volunteers for helping to keep the park clean and litter-free!

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Miles of trails run along the lake, so our volunteers were able to spread out and cover a lot of ground. Here, a team from North Coast Church walked along one of the lake trails hunting for litter with our trash grabber and bucket in hand!

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You never know what you’ll find at our cleanup events! This young volunteer wins our Most Unusual Item prize for finding this full bottle of sparkling cider. Here’s to you!

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We weigh all of the trash and recycling collected at our cleanups as a way of measuring our impact and accomplishments. When volunteers use their own buckets instead of single-use plastic bags, we simply subtract the weight of the empty bucket to determine the weight of the trash. The buckets get emptied right into the dumpster—no single-use plastics needed!

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A big thanks to this massive volunteer team from UCSD’s Upward Bound program. We love working with big groups like this one to get a lot accomplished at our events. These young students were a huge help!

Interested in adopting one of these sites? Visit www.AdoptSD.org to learn more and to schedule your own cleanups. We can provide a free educational presentation to kick off your first cleanup, and if you complete three cleanups over the course of a year, you can apply to have your group’s name posted on a sign on site.

We’ll be back at Dixon Lake, as well as at four other Escondido sites, for our big countywide event, the Creek to Bay Cleanup, on Saturday, April 23rd from 9AM-12PM. Registration opens April 1st at CreektoBay.org!

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