Archive for the 'zero waste' Category

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.

    tv

    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!

Zero Waste Tips for your Summer Shindig

Spring is among us, and summer will be here before most of us even know it. By San Diego standards, that means cookouts, beach days, and barbecues galore. For zero waste enthusiasts, the often-present plastic utensils, plates, and bottles can sometimes overshadow the excitement of these events. Whether you are a seasoned party host or it is a special occasion, the I Love A Clean San Diego team wants to help prepare you with some tips to make it the top, zero waste soiree of the season!food-summer-party-dinner

Gathering Supplies:

Preparation is key to a successful, sustainable cookout. To create an eco-friendly environment for your event, you will want to consider stocking up on some reusable party essentials. For grilling, reusable metal skewers and grilling baskets come in handy. Instead of plastic plates and utensils, head to your local thrift store to mix and match reusable dishware and utensils. You may even find some great serving platters while you’re at it! The eclectic plates can add a funky touch to your décor. Ditch the wasteful paper napkins and plastic tablecloths for reusable cloth napkins and tablecloths. This will immediately make your party style stand out while saving on waste! Red plastic cups can be substituted with Ball mason jars and reusable straws to class up any cocktail!

While some may be the official cookout host among their cohort, there are options for hosting a zero waste shindig without stocking up. Whether you lack the space to store all the extra dishes or just rarely host, rental companies can often come in handy. This option may not be right for everyone, but renting can sometimes come out to be cheaper for the infrequent, eco-friendly host. They can supply everything from serving platters, dishes, cutlery, glassware, napkins, and tablecloths.dinner-meal-table-wine

Food and Drink:

While shopping for foods, don’t forget to bring your reusable mesh or cloth bags, jars, and other containers. Buying in bulk is always a cornerstone to any zero waste tips list. Check out the bulk food section for all your party snack foods. Skip out on those individually packaged cheese slices and opt for the deli counter or a local farmers market. The farmers market is also a great place to get locally sourced, organic vegetables. Focusing your grilling around vegetables can help make your party even more eco-friendly.

No party is complete without a varied selection of drink options. However, you can cut back on the waste by offering bulk drink options in large glass dispensers. Water, lemonade, and sun tea (you can compost those tea bags) all work well for this serving style. This drink technique also helps cut out all of the single use water and soda bottles. You can look into local breweries and wineries to fill up reusable bottles and growlers for your party as well. Growlers of San Diego’s finest craft beers are sure to take any celebration up a notch!

Clean Up and Compost:

Just as we mentioned in our Zero Waste Festival Guide, it is best to make your set up as easy as possible for those who are less experienced with recycling and compost. Consider setting up a row of bins that are all clearly labeled for compost, recycling, and landfill. You may also want to set another bin out with a bit of water for a location to collect all of the dishes. This can make the cleanup process a bit quicker when bringing in the plates and cutlery for cleaning. For any leftovers, keep your Bee’s Wrap handy. The reusable alternative to plastic wrap can also be used around kindling to start a fire if your party lingers on into the night.

Pick up more tips and knowledge by attending our second annual Zero Waste Fair on June 17, 2017, in Encinitas! For more information on how to adopt a waste-free lifestyle visit WasteFreeSD.org. For more information about our educational programs, contact education@cleansd.org.

8 Ways to Reduce Your Ecological Footprint

Today’s blog was written by Marketing Manager, Pia.

Ecological footprint: the impact of a person or community on the environment, expressed as the amount of land required to sustain their use of natural resources

It’s been estimated that it would take 3.9 Earths to sustain the world population if everyone lived like we do in the US. When considering factors like food, water-use, waste and transportation, it’s clear there’s an urgent need for more sustainable daily actions. Luckily, you can start creating these habits today!

Check out the Global Footprint Calculator from the Global Footprint Network to understand your ecological footprint. Then, incorporate these suggestions to reduce your ecological footprint and make a positive impact!

  1. Reduce Your Use of Single-Use, Disposable Plastics. Did you know all the plastic we’ve ever made still exists? We use disposable plastic shopping bags for an average of 12 minutes before we discard them (and yes, there are still plastic shopping bags at clothing stores, hardware stores, and more). Other single-use plastics like straws, cups, and utensils aren’t used for much longer. Make the switch to reusable items, such as reusable water bottle, reusable shopping bag, and reusable cups.
  2. Switch to Renewable Energy. According to the EPA, the electricity sector was the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the US in 2014. If you have the budget and living situation to switch to solar, look into installation options. If you don’t, there are still many ways to reduce your use of nonrenewable energy. Look into renewable energy options through programs like SDG&E’s EcoChoice. The program allows you to switch 50-100% of your energy bill to renewable energy from clean sources. Best of all: it’s easy and affordable! Log in to your account for an estimate and reduce your ecological footprint in a click. renewable energy idea san diego
  3. Eat Less Meat. The meat industry is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, along with its other issues such as animal welfare, water-use, and land degradation. Reduce your ecological footprint by enjoying vegetarian-friendly meal days and supporting local meat sources.
  4. Recycle Responsibly. Recycling helps conserve resources and reduces air and water pollution. It also saves space in our overcrowded landfills. Become a recycling rockstar by knowing the rules for your area and recycling as much as you can. For recycling locations along with repair, reuse and repurpose ideas, visit our recycling and zero waste database, WasteFreeSD.org.
  5. Reduce your Waste. Our landfills are quickly filling up. Do your part by reducing your waste. Reduce packaging waste in the kitchen by buying in bulk, eating a veggie-based diet, and composting. Reduce your bathroom product waste by concocting your own formulas, buying reusables, and forgoing unnecessary products. Be sure to recycle plastic bottles, toilet paper rolls, and other recyclable bathroom materials. Learn more about zero waste here.
  6. Drive Less. Our cars release many pollutants into the air and our oceans. When you’re able to travel without a car, take advantage! San Diegans can enjoy year-round walking and biking trips to the store, coffee shop, or farmer’s market. When you have to drive, consider grouping errands together or taking public transit. If you rely on your car, make the switch to an electric vehicle. Not only are they better for the environment, but you won’t have to buy gas ever again. bike to reduce ecological footprint
  7. Reduce Your Water Use. Water is precious. We only have to look at the last few years in California to understand why. More water is used in our yards than any other category for the average household. Transform your yard into a water-wise oasis to conserve water. Find ways to incorporate water savings techniques around your home, such as using rain barrels, washing clothes when you have a full load, and stopping unnecessary faucet use. More tips from Be Water Wise.
  8. Support Local. Our stuff travels more than we do. Whether it’s clothes, food or supplies, many items have a huge ecological footprint. Support local, transparent companies and farms to reduce your footprint. A great place to start? Shop your local farmer’s market. san diego farmers market

Have more tips to reduce your ecological footprint? Share them with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Zero Waste Festival Guide

Today’s blog was written by Senior Director of Operations, Natalie!

With music festival season coming up, thousands will be flocking to Indo for Coachella and Stagecoach as well as many other festivals around the country. Navigating how to be as eco-friendly as possible while enjoying these festivals can be tricky. Often, it takes just a few steps to plan ahead so you can reduce your waste, protect the environment, and save a little money too. Here are a few tips to plan for a sustainable festival season.

Getting There
Carpool! We took an RV to Stagecoach in Indio last year. We all met up in San Diego to ride together rather than meet up at the festival in separate cars. This saved a lot of money from parking fees and logistical headaches at the festival as well. Look for carpool incentives at upcoming festivals.

Enjoying the Festival
In the desert during long festival days, it’s important to stay hydrated. Buying individual water bottles was not only wasteful for the environment, it also meant waiting in long lines to keep buying water and spending a lot on marked up bottle prices. We planned ahead and brought hydration backpacks that we could refill at the water refill stations around the festival grounds. Reusable water bottles would work very well too. This not only saved on what would have been numerous single-use plastic bottles, but also saved us a lot of money and fewer water trips, which meant more time spent enjoying the concert!

camelbak backpack

Plan ahead if you’re camping. Unfortunately, there was a rule about no glass on the campgrounds for Stagecoach when I went. Plan ahead with reusable plastic or aluminum glassware, as well as reusable utensils and plates. We found that all-in-one utensils worked really well to avoid having to wash as many utensils while camping. Reusable cloth napkins are a great option for napkins—it was fun giving everyone brightly colored tea towels so they could remember which one was theirs. We planned most of our meals to avoid needing utensils or plates all together to make cleanup easy and waste-free. For food, we brought fruits and veggies that we pre-sliced at home, opted for handheld foods like hotdogs and sandwiches, and utilized items with very minimal packaging. It was tempting to bring a bunch of prepackaged meals like microwaveable individually wrapped breakfast sandwiches and mini chip bags, but instead choose homemade guacamole in a Tupperware, homemade muffins, bulk snack foods in reusable bags, and other more eco-friendly choices.

reusable napkin options

More Tips

  • Composting: I brought a small bin with a tight sealing lid to house our food scraps to take home with us to compost. I was so excited to find compost bins around the festival for food scraps while inside!
  • For beverages around the campsite, we brought as much as we could in bulk to avoid excess packaging from single serving beverages. Beer in stainless steel growlers were great to have on hand so we could enjoy our favorite craft beers while abiding by the no glass rule. When we needed to, we opted for beer in cans since they could get recycled.
  • Set up your campsite to make it easy on those with less knowledge of recycling and composting. As the trip organizer, I set up bags for trash, a bin for food scraps, and a bag for recycling, and I gave everyone some quick reminders based on the food we had so it was easier to remember. I also double-checked the bags before we closed them up to make sure items were correctly placed.

More sustainable and zero waste tips on festival websites:

Electric Vehicles 101

electric vehicle

Electric vehicles are the way of the future. They’re more efficient, better for the environment, and give their owners some great perks. According to the EPA, the transportation industry accounts for 26% of greenhouse gas emissions in the US, with 61% of those emissions coming from light-duty vehicles. By choosing an electric vehicle, you help reduce your carbon footprint and support positive change for the transportation industry. Learn the basics about electric vehicles in this guide.

What are Electric Vehicles?

There are two types of electric vehicles.

All-Electric

All-electric cars are powered by an electric motor using rechargeable batteries. There’s no conventional combustion engine and no tailpipe emissions.

Plug-In Hybrid

Plug-in hybrid cars are a great mid-point between an all-electric car and a car running solely on gasoline. They have an electric motor and an internal combustion engine so they can run on a battery charge but can switch to the conventional engine if the car runs out of charge.

Other

More and more electric options are coming to market every year. There are electric motorcycles, electric buses and even electric VW van concept cars (if you’re handy with cars and can’t wait for the concept car to go to market, take inspiration from this VW Van converted to solar electric).

Electric is a great option no matter what the vehicle type.

Why Drive an Electric Vehicle?

Some benefits include:

  • Electric vehicles are better for the environment. They have no tailpipe emissions, don’t use oil, and have a lot less brake dust compared to regular cars. Oil and brake dust affects our local environment by entering our storm drains and ultimately affecting our ocean health. Electric vehicles powered by the grid produce 54% less carbon pollution than gas powered cars.
  • It’s clean fuel. San Diego’s electricity is created domestically from a variety of clean sources like natural gas and renewable resources. Since 2015, our region has derived 33% of our electricity from renewable sources.
  • Lower driving costs. On average, electric vehicles have a lower cost to drive than a similar vehicle running on gasoline. Another perk: you can also kiss regular oil changes goodbye since you don’t run on oil anymore!
  • Rebates! There are many purchase rebates through California and federal programs to help with this earth-friendly purchase. SDG&E has an Electric Vehicle Climate Credit for EV owners to reduce their electricity bills.
  • Save time. Electric vehicles are eligible to drive in the HOV lane, which gives EV owners a chance to save hours off their commute every month.

electric vehicle charging

What to Look for in an Electric Vehicle?

There are over 30 models on the market to fit your individual needs. Some factors to think about when making your decision:

  • Type of Electric Vehicle. All-electric vs. Hybrid.
  • Charge range. How far is your commute? Do you have access to charging stations at work?
  • Charging Options. Most electric vehicle owners charge at home but there are many options on the go around San Diego County. See this map for charging areas. SDG&E is adding more than 3,000 more stations around San Diego to make charging readily available and convenient for more drivers. Request a charging station near you.
  • Trunk Space. One of the important factors when ILACSD’s Senior Director of Operations, Natalie, was searching for her perfect EV.
  • Cost. Take advantage of rebates! Most plug-in vehicles are eligible for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500.
  • Seats. Want a two-seater to cruise around in or do you have a whole family to haul?
  • Lifestyle. Do you take frequent road trips? Is this your household’s primary vehicle? How easy is it to charge at home? Decide what makes the most sense for your life so your decision is sustainable for both the environment and your lifestyle.

Take this quiz to see what electric vehicle is right for you.

What electric vehicle did you choose and why?

Electric vehicles are becoming more and more popular and as the demand’s increasing, so is the quality and quantity of offerings. We asked ILACSD electric vehicle owners how they decided on their car.

Natalie: Chevy Volt
When shopping for an EV, I wanted to make sure it was practical for my daily activities with enough trunk space and the right amount of all-electric range, including grocery shopping and occasional camping and road trips. When test driving, I was impressed by how well many models handled, how comfortable they were, the interesting technology they had to monitor energy usage, the fun bells and whistles offered on them, as well as the torque that felt quick and speedy on the road. Considering my daily routine, I will often drive to and from work, and have occasional work meetings off site or errands to run on my way home. I noticed there were free charging stations at my regular grocery store, making it easy to charge up while running errands. Plus, my office had pay charging stations that I could use if I was ever running low. The cost of charging an “eGallon” is much cheaper and better for the environment than a gallon of gas, so I’m more inclined to pay to plug in rather than fill up at the gas station. However, on a normal day, my commute is about 30 miles including a stop on the way home.

The Chevrolet Volt that I ended up selecting has an all-electric range of about 55 miles before switching over to gas, giving me 25 extra miles of buffer for my daily commute to use for errands, meetings, or fun activities. After having the car for several months now, I’ve driven 4000 miles and only used 10 gallons of gas for the few times I took longer drives or road trips. I’ve only been to the gas station one time in six months! Plus, I really like how roomy the trunk is, and that the seats fold down for larger items, which I often need for camping trips or trips to the hardware store.

Lastly, an electric vehicle had large financial incentives for me. Before I got my new car, I was spending $90/month on gas. I was also able to get a $9,000 rebate ($7,500 federal and $1,500 state) due to the higher all-electric range my Volt gets compared with some of the other plug-in hybrids that have lower all-electric ranges – rebates are different based on the all-electric range a car gets. I also recently installed a solar system on my house which gave me another 30% tax credit rebate on the price of the solar system. The EV rebate saved me money on the initial purchase of the car, while the gas-savings and solar offset provided me with ongoing savings I benefit from each month.

I love driving my new car and am proud to be reducing my carbon footprint on a daily basis.

ILACSD Electric vehicle

I Love A Clean San Diego: All-Electric Fiat

ILACSD’s mission states, “Through outreach, community involvement, and example, ILACSD leads and educates the community to actively conserve and enhance the environment.” To continue to inspire environmental change, ILACSD strives to set a positive example in our operations to ensure we’re living our mission. Each year, our staff drives to all corners of San Diego County for education and beautification programs. Our educators provided 750 education presentations in 2016, while other staff and volunteers hosted 250 cleanup events countywide. To help lower our organization’s carbon footprint, we decided to invest in an electric vehicle and set an example for the community.

When we began shopping, we wanted to keep our countywide as well as San Diego-specific reach in mind. The all-electric Fiat was selected due to its range of 103-121 miles, which would allow plenty of room for our daily presentations around the County. As a San Diego County-specific organization, we would not be driving on long road trips and also had backup vehicles if anyone needed to travel out of San Diego County. The compact Fiat still has plenty of space for our larger education or cleanup supplies – the back seat folds down for extra trunk space, and also seats four in case several staff want to carpool together. An all-electric was a great fit for us and our staff loves driving the Fiat!

 

On Twitter, we asked what EV owners liked best about their vehicle:

Rapid acceleration, smooth ride, and ability to refuel (plug-in) at work or at the gym!

The community I meet! Our company has an email thread with just EV owners to communicate.

Being able to track my mileage and energy use!

 

Resources

5 Ways to Celebrate a Green Valentine’s Day

image2

Today’s blog was written by Recycling Programs intern, Kayla!

Valentine’s Day is a day to share love, romance, and affection. Whether it means spending time with a significant other, family member or group of friends, it’s a chance to celebrate what matters most in life: our connection with others. Traditional gifts of flowers, boxed chocolates, and jewelry are popular on Valentine’s Day, but they come at a significant environmental cost. Valentine’s Day generates a vast amount of CO2 emissions in the production, transportation, and disposal of romantic gifts. The pulp and paper industry is one of the largest contributors to air pollution, deforestation, and our overcrowded landfills. Disposable items such as candy wrappers, cardboard gift boxes, greeting cards, and wrapping paper add up fast and most of the waste ends up at local landfills.

So how can you celebrate while also showing some love for the environment? Here are 5 ways to celebrate a green Valentine’s Day this year.

Find a Romantic Viewpoint or New Sunset Spot.

Sometimes a shared moment in nature is the best kind of gift. Go to the beach, find a new hiking trail, walk along the harbor, picnic in the park…get outdoors and spend some quality time with your Valentine! For new outdoor options, check out secret spots in San Diego for inspiration.

040-1024x560

 

Plant Together.

Instead of giving a bouquet of flowers or the traditional red roses, change it up this year and buy a plant for your Valentine. Plants are beautiful, less pricey, and benefit the environment. Plant your new “love” plant together in your garden and watch it grow and blossom over time. This can be a lasting reminder of your relationship and love!

plants

 

Cook a Romantic Homemade Dinner.

Valentine’s Day usually means reservations and crowds at your favorite dinner spots. You can avoid the stress and increase the fun by preparing a romantic dinner at home. Take this time to make that vegan recipe you’ve always wanted to try or prepare a favorite meal together. Couples who cook together, stay together.

When buying your ingredients, think local. Not only will your products be more fresh and tasty, but you will also be supporting your local businesses. Visit one of the many farmer’s markets around San Diego County for your ingredient needs. If possible, avoid packaging and make your meal vegetarian or vegan! This can help reduce landfill waste and lower your carbon footprint. We love these 12 Vegan Valentine’s Day Desserts from Minimalist Baker.

 

Create a Homemade Gift.

Sometimes finding the perfect gift on Valentine’s Day can be very difficult. Surprise your loved one with a homemade gift! Instead of buying something generic, show your Valentine how special they are to you. Craft a handwritten love letter or poem on recycled paper. Bake lavender cupcakes. Make this simple DIY lip balm in a reusable jar. Check out the I Love A Clean San Diego Pinterest for more ideas.

 

d-i-y-lip-balm

 

Volunteer.

Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community! This Valentine’s Day, plan a volunteer day with your loved one. There are numerous options in every community–in fact, we have our annual Cupid’s Cleanup this Saturday at Bay City Brewing Co! This can be a way to meet new people, get some fresh air and make a difference in your community.

 

SONY DSC

 

How will you celebrate Valentine’s Day this year?

Zero Waste New Year’s Resolutions

trash-art-twitter-emily

Today’s blog post was written by Education Manager, Emily!

The new year gives us a chance to set intentions for our lives. At the close of every December, I set goals for the coming year, write them on an index card (or recycled piece of paper!), and post them somewhere visible. Unlike more general New Year’s resolutions, I typically have success meeting my goals because I make them specific and review them regularly to keep focus.

As you’re looking ahead to 2017, consider setting goals to adopt a zero waste lifestyle. By doing so, you will reduce the amount of trash sent to the landfill, become more sustainable, and minimize your carbon footprint. We’ve gathered a few ideas to help you get started.

  • Buy local. Find your local farmer’s market and shop there once a month. Shopping locally reduces fossil fuel-based transportation costs.

img_8048

  • Conduct a waste audit to see what you’re currently throwing away. Spend a week collecting your trash to understand what you’re throwing away. Then, select one disposable item you can replace with a reusable alternative. Some ideas: reusable produce bags, safety razors, handkerchiefs, chopsticks, stainless steel straws, beeswax wraps, and sandwich bags.
  • Be mindful of energy use. Start by selecting one appliance to unplug when not in use. Toasters, cell phone chargers, and fans are a great place to start. Or look into more sustainable energy options, like the SDG&E EcoChoice Program.
  • Reduce food waste. Learn how to properly store fresh produce to slow rotting.
  • Buy secondhand. Shop at a thrift store 3 times throughout the year.
  • Learn a new skill. Canning, gardening, and sewing are great skills for your zero waste journey. Or learn to do your own car maintenance or bicycle repair.
  • Shave two minutes off your shower time. Most shower heads have a flow of 2 gallons per minute. This minor adjustment will save four gallons per shower. If we make a very modest assumption that you shower once a week, that equates to 208 gallons saved over the course of the year. If you shower daily, that’s 1,460 gallons saved. For more ideas, check out The Hidden Water We Use by National Geographic.
  • Try one recipe a week using bulk items. Soups, grains, granola bars, and baked goods are great dishes for bulk success!
  • Plant an herb garden. You’ll only need to pick the amount you need per recipe instead of letting half a bunch of mint wilt in the back of the fridge. If you’re short on space, try a vertical garden.
  • Learn! Read an article a week about zero waste and sustainability, listen to podcasts, watch videos, find books, and get inspired by others.
  • Rethink your main mode of transportation. Research electric vehicles on the market. Even if you’re not currently in the market for a new vehicle, it’s useful to stay abreast of the current offerings so you can be a more informed consumer when the time comes.
  • Carpool. Carpool to one event or outing per month.
  • Plant native. Native plants require less water and maintenance. They also provide habitat for birds, butterflies, and other native wildlife.
  • Go vegetarian 3 days a week. Learn more about why with this YouTube video.

cv_afterschool_compost-4

  • Start composting. Check out our Classroom Composting lesson plan for basics about starting a vermicompost.
  • Reduce paper use. Assess any print publication subscriptions (or junk mail), and find one to eliminate. Once you’ve read past copies of the periodical, contact your local library, elementary school, or scouting group to see if they’re interested in using your old copies.
  • Attend a community cleanup. Not only will you be removing debris from our environment, but dedicating time to collect litter from the street will spur your motivation to reduce your reliance on single-use items. Subscribe to our Facebook events to stay up-to-date on our public cleanups!
  • Get outside. Hike, stargaze, bike, swim, camp and explore. The more you connect with the natural world, the more dedicated you will be to preserving it for generations to come.

photo-jul-18

Staff Picks: Zero Waste Holiday Gifts

There’s no greater test to a zero waste lifestyle than holiday time! A zero waster strives to keep items they use out of the landfill but it can feel challenging to stick to your values with many holiday activities like gift giving. Though it can be tough, it’s also a wonderful opportunity to get creative, have a little fun and share with others how simple it is to incorporate zero waste practices any time of the year.

Need some ideas? Check out a few go-to zero waste and eco-friendly gifts from
I Love A Clean San Diego staff members:

Ex Libris Anonymous

Repurposed Book Journals – Emily
Our Education Manager, Emily, loves the handmade journals from Ex Libris Anonymous. She loves them so much, she gave me no choice but to include the Portland company in this post. If you’re a literary fan, you’ll fall in love with these interesting journals made from vintage books.

 

SONY DSC

Reusable Makeup Cotton Pads – Natalie
Reusable makeup pads are a great alternative to disposable cotton balls and cotton pads because they help eliminate the trash you produce on a daily basis with your beauty routine. More and more companies are selling them and they are quite durable (some boasting to last more than 1,000 washes!). Natalie, our Senior Director of Operations, likes the reusable cosmetic pads from Makeup Eraser. If you’re feeling crafty, you can make your own like above. Check out this DIY Reusable Makeup Remover Pad.

 

Locally Roasted Coffee – Pia
I’m all about supporting local coffee roasters. You get better quality coffee AND support the local economy. Win-win! Many local roasters are willing to work with you to fill your own containers. I love Common Good Coffee in La Mesa. You can also get bulk local coffee from the OB People’s Market.

 

Sustainable Wood Earrings – Becca
Many jewelry companies use repurposed or sustainable items for their materials. Becca, our Education Specialist, couldn’t stop raving about her favorite earrings from Green Tree Jewelry. They are made in the US from sustainably harvested trees and utilize 90% recycled ear cards. Plus, they’re stylish too!

Need more zero waste gift inspiration? Check out our Zero Waste Gift Guide.

Zero Waste Gift Guide

education-backup-photo-1000x660

Today’s blog comes from Education Specialist and Zero Waste Workshop Teacher, Grace!

Zero waste and gift giving don’t always go hand-in-hand. Picking out the perfect gift for friends and family can be a lot of fun, but to factor in packaging waste, longevity of the gift, gift wrapping, cards and more…it’s no wonder it can feel overwhelming to someone with a zero waste lifestyle! Have no fear—we’re here to help! We’ve compiled and tested out some great strategies for zero waste gift giving to make your spirits bright while also sticking to your zero waste habits.

Wrapping
Cute wrapping paper and fancy bows are often all too tempting at the store but going more sustainable with your wrapping can help you personalize your gifts and save money.

  • Newspaper. Newspaper makes for a wonderful wrapping paper. Comic pages are especially fun for kids (and adults)!
  • Paper bags (for those times you forget your reusable grocery bags). Many people reuse their paper bags as book covers, trash bags and more. They also make for great gift wrapping material.
  • Reusable bags. Utilize a reusable bag to wrap your gift.
  • Cloth, scarf or handkerchief. Wrap your gift in a vintage handkerchief, cloth napkin or scarf for two gifts in one!
  • Scratch paper. For smaller gifts, scratch paper can be utilized as a wrapping paper.
  • Reused gift bags or gift wrap. Keep all gift bags you receive and reuse!
  • Or just skip the wrapping!

Be sure to decorate and personalize your gifts once they’re wrapped. Use twine instead of bows and make your own cards or tags out of scratch paper, old tags, scraps or business cards. For more zero waste gift wrap ideas, check out our past blog on Sustainable Gift Wrap Solutions.

 

secret-santa-12-16-17

 

Zero Waste Gift Ideas

There are many directions you can go to incorporate zero waste practices into your gift giving and bring even more meaning to your gifts. In general, look for gifts with minimal or no packaging and figure out what your family and friends really want and need. Sometimes the best zero waste gift is the one that the recipient will enjoy for years to come!

  • Eco-friendly items. Help friends and family be more sustainable with gifts like reusable cups, stainless steel straws or travel utensil sets.
  • Shop local. Buy locally roasted coffee, find unique gifts at farmers markets and support local boutiques. Often, local companies are more sustainable with packaging and materials.
  • Purchase repurposed items such as glass cups made from beer bottles.
  • Shop at thrift or secondhand stores. Games, books and kitchen items are great categories to find secondhand to prevent consumer waste and save some money.
  • Support a nonprofit. Give a gift to an organization making a difference in your community on behalf of a friend or family member.
  • Make DIY Gifts such as candles (see this tutorial), bird feeders (tutorial here) or scarfs (see this DIY).
  • Invest in an experience. Purchase a cooking lesson, schedule a tour pass to discover a new part of San Diego or book tickets for a theater show. Giving the gift of an experience can also be a great way to share time together!
  • Handmade soaps. Check out local shops or farmers markets. Or make your own handmade soap.
  • Food. Share your latest baking creation! Make cake pops, truffles or gummy bears. Be sure to think of zero waste friendly packaging options such as cloth napkins, beeswax saran wrap, Mason jars or reusable tins. Follow the I Love A Clean San Diego Pinterest page for DIY ideas for food and other gifts.
  • Buy a membership. Art lover? Give them a museum membership. Surfer? Purchase a membership for an organization like Surfrider Foundation. Foodie? Get a membership that supports an organization AND gives discounts to local restaurants like Slow Food Urban San Diego.

Let’s all be Gleaning Machines

Gleaning Canva GraphicNo there isn’t a typo in the title, gleaning is a real technique that helps minimize food waste and hunger. What is it? It’s a  practice, used for hundreds of years, that seeks to reduce the amount of food that is wasted because it is not visually appealing. Gleaners harvest the crops that are not used by farmers and deliver them to those in need.

Linda Trozer, a member of the Society of St. Andrew, explains the unbelievable reality of agricultural food waste in the U.S. today.  Food is wasted at a disturbingly high rate, “The statistics are that 96 billion pounds of food are left — this is pre-consumer food — to go to waste in this country.”

What does this have to do with the average American family? The answer is food deserts. Millions of Americans are living in these areas that are lacking in cost-friendly, nutritious food.

Food Desert Infogrpahic

By throwing away edible food for superficial reasons, farmers prevent access to fresh fruits and veggies for thousands of Americans and contribute to the food desert epidemic. Naked Juice produced an interesting documentary about food deserts and their effect on American neighborhoods.

Gleaning provides an excellent solution to the this problem. If it sounds like something you might want to participate in, check out local organizations such as San Diego Roots and Crop Swap  for upcoming events. Whether you are a farmer or a novice gardener, anyone can play a role in reducing food waste by gleaning or distributing gleaned produce.

Gleaning

Let’s glean the food waste away one lemon tree at a time!

If you want to learn more about the gleaning process and other food waste reduction practices,check out our past blog about gleaning and I Love A Clean San Diego’s recycling website. We can all be lean green gleaning machines! 


ILACSD Logo

Subscribe to ecoBLOGic

Enter your email address to receive notifications of new posts by email!

Join 8,923 other followers

Archives

Follow Us On Twitter


%d bloggers like this: