Saving Summertime Celebrations from Litter with the Clean Beach Coalition

One of the best ways people choose to spend their holiday weekends is on the beach — especially in sunny San Diego. With Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day coming up, families and friends will flock to the coast to celebrate their long weekends. In response to the influx of locals and tourists, ILACSD and the San Diego Clean Beach Coalition (SDCBC) will place 200 temporary trash and recycling bins along some of the city’s busiest beaches to reduce the amount of beach and marine litter.

A Clean Beach Coalition recycling bins set out for the Fourth of July last summer!

Over the past decade, SDCBC has kept 3.5 million pounds of trash off the beach and out of the ocean. This past year, over 61,000 pounds of debris were collected during the summer holiday weekends. With the support of Think Blue San Diego, PB Shore ClubFreePB, and more, SDCBC aims to educate beachgoers about the benefits of swapping reusable alternatives for single-use products.

How can you make the most out of your holiday weekends while staying sustainable? SDCBC recommends that visitors bring hard plastic coolers, refillable water bottles, and food storage containers to reduce the amount of disposables items brought to the beach. Avoid bringing plastic straws and utensils! And make sure all recyclables are clean, dry, and empty. Spend less time worrying about your waste by visiting our zero waste database, WasteFreeSD.org, for everything you need to know about reusable options!

Summer can stay sustainable by simply packing reusable options when preparing to head to the beach!

In fact, your only worry while basking in the sun at the beach should be when to reapply sunscreen. That is why SDCBC’s goal is to ensure that the safety of the community and the ecosystem is not compromised by the impact of litter. With these easily accessible CBC bins, visitors are able to responsibly throw away and recycle their waste while still enjoying their vacations. Even at the most crowded beaches, people will still be able to enjoy the sun, sand, and the ocean in San Diego!

Not planning to hit the beach for the holidays? No worries! You can still party with a purpose while you celebrate this summer! A picture is all it takes to support ILACSD as the local Keep America Beautiful affiliate. With Absolut Vodka’s new Absolut America campaign, for every photo submitted through the site, $1 will be donated to Keep America Beautiful or another selected charity. After submitting your photo, you can share the decked out picture on social media to show how easy it is to support ILACSD and Keep America Beautiful all summer while you #PartyWithAPurpose with #AbsolutAmerica.

Support Keep America Beautiful and its affiliates by submitting a photo of how you party with a purpose to Absolut America!

With the Clean Beach Coalition and Absolut America, it is simple to #DoBeautifulThings. Just by recognizing the impact that waste has on water ecosystems, San Diegans are better prepared to act wisely when it comes to waste, especially during the summer holidays. For more information about the Clean Beach Coalition, make sure to visit CleanBeachCoalition.org.

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Be a Wave of Change at Kids’ Ocean Day

This May, I Love A Clean San Diego will bring 1,000 elementary school students, teachers, and volunteers to the beach to become a living piece of artwork at South Mission Beach to celebrate the annual Kids’ Ocean Day. Through a partnership with the California Coastal Commission, ILACSD will host San Diego County’s 20th Annual Kids’ Ocean Day! Kids’ Ocean Day kicks off before we even reach the beach with in-school assemblies to educate the students on the importance of our ocean, how it is being harmed due to human actions, and how we each play a role in protecting the health of our oceans. Then, on May 24th, these students will unite in a beach cleanup, followed by the formation of an image only visible from the sky. Check out the video below to get a glimpse of what to expect at Kids’ Ocean Day.

This year, the statewide theme is “Waves of Change,” evoking the powerful force we can be when united in our actions. Forming the aerial art message through the collective efforts of each individual sitting in the sand is a perfect metaphor for how our combined daily habits like refusing single-use plastics have incredible power in shaping the health of our environment. We are grateful to have so many young participants engaging in this cause and hope this event will propel their momentum in acting as wise environmental stewards.

Revealing I Love A Clean San Diego’s 2018 Kids’ Ocean Day “WAVES OF CHANGE” Aerial Art Design:

2018 Kids’ Ocean Day Aerial Art Design

If you would like to be a part of this event, we’re looking for adult volunteers (18 years of age and older) to lead students during the cleanup and the aerial art. If you’re interested, you can find more details on the Kids’ Ocean Day event page or register here! As a thank you, all volunteers will receive a photo of the completed aerial art image as a keepsake! We hope you’ll come together with us this year to be a wave of change for our environment!

 

Record Breaking Turn-out for Tsuanami Sweepers Cleanup

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Volunteers picking up litter before it is swept away by the tide. We are passion in action.

San Diego’s Tsunami Sweepers were at it again last weekend for our first cleanup of 2016! I Love A Clean San Diego has been named the first responder in San Diego to assist in the cleanup of debris from the 2011 Japanese tsunami that is expected to wash up on California’s shores in 2016.

While our volunteers were looking for tsunami debris, there was plenty of litter to pickup on our end, as well. Our coastline is the last stop for litter before it reaches the Pacific Ocean so ILACSD and an astounding crew of 305 volunteers set out to beautify one of San Diego’s most scenic and iconic natural spaces, Torrey Pines State Beach.

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Volunteers ready to cleanup with waivers and even reusable buckets in hand!

Even with a chance of rain in the forecast, hundreds of San Diegans turned-out to keep Torrey Pines State Beach clean and beautiful. Equipped with bags, buckets, trash grabbers and gloves, volunteers of all ages spread out across the sandy coastline and walkways. 

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Volunteers took to the walkways in addition to the sandy beach where they found more Styrofoam and cigarette butts.

Thanks to the full moon, the tide was unusually high, but that didn’t slow down our team of dedicated volunteers. Many of them took to the nearby walkways to capture trash before it reached the sand and tide, as well.

On the beach side of the cleanup, volunteers continued to find small pieces of trash including several pieces of fishing net.

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Rocks and boulders are the perfect hiding spots for litter.

In a matter of only two hours, volunteers collected mostly cigarette butts, bits of Styrofoam and food wrappers. Even though our volunteers didn’t find any tsunami specific debris, volunteers still collected over 500 pounds of litter! 

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Weighing the litter at the end of the event is one of the most rewarding parts of every cleanup we do.

If you weren’t able to make it to our first cleanup, don’t worry! We have monthly cleanups as well as two countywide cleanups, Creek to Bay and Coastal Cleanup Day. Find out how to get involved by visiting our upcoming events page!

The Totals are In! 2013 By The Numbers…

Today’s post comes from I Love A Clean San Diego’s Director of Development & Marketing, Morgan Justice-Black, who thinks that annual program totals are pretty much the cats pajamas!HPIM1703_cropped

As someone who spends most of my days fundraising, there is no more exciting time of the year than the end of the year. Seeing those last few donations come in before the new year rolls around and crossing my fingers that we meet our projected revenue goals has become an annual tradition for me. But I also love the end of the year for another reason…the opportunity to compile our program totals for the year!

My coworkers run their programs pretty much up until the last week of the year. This year, we had two cleanups in December, as well as education presentations in schools through December 19th! Shout out to Mission Estancia Elementary in Carlsbad for being our last presentations of 2013! Naturally, the holiday “break” was spent doing some serious math, adding up the total number of volunteers we mobilized, the number of education sessions that we hosted, and much more.

Well, I’m happy to report that the results are in! And once again, I’m in awe of how much an organization of just 12 staff can get done!

COMMUNITY EVENTS:

30,510 volunteers

440,953 pounds of debris collected

79,689 cigarette butts

5,334 straws

and a whole lot more!

EDUCATION:

28,220 youth educated

600 environmental education presentations

RECYCLING:

15,555 requests for recycling information

1 brand new repair database, www.RepairSD.org

All in all, 2013 was a great year for I Love A Clean San Diego. But I’m confident that 2014 will be even better. Why? Because we are turning 60! Not me personally of course, but I Love A Clean San Diego! Since 1954, we’ve been working to prevent pollution in San Diego County, giving us a BIG reason to celebrate! So stay tuned for how we are going to make 2014 a year to remember. Oh, and if you didn’t get your donation in before the end of the year, our mailbox is always open 😉

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Carroll Canyon Cleanup, a Site Captain’s Perspective on Creek to Bay

Today’s blog post comes from our Marketing Intern, Christina, who fearlessly led a cleanup site as part of the Creek to Bay Cleanup. christina

This year’s Creek to Bay Cleanup was a huge success thanks to all of our hard working staff, interns and volunteers! We’ve all had time to exchange stories and reflect on our experiences, and I thought I’d take this opportunity to share my experience with all of you. This was not only my first Creek to Bay, but my first ever event with I Love A Clean San Diego, so I was excited and a bit nervous as I served as a site captain for Carroll Canyon.

Upon arrival, I noticed how steep the descent to the actual canyon was and felt a bit intimidated knowing I was about to lead groups of students and cub scouts down the treacherous hill through mounds of poison oak. Some of the volunteers blew me away with their incredible enthusiasm and dedication. For example, one man who was volunteering with John Deer Water, showed up at 8:30, which was half an hour before the event even began, grabbed a trash bag and headed down the canyon straight away. He told me this was his third cleanup, and a well-seasoned veteran wastes no time waiting for others. Throughout the duration of the event he made 4 complete trips into the abyss and back with two full black bags of trash each time. Everyone was supremely impressed with his dedication and persistence.

Volunteers in canyons are an essential part of the Creek to Bay Cleanup
Volunteers in canyons are an essential part of the Creek to Bay Cleanup

Trekking alongside the creek that runs through the canyon, we were all very surprised to find such a large amount of debris. There isn’t much surrounding the area so it was odd to find so many beer cans, clothing, plastic bins, and Red Box sleeves. How exactly do you watch DVDs in a canyon anyway? At one point, two Cub Scouts were seen in the distance lugging a giant rusted tent and canopy up the steep hill, we all ran to their aid but they refused help because they wanted to be able to say they hauled it all the way to the top themselves. The boys won our competition to see who could collect the most garbage. They were thrilled to receive free passes to the Birch Aquarium. After all of the Carroll Canyon volunteers battled their way through the terrain for three hours, we all felt a little more connected to each other and a little scared we had all contracted poison oak.

After everyone had parted ways, I couldn’t help but feel so proud of our community for giving up so much time to come hang out with me and help make San Diego a bit cleaner, healthier and more beautiful. I look forward to working I Love A Clean San Diego’s future events, and we all hope to see YOU there as well!

Spotlight On: Aimee Edmonds, Creek to Bay site captain

Join Aimee Edmonds and her family as volunteers for this year's Creek to Bay Cleanup, and help protect our coast!
Join Aimee Edmonds and her family as volunteers for this year’s Creek to Bay Cleanup, and help protect our coast!

When Aimee Edmonds’ daughter’s American Heritage Girls troop chose our Creek to Bay Cleanup as their spring service project, she had no idea she would soon be bringing together not only the troop, but also her church, to clean up the area around their local elementary school. While looking around the Creek to Bay website for a cleanup site for the AHG troop Aimee said, “I quickly narrowed my search to Mira Mesa on the Creek to Bay website and there discovered ILACSD’s outstanding need for a Creek to Bay site in none other than…Mira Mesa!”

Mira Mesa, and specifically Hage Elementary School, is where Aimee and her family attend Newbreak Church, so she knew that the area was in need of not only litter pickup, but landscaping and painting projects. Aimee immediately reached out to our Community Events Department and signed up as the site captain for Mira Mesa. As the site captain, Aimee will receive training and supplies for her site from ILACSD and then will lead the volunteers the day of Creek to Bay.

When we asked Aimee why she though events like the Creek to Bay Cleanup were important she said,

“A clean San Diego is a visible expression that we as residents responsibly care about and appreciate our community where we live and breathe…Serving others is cross-generational and cross-cultural as it builds character in our youth, adolescents, and adults. The next generation is taught how to be good stewards of the things in which we are entrusted.”

Site captains like Aimee are the heart and soul of the Creek to Bay Cleanup, we could not mobilize 6,000+ volunteers at 92 sites across the county – all on one day – without them! Aimee says, “I look forward to bringing people together to help meet real needs at Hage Elementary. We want to show their administration, staff, teachers, students and families we value them as we come alongside them.”

Thanks Aimee and all our other site captains for the great work that you do as an extension of the ILACSD staff!

Volunteers Kicked Butts at the Morning After Mess Cleanup

Today’s post comes from ILACSD’s Community Events Intern, Gabe Grinstein.

Volunteers up bright and early to cleanup up the Morning After Mess!

Already this morning, 227 volunteers came out and joined I Love A Clean San Diego by Belmont Park in Mission Beach for the Morning After Mess cleanup. After having the day off yesterday to celebrate Independence Day, there was no better way to start off the day than with a beach cleanup to recover all the mess from yesterday’s festivities. It was an early start for me, getting up at 7 so I could get to Belmont Park by 8 to start setting up. To be honest, I started quite slow since I was very tired, but I woke up once people started to come by and sign up. The mood was great around the volunteers as there were many eager people ready to participate, and we had 94/9 radio right next to us playing music and advertising our organization and event on the radio.

Volunteers combed the beaches picking up cigarette butts, plastic bags, bottles, and more.

Time always flies by during events since it becomes so busy. I didn’t clean up any trash, but I weighed the trash and recycling bags, and added tally-marks to the big board to show how many cigarette butts, plastic bags, styrofoam pieces, and other items that we collected. By the end, we had marked 8,260 cigarette butts! This is an astonishing number since one cigarette butt can contaminate up to one gallon of water, so thankfully we picked them up before they reached the water.

Gabe keeping track of trash as it came in.

Volunteers also picked up 80 plastic bags, 134 styrofoam pieces, 345 pounds of trash, and 130 pounds of recyclables. People began to leave after a couple of hours and we started wrapping up around 11:30. The end is always my favorite part of the cleanups because I get to see all of the smiles of people when they turn their bags in. I can always see a sense of accomplishment on the faces of the volunteers. It is a great feeling knowing that we bettered the environment we live in, even if it wasn’t our mess.