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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Get a free oil filter and save our local environment!

BLopez_teamToday’s post comes from ILACSD’s Hotline Assistant, Barbara Lopez!

Many of us know that it is important to recycle used motor oil, but did you know that recycling the oil filter is just as important? One used oil filter contains about 10 ounces of used oil, even after draining, and therefore should not be thrown in the trash. By recycling your oil filter, you prevent used oil from entering our landfills, our water supply, and our environment. Also, recycling an oil filter keeps about one pound of reusable steel from going to the landfill. According to CalRecycle, if each oil filter sold in California was recycled, nearly 67 million pounds of steel would be diverted from landfills; that’s enough steel to build three large sports stadiums!

oilfilterflyerTo encourage residents to recycle their old oil filters, the County of San Diego, Department of Public Works and I Love A Clean San Diego will be holding oil filter exchange events on March 23, 2013. Residents of the unincorporated county can visit one of the participating AutoZone locations, bring in a used filter and receive a new one free. In addition to oil filters, residents can also bring in up to five gallons of uncontaminated used motor oil to recycle.

If you are unable to attend these events, there are other options available to properly recycle used oil filters and motor oil. Some communities offer a free home pick up of used motor oil and filters. Also, there are nearly 300 Certified Used Oil Collection Centers in San Diego County that accept up to five gallons of uncontaminated used motor oil; many of these collection centers will also accept oil filters for recycling. If you have motor oil that is contaminated or more than five gallons of uncontaminated motor oil, visit a Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility for proper disposal. To see if free home pick up of used motor oil is available in your community or to find a Certified Collection Center near you, visit WasteFreeSD.org.

Upcoming Oil Filter Exchange Events
All events will be held on Saturday March 23, 2013 from 10am-2pm. Limit one free filter per person. Free offer valid during specified date, time, and location.

Fallbrook
AutoZone at 1081 S. Mission Ave., Fallbrook 92028

Lakeside
AutoZone at 12421 Woodside Ave., Lakeside 92040

Ramona
AutoZone at 370 Pala St., Ramona 92065

Spring Valley
AutoZone at 699 Sweetwater Rd., Spring Valley 91977
AutoZone at 9710 Campo Rd., Spring Valley 91978

To find out about additional recycling events, visit WasteFreeSD.org today!

Meet our new Marketing Intern, Christina!

christinaToday’s post comes from ILACSD’s newest Marketing Intern, Christina Etchebarren!

Hey there readers of this blog and fans of I Love A Clean San Diego! My name is Christina, I’m the new Marketing Intern here at ILACSD and I’m so excited to be joining the team and learning from the wonderful staff and volunteers. I am a fourth year Environmental Systems major at UC San Diego, originally from a small town outside of Portland, Oregon. Growing up I’ve always been surrounded by environmentally conscientious communities, so it was no surprise that learning about and protecting our environment has turned in to a passion of mine. Letting people know about what we’re up to at ILACSD is a part of my job description and my first assignment was to attend one of our education presentations at University City High School on Tuesday, Feb. 12th.

monica_educationArriving at the high school brought back a strange wave of nostalgia for my carefree, hormone charged, rebellious teenage days and I kind of felt like never leaving. I sat myself in the back row of a marine science classroom trying to blend in inconspicuously as the students noisily settled into their seats. Monica Rosquillas, who is one of our lovely educators, introduced herself and took control of the students attention with a quickness and ease that would impress the pants off of any HS teacher I’m sure; high schoolers can be some of the most difficult crowds to reign in and she did so with confidence that can only come from plenty of experience.

monica_watershedThe presentation began with a lesson on the importance of water, which may seem obvious but sometimes all of us need a reminder about just how vital clean water is to not only our health, but the health of every living thing around us. The rest of the lesson plan was focused on watersheds, water quality and marine ecosystem health. Talking about environmental issues can be an extremely difficult task because you don’t want to come across as threatening or pessimistic and you don’t want present the problem  as overwhelmingly large or beyond help, but you do want to make it seem important and urgent enough to motivate people to care and to take action. The presentation that I Love A Clean San Diego has put together walks the line quite gracefully, and I noticed that even from the back of the classroom, all of the students seemed to stay engaged throughout the entire duration of the talk.

albatrossjar
Stomach contents from an Albatross include plastic caps, fishing line, and even a small wooden door knob.

Monica hit the message home by passing around a jar filled with contents from an Albatross’ stomach which included a pen and several other pieces of colorful plastic, I heard murmurs of horror coming from the pupils as they passed the jar around with disgust.  To be honest, although I’ve gone through several years of environmental education throughout my time at UCSD, I learned a lot about watersheds and how important it is that we do our best to keep them clean.

All in all, I walked out of University City High School proud to be a part of such an amazing and inspiring organization and feeling hopeful for our future generations of environmental enthusiasts, and I look forward to the months ahead here at ILACSD.

You’ll hear from me soon, until next time.

Christina

Think Blue Brigade tackles storm water pollution in Market Creek

monicaToday’s post comes from ILACSD’s Environmental Educator, Monica Rosquillas!

Last week, I gladly spent my Saturday with the high school students from the Elementary Institute of Science (EIS) stenciling storm drains in the neighborhood of Market Creek. The students at EIS are part of the Think Blue Brigade, a program by Think Blue San Diego that aims to connect high school students with storm water pollution prevention.

???????????????????????????????I arrived at EIS, stenciling kits in hand, and was met by a warm group of students and their enthusiastic advisor.  Soon after, we walked out into the sunny streets of Market and Euclid, where we split up into 3 groups, each group stenciling “Don’t Dump Goes to Ocean” on 3 storm drains. While some tackled storm drains, others documented their progress, recording video and taking pictures for their end-of-the-year project.

The footage collected will be used in a video that will be showcased at the end of the year. The storm drain stenciling activity and video project fulfill 2 out of the 3 requirements of being part of the Think Blue Brigade. Having already completed the storm drain stenciling, this group of students will also participate in ILACSD’s signature cleanup event, the Creek to Bay Cleanup, held on April 27th of this year.  Then, they will have until June to finish their video on storm water pollution and Green Transportation.

thinkblue1It’s very encouraging to work with a group of high school students, like these kids, who willingly give up their Saturday mornings to come out and do an event like this. As an educator at I Love A Clean San Diego, I go to high schools all over San Diego and teach kids about pollution. So when I see them do something about it, it feels great! Overall I had a great day spreading the message of storm water pollution prevention with this awesome group of students.

If you are a high school student interested in becoming involved with the Think Blue Brigade, please contact the education department by calling (619) 291-0103 or email me at mrosquillas@cleansd.org.

Local Boaters Take to the Seas for Coastal Cleanup Day 2012

Adam enjoying the ocean air on his home, the Betty Jean

The main focus of Coastal Cleanup Day is picking up trash on our beaches, along local creeks and rivers, and in local canyons. But what about the trash that’s already in the water? This year we’re attacking that water-logged trash as well. Adam Hopps joins us for his first Coastal Cleanup Day on Saturday, September 15th, as the volunteer Site Captain at our Shelter Island cleanup site.

Partnering with the Silver Gate Yacht Club, Adam hopes to get local boaters involved in cleaning up areas of our waterways that aren’t accessible by foot. Using grabbers and nets, these sea lovers will cleanup trash that is already floating in the water and even use tools to absorb oil that’s floating on top of the water. But enough from us, we’ll let Adam tell you more about it…

What motivated you to volunteer as a Site Captain for Coastal Cleanup Day?

I live on a sailboat in a marina on Shelter Island. Every day I witness the effects of litter and water pollution on our Bay. On a daily basis I see trash (usually plastic bottles and bags) floating on the surface of the water in and around in the marinas, in the Bay and out in the ocean. In the marinas it’s especially bad during low tide when trash has been brought in with the tide and becomes trapped in the shallow areas and in the sand – only accessible from a water craft.

Coastal Cleanup Day is California’s largest volunteer event focused on the marine environment but up until this point boaters haven’t been extremely involved in this event. When I was approached by ILACSD to coordinate a joint land and on-the-water cleanup site, I was thrilled at the idea of engaging boaters to make a difference in our own backyards as well as expanding the reach and environmental impact of this Cleanup.

How long have you been volunteering with ILACSD?

This is my first event and I’m excited to be partnering with the Silver Gate Yacht Club who will host the meet up location.

Why is that site important to you?

Living on a boat in San Diego is a blessed life. We have a dynamic marine & aquatic community, a gorgeous Bay to sail in and beautiful weather year round. It’s really hard to see the Bay tarnished with trash and oil. Even though approximately 80% of marine debris comes from inland communities, many of it makes its way into the open water which beach cleanup volunteers simply cannot access. The boating community is a natural fit for Coastal Cleanup Day because we have access to those areas from our boats, dinghies, kayaks and docks. Also, for the first time, we’re supplying on-the-water volunteers with oil absorbent sheets to use on surface level oil slicks.

We’re immensely lucky to have a magnificent natural resource like the San Diego Bay to call home and need to do our part to conserve and protect it.

What are you most looking forward to at Coastal Cleanup Day?

I’m looking forward to seeing a bunch of great people come together for a common goal. I think it’s inspiring. Also, it wouldn’t be a boater event if it wasn’t followed by a dock party!

Why do you think events like Coastal Cleanup Day are important to keeping San Diego healthy and clean?

Well, not only are tons of trash and debris collected and removed from our greatest natural areas, but the people involved become more and more aware of the harmful effects of litter and pollution and band together to make a difference. Volunteers tend to get their own families and friends involved which is why this event seems to grow every year!

What is the strangest piece of trash you’ve found out on the water?

I can’t speak for CCD, but we’ll pull trash out of the water when we’re sailing in the ocean and we’ve found half a dozen birthday helium balloons over the years.

Have you registered to volunteer at Coastal Cleanup Day yet?
Click here and sign up for any of the over 85 cleanup sites across
San Diego County!

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.

Local Students Defend the Sea at Kids Ocean Day 2012

Many people will look at this picture and squint at it thinking, what is that?

“Are those rocks?” is a common question we’ve heard since releasing this picture after last week’s Kids Ocean Day. The design is definitely not made of rocks, or shells, or even trash from a cleanup. This amazing image is a piece of living art made up of over 1000 people. Yep, those are local San Diego students, parents, volunteers and the ILACSD staff sitting on the sand at Crown Point Shores sending a message to the rest of San Diego to ‘Defend the Sea.’

Kids Ocean Day is how we here at I Love A Clean San Diego get kids involved in celebrating World Oceans Day each year. This amazing work of art started as just an idea a few months ago, and was brought to life by ILACSD’s Environmental Educator, Alex Mullen-Ley and Education Coordinator, Samantha. Our staff were up before the sun last Thursday, mapping out and drawing Alex’s design in the sand.

As the buses began arriving, 3rd-5th grade students from 8 local schools started the day by cleaning up the beach, finding cigarette butts, beverage containers and small pieces of plastic.

The excitement started to build as we began lining the students up to file into the aerial art and the news helicopter started circling overhead. It was amazing to watch our octopus come to life piece by piece as the students and volunteers started to fill in the lines of the image. Most of the kids had never been a part of anything like this and were very excited to find their place in the sand.

Last but not least, the I Love A Clean San Diego staff sat down to form the eye of the octopus.

The second helicopter arrived, carrying our friend and photographer Rachel Lebowitz from Outside the Lens, another local nonprofit that teaches youth to use digital media to create change within themselves and their community. We were so impressed at how well behaved the students were as we waited for word from Rachel that she’d gotten the perfect shot!

Kids Ocean Day was coordinated in 5 cities in California, all using the theme ‘Defend the Sea’ in their designs. Click here to visit the Ocean Day website and see all of the amazing aerial art images!