Posts Tagged 'cleansd'

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.

COME TOGETHER: Kids’ Ocean Day 2017

I Love A Clean San Diego once again partnered with the California Coastal Commission for our 19th annual Kids’ Ocean Day. On May 18, 2017, over 900 students, teachers, and volunteers united together to clean up Mission Beach and the surrounding area. These dedicated 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders rallied together from 7 local schools to protect our oceans by collecting thousands of pieces of litter and marine debris. Common items found during the cleanup included small pieces of plastic, snack wrappers, straws, and Styrofoam. The students’ cooperative energy and childlike verve were tangible on the beach that day.

Students from Porter Elementary show off the waste they collected and their shirts decorated with this year’s theme – COME TOGETHER.

Students from Porter Elementary show off the waste they collected and their shirts decorated with this year’s theme – COME TOGETHER.

Following the cleanup, students united with community volunteers to form an aerial art image. One of the most common questions we receive is, “how do you make the aerial art happen?” Here’s a peek behind the curtain:

Each year, I Love A Clean San Diego’s education department designs an aerial art image that follows the statewide theme for all 5 Kids’ Ocean Day partners. On the day of the event, the ILACSD aerial art team assembles before daybreak to produce the much-anticipated image. Equipped with irrigation flags, surveyor’s tape, and extra-long measuring tapes, our amazing staff spend the wee hours of the morning meticulously plotting each and every point of the aerial artwork image. This year’s theme – COME TOGETHER – draws on the power we have when united in our efforts to protect and defend the oceans and coastlines from pollution.

As students began to file into the formation, anticipation was high; everyone was excited to see the helicopter fly overhead, photographer inside, capturing our hard work from the sky. It was a gratifying moment to see all the students, teachers, volunteers, and staff sit in stillness within the image for 10 brief minutes. After months of planning, we were all rewarded with a powerful piece of art so vast it can only be seen from the sky.KAAB2017finalimage

The success of the day could be measured by the faces of the beaming students. They felt a sense of accomplishment from doing their part to help clean up the environment. The students now stand united as true “Scholars for the Sea!”

Kids’ Ocean Day is a magnificent event that helps to bring environmental awareness and stewardship to the forefront of these students’ minds. It is a day of joining forces and demonstrating to the kids what it means to work together as one. The students walked away from Kids’ Ocean Day feeling empowered and armed with the understanding that their personal choices have power and their everyday actions will impact our environment and our future.

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Food Waste: Impact beyond the Plate

My faceHi I’m Shannon and as one of the marketing interns for ILACSD I am excited to have the opportunity to explore the effects of food waste . My interest in food deserts and the lack of healthy food options in America led me to investigate how food waste affects our community and ways we can prevent it all together.

When I think about wasted food I imagine feeling guilty about leaving those last pieces of broccoli on my plate after dinner, however, food waste is much more serious than wasting a few good veggies. Food waste refers to the massive quantity of quality food that is wasted annually instead of being given to those in need. According to the National Resources Defense Council, “Forty percent of the food produced in the United States never gets eaten.” So what does food waste really do?

Don’t worry there are ways to fight back against food waste!

The San Diego Department of Public Works has some great solutions to help you minimize food waste in the future. They rely upon the Environmental Protection Agency’s food recovery strategy to most efficiently and cost effectively reduce San Diego’s food waste. Based on this hierarchy, San Diego’s DPW established a food waste system based on 3 simple steps: Reduce, Donate and Compost.

Food Recovery Hierachy

To best implement waste reduction in our personal lives the DPW suggests re-considering portion sizes, limiting the number of menu items you order when you go out to eat and planning all the week’s meals so your grocery list only consists of what you need to make those meals. According to the DPW it is important to be conscious of the volume of food you eat in comparison to the volume of food you waste.

Donating leftover food is another great way to reduce food waste! There are a lot of local organizations that lead San Diego’s effort to feed hungry San Diegans. Check out Feeding America and San Diego Food Bank for local options to donate your leftover quality food. Reducing food waste also means giving those without the means to feed themselves the food they need to survive.

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Kids think composting is fun too!

The final step is using spoiled and leftover food for composting in your own backyard or neighborhood! Check out our previous blogs on composting to see how easy and fun it really is.

It’s important to remember that food waste is a serious national issue so let’s work together to help make San Diego even better than it already is and improve the lives of thousands in the process!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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Moriah bridges love for craft beer & the environment

Mo brewing beerToday’s blog comes from our Community Program Coordinator, Moriah as she shares her love for San Diego craft beer and our environment!

I am known as the resident beer nerd at I Love a Clean San Diego.  After working at a local brewery for about a year and brewing at home, it’s safe to say I know a thing or two about beer.  One thing I didn’t know, however, was how connected my love of beer was to my love for the environment.  In a city like San Diego, it’s not surprising that our local breweries value our environment as much as they value their craft.

Ways SD breweries minimize waste

Water conservation is a big issue for everyone in California, and that includes craft breweries.  The industry average in California ranges from 3.5 to 6 gallons of water for every gallon of beer produced.  Breweries in San Diego are leading the way in reducing the amount of water needed for their production.  Local breweries are becoming increasingly water-wise.  According to the California Craft Brewers Association, Ballast Point has reduced its water use by more than 24 percent, and Stone Brewing Company recycles more than 62 percent of its water daily.

One of the biggest ways that local breweries reduce waste is by using their spent grain in creative ways.  Spent grain is the grain left over after the brewing process.  Instead of throwing this used grain in the landfill, most of San Diego’s breweries donate it to local farms, where it can be used as livestock feed.  Stone Brewing Company even uses it as a mulching tool in their garden.  Some of their spent grain goes towards locally made soaps and dog treats as well!

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Hop farm picture is Jordan Brownwood tending hops at Nopalito Farm & Hopyard. Photo credit:  slowfoodurbansandiego.org

San Diego is known for its hop-heavy beers, but did you know that farms right here in San Diego County grow one of beer’s most important ingredients? Nopalito Farms is a local, family-run organic hopyard and orchard in North County San Diego.  Since water conservation is always an issue in Southern California, Nopalito Farms has adopted sustainable farming practices like drip irrigation and mulching, and they work to maximize the rain that they get in Valley Center.

Imbibe with the earth in mind!

  • Bring a growler with you next time you pick up beer. Instead of cans or glass bottles that will end up in your blue bin, get a reusable growler and take it to the closest brewery.  Get fresh, draft beer straight from the source! Be sure to check with the brewery first to see if they have any specific growler policies.
  • Reuse old beer or wine bottles to make decorations for your house. At our recent Sustainable Living Workshop that focuses on a zero waste home, our educators taught attendees how to reuse their old bottles and turn them into fashionable home decorations.

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    One example of a  repurposed wine bottle from our Zero Waste Home Workshop.

Volunteer at Cupid’s Cleanup!

If all of this beer talk has you thirsty, you can join us and Benchmark Brewing Company on Saturday, February 13th from 10am-12pm for a cleanup of the San Diego River! Why not switch up the typical dinner and a movie Valentine’s Day date and help us clean up the San Diego River instead. Then, if this blog has inspired you to try some local San Diego suds, you can join us afterward for a Valentine’s Day-themed mixer hosted by Benchmark Brewing Company! Families, sweethearts, kids, and singles are all welcome.

Register here! Help us spread the word by joining the Facebook event and sharing the cleanup with your friends and family. 

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Recycling brings hope to hospitals around the world

Ani_team15Today’s blog comes from our Hotline Assistant, Ani who enjoys finding recycling resources for even the toughest items and providing those resources to residents across San Diego County. Over the last few months, Ani has developed a strong relationship with Laura Luxemburg, the founder of one of the most unique services in our database, SSubi is Hope. Read on to learn about how Laura and her team of volunteers work to provide medical supplies to those in need around the world. 

The organization SSubi Is Hope collects surplus medical supplies and equipment that is in good condition from  local hospitals, doctors’ offices, hospice care, as well as individual residents to help divert these materials from local landfills. The organization then sends these supplies to medical centers around the world that have limited access to these supplies. Right away I was intrigued by the organization’s mission and thought this was a great way to divert resources from landfills while helping others in need.

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Wheel chairs, walkers, and crutches are some of the top donated items. If you have gently used supplies, consider donating them to Ssubi is Hope.

In just a short amount of time, the organization has received two awards from the City of San Diego, had a day named after the organization, and has diverted 800,000 lbs. of medical equipment and supplies that otherwise may have ended up in a landfill. Led by Laura Luxemburg, SSubi Is Hope receives medical items such as wheelchairs, crutches, and walkers and is completely volunteer-driven.

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Ssubi is Hope also accepts e-waste including computers & other electronics.

Recently, SSubi is Hope has also tacked on electronic waste to their services.  The organization is accepting electronic waste from residents and businesses at no cost to offset the overhead costs and to continue collecting items from hospitals, doctors offices, home care/hospice patients. I met with Laura at the new SSubi Is Hope facility in Miramar to find out a bit more about the organization.

What is “SSubi is Hope” and what does the organization do? How did you get involved or interested in these types of issues?

“The organization is called SSubi is Hope; SSubi means “hope” in Luganda (major language in Uganda) and it started out when I just wanted to make a difference and let my kids know that you didn’t have to be a rock star or movie star to make a difference in this world, you can be a soccer mom. So it began when we started helping a medical center in Uganda and out of our need for medical supplies and equipment, I started wondering, “Where was our old stuff going?” So I started calling hospitals, talking to nurses and they said a lot of this stuff was ending in the landfills.  They said no for a year and then right before Christmas 2013 I met up with Environmental Management System Coordinator, Jean Parkinson from the VA Hospital…the VA Hospital became the first hospital partner in March 7th, 2014. From there we have collected over 85,000 lbs of medical supplies and equipment and diverted it from the landfill.”

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Laura Luxemburg standing alongside donated materials at Ssubi is Hope’s new warehouse in Miramar!

How fast has the organization expanded since it first started?

“Our goal originally was to send supplies to Uganda and spread out from there but also share with other countries and small organizations. Recently, we have partnered with ALS Association to help provide beds to their patients because the quality of the beds they get are very simple and they need something that is more advanced, so we are able to fill  in that gap.”

How does this partnership with I Love A Clean San Diego benefit your organization?

“SSubi is very community-based; we can’t do this project without the community getting involved. We are very big on collaborations because together we are strong. People that are looking for volunteer experiences, have medical supplies, have a home care issue or know a doctor who can share this information with their facilities; let’s get together and make a difference.”

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Sealed bandages, gauze and other supplies are also accepted and are sent to needy hospitals around the world!

Lastly, how can community members help or get involved?

“We have a new space in Miramar and we are hoping that this is a good location for volunteers to come. There is a never ending supply of things to sort and separate so volunteer opportunities are going to be the longevity of this program.”

For more information about the organization visit, Ssubi.org or to donate e-waste search WasteFreeSD.org.

DITCHING DISPOSABLE PLASTIC – the bag edition

Development & Marketing Director, Morgan Justice-BlackSince last fall, ILACSD has received a variety of questions about how plastic bag ban laws will impact the way we shop. For today’s blog, ILACSD’s Director of Development and Marketing, Morgan, will focus on Encinitas’s plastic bag ordinance and tackle some frequently asked questions. Read on to get the answers to your questions and learn about upcoming reusable bag giveaways!

 

As you may have heard, the California statewide plastic bag ban is now on hold until it can be put on the ballot for a statewide vote. While the battle rages on in the case of California vs. Big Plastic, there is also some news about a local plastic bag ban. You may have heard that back in October 2014, the Encinitas City Council voted to establish an ordinance limiting the usage of single-use plastic carry out bags at local stores. Well, the first phase of that ban is set to go into effect on April 10th. I Love A Clean San Diego is working hard to make sure that Encinitas residents and businesses are informed about the changes before they go into effect. If you live, work, or shop in Encinitas, you can turn to us to get all of your questions answered about how “Encinitas Municipal Code Section 11.26” will actually work.

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Also, starting this weekend, ILACSD will conduct a series of bag giveaways at local grocery stores in the community. So keep an eye out on our Facebook and Twitter pages as we announce give-away dates, time and locations.

Here’s a rundown of some of our favorite FAQs:

Why is the City of Encinitas banning single-use plastic carryout bags? Well, plastic bags are extremely lightweight and can act like balloons blowing out of garbage trucks and landfills. These flyaway bags litter our communities, enter storm drains, and eventually end up in the ocean. Plastic is the most common type of litter found on local beaches. Marine life often become entangled in plastic bags and can mistake plastic particles for food, causing harm and sometimes death to the animals. New research suggests that this plastic is making its way up the food chain and is potentially affecting the seafood we eat.

An albatross that ingested multiple pieces of plastic.

Marine life often become entangled in plastic bags and can mistake plastic particles for food, causing harm and sometimes death to the animals.

I heard that I will have to pay 10 cents to use my own reusable bag. Is this true? NO! Customers will now have two choices at checkout: bring your own reusable bags to carry your groceries at no cost (some retailers even offer a rebate for each reusable bag you bring) OR purchase bags at checkout. You can buy reusable bags or paper bags for your groceries at a minimum cost of ten cents each. If you forget your reusable bags at home and don’t want to pay for bags, you always have the option of loading groceries back into your cart and putting them directly in your car without any bags.

What about using biodegradable bags? A “biodegradable” plastic bag is not a solution for litter issues associated with plastics. These bags can only break down under very specific conditions and do NOT break down naturally in our waterways, posing a threat to animal life. To fully degrade, these bags require heat and specific bacteria present in industrial composting facilities, and we don’t have any of those facilities in San Diego County.

Flush Puppies - alternatives to plastic bags

Check out other solutions to pet waste disposal in our blog “Scoop the Poop: Alternatives to Plastic Bags“.

I line my trash cans with plastic bags from the grocery store. Now what can I use? Trash can liners and large trash bags will still be available for purchase in stores. To cut back on waste, you can buy heavier-weight plastic bags and reuse them after emptying waste into your curbside bin. To cut out plastic bags altogether, line the bottom of your trash can with newspaper or other paper, and rinse it out periodically after use.

I use plastic grocery bags to pick up pet waste. What do I do now? There will still be many plastic bags in circulation. You can use bags from bread, produce, bulk products, or cereal, or purchase a roll of small pet waste bags. To avoid using plastic bags altogether, you can bring last week’s newspaper or a waste-scooping device on your walk and use it to pick up after your pet. Check out other solutions to pet waste disposal in our blog “Scoop the Poop: Alternatives to Plastic Bags”.


I’m worried about bacteria on reusable bags. Are they sanitary?
Plastic produce bags will still be available for wrapping meat, poultry, and seafood. Consider carrying these raw meat items in a designated reusable bag each time, separate from fresh fruits and vegetables. To keep your reusable bags clean, just use common sense and everyday hygiene. Throw your cloth/fabric tote bags into the wash with your laundry load to clean them periodically. For thick plastic reusable bags, wipe them clean with a sponge dipped in warm, soapy water and allow them to air dry before storing. Find cleaning tips for your bags and other eco-friendly cleaning tips on our Pinterest board “Clean and Green”.

Easy ways to keep your reusable bags clean!

If you have other questions that are not listed here, please share them in the comments below!

Trendy Ways to Keep Clothing Out of Landfills

amanda-2-photoshopToday’s blog comes form Amanda, ILACSD’s Hotline Manager, and she is here to show you how to reduce your use and reuse your clothing. You may even make a buck doing it! Read on to learn more about how this new trend not only benefits your wallet, it conserves our planet.

Did you know what the average American throws away 65 pounds of clothing each year?  Recent reports show the steady decline of available space in our landfills and the majority of municipal solid waste can be diverted through recycling and reuse, and that includes textiles. Thus, we want to redirect our clothing and give it another life before it heads to its final resting place at the landfill. Buying and selling used clothing help to reduce the heavy burden on our local landfills, and it allows you to do your part in reducing your use of our finite resources on our planet.textiles 2

Thanks in part to Macklemore’s hit “Thrift Shop”, buying used clothing has become one of the latest fashion trends. There are now many options beyond your local thrift store to buy and sell used clothing and other accessories – allowing shoppers to find one-of-a-kind pieces.  Plus, you can have the peace of mind your favorite top or dress found a new home and you free up some space for some new-to-you treasures! To get started, visit www.WasteFreeSD.org and search “Thrift Stores” to find a variety of stores that buy and/or sell used-clothing near you! Here are some of our favorite used-clothing vendors:

Buffalo Exchange buys, sells, and trades gently used clothing, shoes and accessories. In San Diego, Buffalo Exchange has stores in Pacific Beach and Hillcrest.  Before coming in to sell clothing for the first time, Buffalo Exchange recommends calling ahead to see what items the store is looking for at that time. Buffalo Exchange is also a donation point for authentic fur apparel. Items  made of fur are donated to their Coats for Cubs program  where the items are then sent to rehabilitation organizations around the U.S. to provide a natural environment for rescued animals. We certainly don’t endorse purchasing authentic fur apparel, but it’s great to know that there is a positive way to repurpose those. Don’t forget to bring your reusable bag to Buffalo Apparel, because when you refuse a plastic bag, they give you a token to place into the nonprofit container of your choice, and they will make a donation just because you brought your own reusable bag!

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Online thrift stores have also grown in popularity. They offer a wide variety of clothing for you to peruse and order from the comfort of your own home! ThredUP, for example, invites you to order a FREE Clean Out Bag online, stuff it with your unwanted items and then ship your clothing to be sold online. Any items that are not in a reusable condition go to their charitable partners or textile recyclers.

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Vinted is another website and convenient smartphone app. You take pictures of the items you want to sell, list what condition it is in, and correspond directly with the buyer. Vinted handles the financial transaction for you, and you ship the items yourself to the buyer.

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Acting locally is always best when it comes to reusing clothing you’ve grown tired of. Gather together a group of your best friends and have a clothing swap night! Emily, one of our environmental educators, recently hosted one at her church and it was a hit! Approximately 10 people attended and walked away with at least 5 new items – all for FREE! The remaining 143 items, a combination of shoes, accessories and clothes, were donated to the church’s clothing closet. Just because you are tired of your floral pink blouse doesn’t mean your friend is! This not only helps to reuse clothing, it reduces the need for greenhouse gases created in shipping clothing around the country.

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Finally, if you just can’t seem to part with some sentimental pieces of clothing, repurposing is always a great option! If you have an old sweater that has seen better days, turn it into a cute scarf or even a reusable cozy for your coffee cup.  Old t-shirts can also be turned into dog toys, bags or even a rug. The ideas are limitless!

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You can find all of these great ideas and more on I Love a Clean San Diego’s Pinterest page! And don’t forget to check out www.WasteFreeSD.org and www.RepairSD.org to find other recycling and repair services near you!

Greetings from DC!

MJB-2010-photoshop-picToday’s blog comes from our Director of Development & Marketing, Morgan Justice Black, who along with another member of the ILACSD team, are in Washington DC this week for the Keep America Beautiful conference.

 

 

Hello from a chilly Washington, D.C. Even though it may only be 25 degrees outside, we are having a great time at the Keep America Beautiful National Conference learning more about how affiliates throughout the US create vibrant communities through community beautification, litter prevention, waste reduction and recycling! We made it to D.C., despite blizzard warnings and having to sprint through the Philadelphia airport to make our connection. And once we arrived…it was snowing! Quite a change for the two of us, both born and raised in San Diego! Well, the conference kicked off with a keynote address from Peter Kageyama, the man who has written two books about loving your city. How perfect, since we have a little fondness for the word “love” too! He spoke about the importance of gathering people together to interact casually in the outdoors. Can you guess where the most social place probably is in your city? The dog park!

Last night was the awards dinner, and I have to say that ILACSD certainly cleaned up! We were up and down accepting three…yep…three first place awards! And we have the pictures to prove it!

Natalie Roberts, Morgan Justice Black and Keep America Beautiful COO Becky Lyons with out awards!

Natalie Roberts, Morgan Justice Black and Keep America Beautiful COO Becky Lyons with our awards!

Our awards included first place for our Cigarette Litter Prevention Program, a program that we implement in San Diego in partnership with the Surfrider Foundation’s Hold onto your Butts program. Over the last five years, we’ve installed and maintained more than 100 ash receptacles in San Diego, helping make a dent in the amount of cigarette butts picked up during cleanups! In fact, in the areas that we’ve done this program, cigarette litter has decreased by an average 64%! This was a well deserved award for Natalie and her team in the Community Events Department!

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Natalie accepting the CLPP award from KAB staffer Bronwen Evans.

 

Next, ILACSD was the recipient of a storytelling award, and this is the first year that this award category has been offered! Keep America Beautiful judges sifted through dozens of promotional materials, media articles, social media messages and more to identify five affiliates who are doing best at telling their story of building better communities. This is a true team win for us, as every member of the ILACSD team is involved in writing blogs and contributing to our social media!

Morgan, accepting the Storyteller Award from KAB staffer Mike Rosen, who was celebrating his 3rd day on the job!

Morgan, accepting the Storyteller Award from KAB staffer Mike Rosen, who was celebrating his 3rd day on the job!

The most exciting part of last night was the final awards category, the National Affiliate Awards. ILACSD was honored to receive First Place and awarded “Affiliate of the Year”. The plaque might not fit in our suitcases, but it will make it back to San Diego eventually! This award is truly an honor, since ILACSD has been an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful since the 1970’s. In fact, at breakfast today a man came up to me and told me how proud I should be to be part of I Love A  Clean San Diego because we were (and still are) a pioneer in the environmental movement! Back in the 1970’s, there were less than 50 KAB affiliates nationally, and we were the only one in California. Now there are more than 600 affiliates, and although I am biased, I have to say that we are one of the best!

So cheers from Washington, DC and thanks to all of our supporters for being part of our success!

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Now it’s time for a nap…this three hour time difference is killer when the conference starts at 8am local time!

 

A Crash Course in Local Water Issues

Today, we share our last blog post from Environmental Educator, Monica Rosquillas, who will be setting out on a new path in 2015. A member of the ILACSD team for more than two years, Monica just completed the Citizen Water Academy program and provides a brief rundown of what she learned below. You can even test your local water knowledge in a quiz she created!

Last October, I had the privilege of being part of the inaugural class of the San Diego County Water Authority’s Citizens Water Academy.

The Citizens Water Academy is open to future and emerging leaders in the San Diego region that desire to learn about critical water issues in the region.

Fall 2014 Citizens Water Academy participants

Fall 2014 Citizens Water Academy participants

It was a four session program the included presentations from local water experts and tours to local water facilities.

Here’s a short run-through of the academy and some interesting information I learned along the way.

Session 1 was held at the San Diego History Center in beautiful Balboa Park.
During this session, local water experts presented on San Diego’s water history and its future.
Within the last 24 years, San Diego has increased its water reliability through supply diversification.

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Did you know where our tap water comes from?

 

Here’s Michael Page, ILACSD board member who also participated in the Citizens Water Academy. On the right is Mark Weston, Water Authority Board Chair. On the left is Ramesses Surban, Citizens Water Academy student

Here’s Michael Page, ILACSD board member who also participated in the Citizens Water Academy. On the right is Mark Weston, Water Authority Board Chair. On the left is Ramesses Surban, Citizens Water Academy student

Session 2 was held at the Escondido Operations and Maintenance Center. We learned about Regional Water Infrastructure, Water Authority Operations, and the Water Authority’s Emergency Preparedness Efforts.

Did you know that San Diego uses enough water every day to fill Qualcomm Stadium twice?

During session two I learned all about what goes into importing water to San Diego, storing it, treating it, and delivering that water to our homes. I have always been conscious of my water use but I now have a new appreciation of San Diego’s clean and reliable tap water.

Ever wonder what happens to our water supply in case of an emergency? Watch this video  to find out.

 

Session 3 was at the North City Water Reclamation Plant.

There, we took a tour of San Diego’s Advanced Water Purification Facility, where wastewater is treated and recycled.

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Session 4 was a busy day!

After breakfast and check in at the Escondido office, we got on a bus and headed over to the Carlsbad Desalination Plant.

The Desalination plant is a $ 1 Billion project expected to produce drinking water for the San Diego region as soon as fall 2015. The plant will meet about 7% of the county’s water demands in 2020.

Here’s how it works.

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We then headed over to Olivenhain Reservoir.  This is the region’s first major new dam and reservoir in 50 years. The Olivenhain Reservoir can store 24,000 Acre Feet of Water.

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Here I am at the Olivenhain Reservoir

 

Afterwards, we took a trip over to Stone Brewery in Escondido and were able to tour their water recycling facility.

Here I am at Stone.

Here I am at Stone.

Finally, we headed back to the Escondido office for our Graduation Ceremony.

Here I am with Mark Weston, Board Chair, and Maureen A. Stapleton, General Manager of the San Diego County Water Authority

Here I am with Mark Weston, Board Chair, and Maureen A. Stapleton, General Manager of the San Diego County Water Authority

 

The Citizens Water Academy provided me with the opportunity to learn firsthand from local water experts about the region’s water supply that I have shared with hundreds of students in San Diego County, hopefully inspiring them to conserve this precious natural resource.  If you’re interested in participating in the Citizens Water Academy, a project of the San Diego County Water Authority, they are currently accepting applications for their Spring 2015 class. Learn more information online.

Think you’re a water expert? Test your local water knowledge in a quiz that Monica created based on what she learned in the Citizens Water Academy!


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