An important conversation is buzzing right now locally and nationally about food waste. This past April a mandatory organics recycling law went into effect in California, requiring businesses generating 8 cubic yards of organic waste per week to divert it from the landfill. The nationwide campaign supported by the Ad Council is a call to action to end the 300 lbs. of food the average person tosses away each year. But what about the hard plastics most of this food is packaged in?
Unfortunately, plastics and food go hand in hand. Walk down any grocery store aisle and most food is accompanied with some form of plastic. Some plastics take the form of a container to hold butter or coffee grounds; others might be the tags keeping bread bags closed. The concept of the zero-waste grocery store is just beginning to make strides here in the United States. Here are some different ways to apply the zero waste hierarchy to the plastics that might accompany the food you buy.
One of the simplest steps to closing the loop with food products is purchasing in bulk or at your local farmer’s market. I love to bring my own cloth bags and the farmers market is a great way to avoid the plastic containers that a lot of produce comes in.
Small plastic containers that hold candies like tic-tacs can be reused to hold spices to take camping. K-cups can even be used as starts for seedlings! Try using plastic bread tags as identifiers for different keys or a holder for hair ties.
Take on a small art project and repurpose that plastic container into something useful! I decided to turn a container that once held oats into one that holds plastic trash bags.
Recycle when you can! Hard, rigid plastic containers can be placed in your blue bin, as well as items in tetra-pak containers like almond milk.
If you are curious about other plastics that can be recycled or how you can take steps to reduce your food waste footprint, visit WasteFreeSD.org.
Hi 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 strategyto 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.
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.
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!
Today’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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
Although the groundhog saw its shadow and predicted six more weeks of winter last month, it sure feels like spring has taken hold in San Diego! For today’s blog, Amanda, our Hotline Manager, has put together a variety of useful tips to help jumpstart your eco-friendly spring cleaning!
Some may argue that San Diego only has two seasons – summer and a slightly cooler and rainier version of summer. Nevertheless, it is officially spring! Along with visions of bunnies, tulips and warmer weather – you’ll probably think of (and dread!) spring cleaning when you hear the word “spring”.
Eco-friendly products are now more popular than ever, but how do you know if what you’re purchasing is really helping to protect the environment? The EPA is rolling out a new program this spring/summer, it is called the Safer Choice Label. These labels will not only help you choose products that are safer for our environment, they will also help you choose products that are safer for your family, children and pets. More information on the EPA’s program can be found here.
If you aren’t able to find a product with the Safer Choice Label, there are a few things you can look for when choosing an eco-friendly cleaner on your own. Here is a list of harmful ingredients to avoid:
Phosphates and EDTA, or ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid
Butyl or 2-butoxyethanol and oxalates
In place of these harsh chemicals, look for sodium citrate, sodium bicarbonate alkyl polyglycoside, isopropanol and glycerol on the ingredients list. For more information, check out this article from Washington Post!
If you have a little more time to invest, DIY cleaning products are great alternatives as well! You can make anything from glass cleaner to furniture polish to carpet cleaner with some basic products you may already have at home. You can clean your toilet bowl with vinegar and baking soda – yes, just like the volcanoes you made as a kid! Find more tips on our Pinterest board “Clean and Green” including this great Buzzfeed article about DIY household products!
After your house is spick and span, remember to repair, recycle, donate, reuse and/or properly dispose of the excess items, putting things in their place. If you need a refresher on what is considered trash, recyclable, and household hazardous waste turn to www.WasteFreeSD.org! Our database also has lots of information about donation and recycling centers to help you get rid of unwanted items!
Today’s blog comes from our Marketing Coordinator, Sarah! The holidays are known for family, friends, great food and spreading holiday cheer. This holiday season, we want to share with you how you can stretch your holiday giving even further without breaking the bank. Read on to learn more about how you can give a gift to the environment! In return, we’ll have a clean & beautiful San Diego for all San Diegans to enjoy!
Black Friday, Cyber Monday and now, Giving Tuesday on December 2nd! Giving Tuesday is an online, global movement to help you find your holiday spirit and give to meaningful organizations including ILACSD – Simply click here to make your year-end donation!
Whether you can give $10, $50, or $100, your gift is a direct investment in the future and well-being of our local environment.
Here are some of our accomplishments we’ve achieved over the last 60 years!
7 million – the pounds of trash we’ve picked up since we started counting in 1966
Half a million – the number of volunteers that we’ve mobilized to date
Countless – youth we’ve educated in thousands of classrooms spanning generations
ILACSD strives to enhance and conserve our natural environment and your support helps accomplish exactly that! Click here to give the gift of a clean San Diego!
Stretch your holiday giving further with AmazonSmile! AmazonSmile is just like shopping on Amazon – all the same products and prices—only you get to support your favorite local charity without doing anything extra! Purchase holiday gifts or everyday items and 0.5% of your purchases will go back to us to support our growing pollution prevention programs! Amazon Smile is offered year-round.
Follow these 3 easy steps or click here to get started today!
When prompted to select your favorite charity, type in “I Love a Clean San Diego”
Would you rather give your time? Join us for our next cleanup on Saturday, December 6th for our Zero Waste Cleanup in Carlsbad. This cleanup doubles at the kickoff for our Zero Waste option for our Adopt-A-Beach Program! For information about this cleanup and other upcoming volunteer opportunities, click here to visit our website!