Posts Tagged 'eco-friendly'

Sustainable gift wrap solutions

Ani_team15Whether you’re looking for more creative and sustainable ways to wrap your gifts this year or you’ve simply ran out of wrapping paper, Ani, I Love A Clean San Diego’s Recycling Programs Manager, is here with a couple of quick, eco-friendly gift wrap solutions!

Did you know that food waste, shopping bags, wrapping paper, and ribbons all contribute to an additional 1 million tons of waste to our landfills? Here is a quick gift wrapping guide to limit the amount of waste that ends up in our landfills after the holiday season (and beyond):

Start early.  I reuse boxes from my online shopping, food packaging, tissue paper, gift bags and bubble wrap year round to avoid having to buy any additional gift wrapping materials; and it saves me some money as well!

Secret Santa 12.16 (8)

Community Programs Coordinator, Moriah, reused a paper grocery bag to wrap her gift and it looks great!

Consider wrapping gifts in fabric or newspaper. Unfortunately, festive wrapping paper usually ends up in the recycling bin and is often difficult to reuse. Give the gift of beautiful fabric or simply dig through your recycling bin to find paper to cover a gift.  I guarantee your gift will stand out from the rest!


Furoshiki is a type of traditional Japanese wrapping cloth

Skip the ribbon, skip the bow! These items are difficult to reuse and uncommon to keep. Check out Emily’s gift below!

Secret Santa 12.16 (9)

Education Manager, Emily, wrapped chocolates in a personalized reusable napkin.

All in all, try to hold on to gift wrapping items or opt out of using items that are hard to reuse and you’ll be on the path to creating less waste in no time! For recycling options, check out our one-stop database, www.WasteFreeSD.org

Happy Holidays from the ILACSD staff! Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest for other creative zero waste ideas!

 

The 7 Habits of Highly Eco-Friendly People

Emily M.It’s easy to get bogged down by the flood of information about eco-friendly practices and what you should be doing, or not doing, to protect the environment. Our Environmental Educator, Emily put together her top 7 habits that keep her passion for environment alive and well. Read on if you’re looking to rejuvenate your love for the environment and remind yourself why we do what we do.

  1. Remember your reusable bags. I know this is a Herculean task, but today is the day! As I tell myself frequently, “I can do hard things.” Channel your inner squirrel and stash bags everywhere – in your glove box, your purse, your top hat, your trunk, the stroller, the passenger’s side seat back pocket. Or, better yet, just get this song stuck in your head. I promise you’ll never forget again.Lincoln
  2. Set a new goal. Like any good relationship, you need to spice things up every now and again to keep your interest piqued. Go out for a nice dinner – and bring a reusable container for your leftovers. Or take a long walk on the beach – and collect any debris you find. For more ideas, check out this blog, which follows a woman’s adventures in zero waste.
  3. Keep a worm bin under your kitchen sink. Check out Amanda’s blog post about how to get started. You’ll reduce the organic waste you produce, have a bounty of natural fertilizer, and be a shoe-in for the Most Unique Pet award in the office superlative contest. Best of all, you can finally use those creative worm names you’ve been saving up on – Worm Gretzky, The Notorious D.I.G., and Dirts Bentley, for all you country lovers.Composting blog pic 2 (worms)
  4. Make it fun. Hold a household competition to see who can concoct the most creative way to conserve water. Litter your friends’ Facebook walls with environmental memes. Keep an eco-themed joke in your back pocket. (If you ever visit our office, I will gladly share one with you.) Enlist the help of Ryan Gosling. Humor yourself with creative green hashtags. My personal favorite: #brodoyoueventhriftMr T
  5. Share your passion. Fact: Most people don’t enjoy being lectured about how their habits are destroying our planet. Most people are, however, inclined to care about an issue when it’s important to someone they care about. Invite a friend to join you at a cleanup. Use your reusable produce bags with confidence, and be prepared to answer questions from friends and curious on-lookers. For my birthday, my sister-in-law gave me a purse made from recycled water bottles. She sought this out because she knows the three Rs are important to me. You may be surprised by how your actions and lifestyle encourage those around you.
  6. Pick up litter wherever you go. Earthshattering, I know, but the benefits of picking up litter are far-reaching. When you pick up someone else’s trash, you’re more likely to be responsible with your own trash. Other people notice when you choose to pick up the wrapper that 37 other people previously walked past. On more than one occasion, I’ve been thanked by a stranger who saw me remove a piece of litter. Removing litter inland helps reduce the amount that ends up in the ocean – and our animals. Besides, litter is still a major pollutant we find worldwide, which means every little bit helps.
  7. Kid PresidentRemember why you started caring in the first place. Even for the most devoted of us, aiming for a zero waste lifestyle can easily become overwhelming. However, history has proven that small, consistent actions lead to great results. You started recycling/biking to work/buying in bulk/living green because something made you care. Remind yourself of that initial spark. For me, it’s remembering my experiences working with children outdoors, and seeing how a connection to nature helps them feel confident, make new friends, and find peace during the tumults of growing up. So tape a Rachel Carson quote to your mirror. Cover your fridge with magnets of the sea creatures you’re devoted to. Head out to where you can truly see the stars and be reminded that yes, this earth is beautiful and absolutely worth working for. And remember, you’re doing a great job; keep up the good work!
Pegasus

Environmental Educator, Emily, teaching campers about the wonders of the outdoors, nature, and how to protect it.

Brittany’s Green Routine

Brittany green routine pic

Being environmentally-conscious doesn’t have to be confined to your blue bin. If you look closely, not so environmentally-friendly materials, such as micro-plastics, are hidden in everyday products. Follow Brittany’s Green Routine to learn how you can reduce waste, phase out hidden plastics and simplify your health and beauty routine! And check out our Pinterest boards for even more DIY inspiration!

 

routine definition

Routine (noun). – A sequence of actions regularly followed.

Everyone has routines and once you start, they are pretty hard to break. Since working at I Love A Clean San Diego, I’ve been inspired to be more eco-friendly in my day-to-day life, but I didn’t know where do start. Then I realized I could start by having what I now call my “green routine”. What is a green routine you might ask? A green routine is a type routine you create which benefits the environment. I realized I could save money while also being eco-friendly by creating some beauty products with ingredients I already have in my house.  For this week’s blog, I wanted to change it up and share some of my favorite DIY recipes I incorporate in my daily green routine!

Original-Lip-Scrub-with-textBrown Sugar & Honey Lip Scrub: Need to get rid of chapped lips? This is my favorite lip scrub

What you’ll need:

1 teaspoon of brown sugar

1 teaspoon of honey

Mix them together, lather your lips with the scrub, rinse with warm water, and pucker up! Your lips will feel moisturized, soft, and not to mention, this scrub is tasty!

Honey, Nutmeg, Cinnamon Face Mask: This mask is perfect for when you experience breakouts or are looking to brighten up your skin tone! You can use this has a spot treatment or as a mask. Honey is not only hydrating, but it helps soothe inflammation as well as fight against bacteria – that’s why it’s great for so many things! For sensitive skin I recommend leaving this on for 2-3 minutes.

What you’ll need:

cinnamon face mask

1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of nutmeg, 2 teaspoons of honey

Coconut Oil: Plain and simple, a jar of this does wonders and is extremely moisturizing.  Not only is this something I cook with but I use it for a variety of things which cuts down the number of products I use and minimizes the waste I create.

  • Skin Moisturizer: After a good (plastic-free) skin exfoliant, I take a dab to keep my skin smelling great and soft. A little goes a long way!
  • Hair treatments: I’m notorious for using heat products on my hair, so every once and a while I like to give my hair a little bit of love. After washing and conditioning my hair, I rub coconut oil through the ends of my hair to prevent breakage. You could also use coconut oil as a hair mask and rubbing the oil on your scalp helps with dandruff. I recommend keeping the oil in your hair for around ten minutes then rinsing.Coconut Oil
  • Lip moisturizer: Instead of using chapstick before bed, I use coconut oil, sometimes with a dab of honey, as a replacement. Be sure to pair it with the brown sugar lip scrub mentioned above!
  • Makeup remover: This is something I would normally spend a lot of money on. Instead, I take a small amount with my fingertips and rub it on the areas of my face until it melts. Then I take a wash cloth to wipe it off with warm water. That’s it!

And Guys, don’t worry, we have a recipe for you this year’s No Shave November too! This recipe sent to us by Alexandra Engel to help keep your beards fresh and clean. Blend together, rub through your beard, and rinse.

FullSizeRender (2)

A little beard oil goes a long way! *Flowers will not grow out of your beard after using this recipe.*

  • 3 fl. oz. Sweet Almond oil
  • 25 oz. Vitamin E oil
  • 25 oz. Argan oil
  • 30 drops Tea tree essential oil – prevents ingrown hairs and fights breakouts
  • 30 drops Rosemary essential oil – stimulates hair growth
  • ~20 drops Spruce essential oil (optional)
  • ~20 drops Pine essential oil (optional)
  • ~20 drops Cypress essential oil – astringent and antiseptic for oily skin.
  • ~20 drops Bergamot essential oil – antibiotic and deodorizing.

I hope you enjoy my favorite green routine recipes as much as I do. Not only are you saving green bills but you are also helping to keep the environment clean by eliminating micro plastics and cutting down on waste!  For more fun DIY beauty tips, crafts, and green living tips, be sure to check out I Love A Clean San Diego’s Pinterest boards

 

ILACSD Brides Dish Eco-Wedding Tips

Today’s blog comes from our recent newlyweds and bride-to-be on our staff, Natalie Roberts DeCarli, Emily Nelson, and soon to be Sarah Lott Buchholz. With so many people getting married or a part of a wedding this summer, we wanted to pass along our wedding planning knowledge to all of you! Read on to learn about how to plan a wedding with the earth in mind!  

Weddings – what a whirlwind of excitement, fun, and –  dare I say it – PLANNING. With so many choices and add-ons, it’s easy to overwhelm our brides, our wallets, and our landfills. Luckily, there’s a plethora of eco-conscious wedding tips. Here’s a few that are ILACSD bride tested and approved!

Emily Invite FrontFinal

ILACSD Environmental Educator, Emily and her now husband, Stan. Congrats, newlyweds!

Invitations & RSVPs: Evites and invitations made from recycled post-consumer material are definitely  the most environmentally friendly options. To go one step further, design your invitation as a timeless keepsake. Emily designed her invitation with that thought in mind; on one side there was a picture of the happy couple, and on the other side were the wedding details. That way, guests can display it in a frame or on their fridge along with other photos.

sarah's invitation - editted

Sarah created a custom profile and hyperlink to make RSVPs easy to manage and waste-free at rsvpify.com.

To manage RSVPs, Sarah found an easy to use online option called, rsvpify.com, where she created a customized profile and hyperlink for guests to access. Afterwards, she simply listed the hyperlink along with her phone number on the invitation instead of using mailed paper RSVPs. Plus, the website has a seating chart option. Time, money, and resources saved! 

emily's plates

Check out VerTerra plates! They are plates made from palm fronds that have already fallen to the ground.

Meal time! When in doubt, choose reusables.  Often times you pay a little extra, but in the long run, it’s the most eco-friendly option.

Eco alternative: Plates made from biodegradable materials instead of plastic! A great option that Emily found, called VerTerra plates, are plates made from palm fronds that have already fallen to the ground.

Bridal and wedding party accessories: Start by taking an inventory of what you already have. Emily found the perfect pair of heels to go with her wedding dress sitting in her closet! As for the wedding party, options like Union Station, make it easy for bridesmaids to rent a dress instead of purchasing one that they may never use again.

chalkboard exampleDécor: Tap into your networks! You never know who might have extra tables, easels, vases, etc. For example, Emily got silver dollar eucalyptus from a neighbor that has a tree in their backyard. Plus, at ILACSD, since several staff members are getting married in 2015, we plan on having an internal wedding décor exchange!

Avoid unnecessary printing: Chalk boards are great for wedding programs, menus, and seating charts, rather than printing items for each individual guest.  This not only saved our brides money on printing, but also greatly reduced paper usage at their weddings.  Plus, the chalk boards can be reused over and over again, for future parties and general home décor.

Nat-wedding-cropped

Natalie enjoying her big day!

Favors: “We wanted something practical, meaningful, and would appeal to all our guests. Our solution? Seed packets! We offered a variety of flowers and herbs, leaving the guests free to select what they are most likely to plant, and displayed them in a flower box.” – Emily, Environmental Educator

 “After attending many weddings that gave each guest their own personalized wedding favor, we had a collection of  favors that we really didn’t need.  When looking into favors, we couldn’t really think of anything we felt people of all ages would want or need, so we decided to skip favors all together.  Plus, they often cost a few hundred dollars for a large wedding, and involve a lot of packaging for each individual item.” -Natalie, Senior Director of Operations

Check out other great alternatives on our pinterest board!

Post wedding: There are a lot of ways to donate, sell, or lend various wedding décor for reuse. Several websites including:

Plus, you might earn some money back while giving these items another life rather than taking up space in a closet or garage.

Showering the Bride-to-Be, the WasteFreeSD Way!

Erika-teamToday’s blog comes from ILACSD Education Manager, Erika! With more than half of the ILACSD team either getting married or involved in a wedding this summer, it was a no-brainer to put together some eco-friendly party planning tips! Read on to learn more about how you can plan a zero waste bridal shower for the blushing bride in your life! 

Wedding season is quickly approaching. As people gear up for cocktails and bouquets, remember to ditch the disposables and choose eco-friendly alternatives. Here’s how I planned a zero waste bridal shower:

Last month, I threw my sister a bridal shower. We both live sustainably, so we tried to create a party which reflected our lifestyles. We focused on 4 aspects that most showers and for that matter, parties in general, include: invitations, decorations, food and favors.

Invitations: We decided on using evites rather than hard copies. There are many other similar online invitation options, including another staff favorite, Paperless PostIncluded were green tips:

bride to be evite

evite - bridal shower

Sending evites is great for the environment and it’s also a huge time-saver!

 

Other green options: Online invites aren’t your style? No problem! Try recycled content or seeded paper cards.

eco friendly invitation alternatives

If your heart is set on sending out hard copy invitations, check out some of these eco-friendly alternatives!

 

Decorations: We focused on decorating with items we already had, and only buying things that we would use again. We mainly used flowers and succulents in vases that we already had. For more cohesion, we bought burlap, cut them into strips to use as bows and accents. We also decorated with tons of framed pictures. With some of the pictures, I included text showing some of the grooms favorite things about the bride-to-be.

table setting - bridal shower

Use items you already have to reduce waste and save on expenses!

Food: We fixed a vegetarian brunch, which included, homemade granola, fruit from the local farmers market, and substituting mushrooms for chicken in an Asian fusion salad. Platters, plates, utensils, and napkins were all reusable.

erika - veggie brunch

Animal products account for California’s largest water use. Try some vegetarian recipes to help conserve water!

Eco tip: Animal products account for California’s largest water use. Try using meat as a side or going without!

Gifts: Guests went all out with reusable gift ideas! One gift was wrapped in a handmade blanket, one was in a basket, and others were wrapped in dish towels!

ditch the wrapping paper

No gift wrap = less waste and less cleanup!

Favors: We elected for making our own trail mix. Trail mix was bought in bulk using reusable jars and bulk bags. The mix was distributed into mason jars amounting to zero waste!

zero waste favors

There are tons of zero waste favor ideas! Find more on our Pinterest here!

Do you have other eco-friendly party planning tips? Share them in the comments below or on our social media networks: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Be on the look out this June for our blog about eco-friendly wedding tips brought to you by our brides-to-be Natalie, Sarah and Emily!

 

Green Up Your Spring Cleaning!

Amanda, ILACSD Hotline ManagerAlthough 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

Per the EPA  – “Only products that meet our Safer Choice Standard, which includes stringent human health and environmental criteria, are allowed to carry the label.”

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 oxalatesgreen cleaning alternatives

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!

Find this handy resource on wastefreesd.org!

Find this handy resource on WasteFreeSD.org!

 

Cupid’s Cleanup and other Green Valentine’s Day ideas!

SONY DSCHave you found it increasingly difficult to be creative each Valentine’s Day? Well, you’re in luck! Today’s blog comes from our Marketing Coordinator, Sarah, who has put together some great eco-friendly, Valentine’s Day-themed ideas! Read on to learn how to celebrate with the environment in mind!

Celebrate your love for the environment at Cupid’s Cleanup!

Switch up your dinner and a movie routine! We want you to join us on Sunday, February 15th for a street-sweep cleanup and Valentine’s Day-themed mixer hosted by AleSmith Brewing Company! Complimentary beer tasters will be on-hand for adult volunteers as a “thank you” for your hard work and to celebrate our love for a cleaner community. This is also a great way to connect with like-minded singles, couples or even new friends. Take Ken and Julie for example!

In 2007, Ken and Julie met for the first time at Cupid’s Cleanup…

Fast forward to 2015, they are happily married with two children, ages 2 and 4 years old! They have since moved to Oregon, and continue to protect our environment by instilling environmental values in their children who, by the way, already enjoy putting trash in its place!

Although they won’t be joining us at this year’s event, Julie shared these kind words with us…

“We have not forgotten about you (ILACSD) or where we met.”

Cupids Cleanup - Ken & Julie

For more information about how to get involved with Cupid’s Cleanup please click here or email Lexi at lambrogi@cleansd.org!

If you cannot join us for Cupid’s cleanup, here are some other festive Valentine’s Day-themed eco-tips!

Candy

Let loose, get your valentine some sweets! Instead of the cliché heart-shaped box of candies, head over to the bulk section and fill up reusable glass jars with more variety and less waste!

Fish in the sea - pinterest

Flowers

Instead of buying flowers that are going to wilt and die within a week, choose a sustainable and earth-friendly drought tolerant plant! Here are a few of our favorites:

Recon Native Plants has a variety of affordable native plants!

Recon Native Plants has a variety of affordable native plants!

 

Succulent planter available on Etsy!

Succulent planter available on Etsy!

 

If you do decide to go with a dozen roses, remember they are compostable!

Skip the card – give with purpose

Although most cards are recyclable, why not give a gift with a purpose? If you have children, this link is especially good for low waste, kid-friendly Valentine’s Day gifts!

upcycled crayons valentines

These are just a few of our ideas – share your earth-friendly Valentine’s Day ideas in the comments below!

 

 

Make the Season Bright with These Eco Holiday Tips!

Emily - Holiday HeadshotToday’s festive holiday guide comes from one of ILACSD’s Program Assistants, Emily! She has done a lot of research to bring you the best of eco-friendly holiday ideas, including everything from party planning to gift wrap! But first, let’s start off with a eco-inspired holiday poem! 

 

T’was three weeks before Christmas and all through the scene

People were wond’ring how to make Christmas green.

 

From Red Solo cups used up at a party

To the tin foil covering fudge for Uncle Marty,

 

Many holiday items end up in the trash,

Increasing the heap in our landfill stash.

 

The plastics! The glass! The tinsel! The paper!

Oh, the waste piles higher than a city skyscraper!

 

As they pondered wrapped gifts topped in bright, shiny bows,

They knew there must be a way to reduce how much is disposed.

 

When what to their wondering eyes did appear

But a helpful blog post written by eight tiny reindeer…

 

Tips for an Eco-Friendly Holiday Season

  • Fast Facts
    • Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, the average San Diegan throws away between 3 and 10 extra bags of trash.
    • Recycle these items: Aluminum pie tins, empty aerosol cans (like whipped cream), wine and cider bottles, cardboard boxes, and paper packaging can all be recycled. For any question on what can be placed in the blue curbside bin, click here.
  • Gift Wrapping
    • Recycle all non-metallic wrapping paper and any paper-based ribbon.
    • Go paperless! Wrap gifts in items like towels, t-shirts, or pillowcases.
    • Use your child’s grade school artwork to create unique wrapping paper.
    • Create gift tags from wrapping paper scraps or last year’s greeting cards.

    Eco Gift Wrap

    Check out these gifts wrapped in brown grocery bags, newsprint, and t-shirt scraps, with tags from cereal boxes! http://makezine.com/craft/upcycled_gift_wrapping/)

  • Eco-friendly Gifts
    • Give a succulent in a pot made from reused items, such as decorated yogurt cups.
    • Choose reusables! Encourage friends and families to ditch disposables and choose reusables such as shopping bags, straws, mugs – the ideas are limitless!
    • Buy nuts, berries, and chocolates in bulk and present them in reused glass jars. Arrange them in a basket, giving two gifts in one. Check out these examples on Pinterest for inspiration!
    • Non-material gifts are essentially free of packaging and create stronger memories than giving the latest gadget. Consider zoo memberships, hang gliding lessons, a painting class, or gift cards to local camp sites.
      • One of my favorite gifts I’ve received falls into this category. My friend jokingly lamented that he couldn’t buy me a beluga whale (my favorite animal), so he made a donation in my name to the National Wildlife Foundation toward the cause of the beluga whale. I was impressed with how thoughtful and creative he had been.
Pine Cone Centerpieces

By not adding paint or glitter, these pinecone centerpieces can be composted once the holiday season has passed. http://www.familyholiday.net

  • Decorations
    • Decorating with natural items, such as cranberry and popcorn strings, leaves you the option of composting them post-holidays. Be sure to check out our Pinterest for other decor ideas!
  • Party Planning
    • If you know ahead of time who’s coming, print out old photos of each guest and tape them to glasses as “identifiers.” This encourages people to use the same cup throughout the event, and it’s fun to play, “Guess Whose Bad School Portrait That Is.”

 

…As you head out to shop, to craft and create,

Rejoice in the choices now there on your plate.

 

Keep the land clean from Del Mar to Borrego

Because no gift is greater than a clean San Diego!

 

For more ideas, like and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

Other sources:

http://www.sandiego.gov/environmental-services/pdf/geninfo/news/091204HolidayTips.pdf

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/04/green-gift-guide_n_6261474.html

http://glassdharma.blogspot.com/2014/10/2014-holiday-gift-guide.html

Making reusables fun! ILACSD teams up with Kill The Cup

KTC - Drew #1It is no secret that I Love a Clean San Diego loves reusables. We provide everyday reusable tips, sell stainless steel straws at our events, and encourage volunteers to B.Y.O reusable supplies to clean ups, all in an effort to reduce waste. Now, we’re proud to partner with other organizations that are doing great environmental work! Today’s blog comes from Drew Beal, Chief Environmental Optimist at Kill the Cup — a waste reduction program that encourages consumers to bring a reusable cup when they get coffee. Kill the Cup is now turning into a nationwide environmental initiative on college campuses, and Drew is here to share some tips on making it FUN to go green!

 

Did you know that 50 billion paper cups get discarded in America each year? This creates a lot of landfill waste… but it’s not just the end of the lifecycle that matters. The manufacturing process of those 50 billion cups results in the same amount of co2 emissions as adding 1.1 million passenger vehicles to the roads. Clearly, we have a cup problem!

KTC - Selfie #2Paper cups represent just one piece of a much larger problem: consumer waste. But what incentives are in place to encourage us to change our behavior? Many coffee shops offer a 10-cent discount when you bring your own cup, but that’s not going to move the needle. And most people get tired of environmental messaging. If we’re serious about changing behavior, we have to make it FUN!

 

So that’s what we did when we created Kill the Cup — a social-media inspired game that offers prizes and rewards to coffee drinkers who share photos posing with their reusable coffee cups. We’ve implemented our waste reduction campaigns on college campuses across the country, including a few right here in our backyard: UC San Diego, University of San Diego, and Cal State San Marcos.

After learning a few things about encouraging environmentally responsible consumer behavior on college campuses, we’re confident that many of these tactics can work just as well in office or community settings. Whether you’re seeking to increase reusable behavior at your home, school, office, or community, here are 5 tips to make it FUN to go green!

 

KTC - #31) One step at a time. Establish a specific goal for your reusable campaign. It can be tempting to launch an all-encompassing “go green” initiative that targets cups, bags, bottles, and everything under the sun. But you run the risk of alienating people by asking them to do too much. Target a single reusable action, and keep the length of the campaign at about four weeks. (They say it takes about 30 days to form a new habit.)

 

2) But first… let me take a Selfie. Recent studies report that 93 million selfies are taken each and every day. How about doing something productive with that self-portrait? Sharing a photo of environmentally friendly behavior can make a difference. When you see pictures of a colleague or classmate engaged in eco-friendly behavior, you become more likely to also engage in a green activity.

 

3) Keep score. Photos are fun, and so are leaderboards. Whether people are getting rewarded for taking alternative transportation, or for bringing reusable cutlery to the office — they love getting points! Create a scoring system for your campaign, and make sure it’s easy to understand. In our recent University Challenge, for example, students received 5 points per photo, with a maximum of 1 photo per day.

 

KTC - Sales Data across 5 UCSD campus coffee shops.

Reusable rate & sales data across 5 UCSD campus coffee shops.

4) Create teams. What do people love more than getting points? Winning! Many reusable activities are viewed as actions taken by individuals. By forming teams, you can help establish social norms around the desired behavior change. Instead of “Hey Jim, bring a reusable bag to help the environment,” it becomes, “Hey Jim, bring a reusable bag to help us win the Office Challenge!” Completely different perspective.

 

5) Measure, measure, measure. Photo-sharing campaigns are a lot of fun, but let’s not lose our focus on the overall objective: waste reduction. Identify metrics that will capture the desired behavior change. At Kill the Cup, we partner with coffee shops to measure the reusable rate — the percentage of drinks served in reusable cups. When we see an increase in the reusable rate, we know the campaign is working. And when that happens, everybody wins.

Kill The CupAnd that’s it. I hope you found these tips to be helpful, and I wish you the best of luck with your reusable initiatives. It’s an uphill battle we’re fighting to encourage environmentally responsible behavior, and it’s people like you that will help us get there. Visit the ILACSD website for more information about our pollution prevention programs and feel free to contact KTC with any questions, comments, or feedback. We look forward to hearing from you!

Ditch the Disposable Lifestyle Part II: California Bag Ban

Monica headshotThis week’s blog comes from Monica, an ILACSD Environmental Educator! You may remember her last blog, Ditch the Disposable Lifestyle: Choose Reusables, where she provided us with many useful tips to help reduce our waste, including using reusable bags. Now that SB 270, also known as California Bag Ban, has been signed into law, Monica is here to share helpful tips to make reusable bags a part of your daily routine! 

 

Some Background: In late September, California Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 270, making California the first and only state in the country with a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags. While some applaud the effort, others are frustrated with it. However, unless an appeal is successful, come July 1, 2015, single-use plastic bags will no longer be available at your favorite grocery store or pharmacy.

Grocery stores will continue to carry paper bags for 10 cent each and plastic produce bags will still be available, which many people reuse to dispose of pet waste. Regardless of your position on this issue, our staff can assure you that the transition to a plastic bag free state will be easy, with a little practice.

Here are my top 6 tips to help get you in the habit well before July 2015 when the ban goes into effect. 

Bag Ban tips from Monica!

This bag is machine washable and made in the USA!

1. Hold off on buying a lot of new reusable bags.

  • Look around your house, in the closets, under the kitchen sink, under the bed. It’s likely that you already have reusable bags, or the materials to make your own!

2. I don’t have any bags. Which ones should I buy? Quality is important. You want to buy a bag that will last you a long time. Think years!

  • Materials: Cotton cloth bags are my favorite. They can hold a lot of weight and they’re machine washable. I’ve had one of my cloth bags since 2010 and still use it all the time!
  • Close the loop! Look for bags made from recycled materials.
  • Carbon footprint. American made bags would be great! You’ll be supporting American business and know that those bags traveled less to get to you and thus consumed less resources.
Director of Education, Sam, returning to the ILACSD office with her reusable bag!

Here’s Sam, our Director of Education, coming back from the store with one of our reusable bags.

3. Getting into the habit can be hard. Give it a few weeks, before you know it, you’ll never forget your bag. Here’s what helped me get into the habit:

  • Keep your bags somewhere handy & always in the same spot to save time.
  • Keep a couple in your car. Lots of us make impromptu stops to the store.
  • At ILACSD, we keep our shared reusable bags in the same spot. When one of us takes a trip to the nearby Vons or Trader Joe’s, we know exactly where to grab one.

 

4. Oh no, it happened, again! You’re about to pay for your groceries and realize you forgot your bags!

  • If I’m only buying a few things I’ll refuse the bag. “No thank you, I don’t need a bag”. I say that all the time, I don’t mind carrying a couple of items in my arms, or maybe I can fit them into my purse.
  • Take a tip from Costco, ask for a box! If they don’t have boxes, I’ll put bulky items in my cart, without a bag, transfer them to my trunk, and the whole shopping experience is bag-less. I lived in Suwon, South Korea for a year, where they banned plastic bags, and this is what a lot of people did. Try to maximize and get only the bags you need for smaller items.
Help prevent plastic pollution - choose reusables!

On a 30 minute walk with my dog at Discovery Park in Chula Vista (an adoptable canyon), I picked up 6 plastic bags!

5. Keep in mind WHY you’re doing this. For some of us, the motivation may be to save the 10 cents per paper bag, but every time we choose reusables, that means there are fewer plastic bags to pollute our watersheds and occupy the limited space in our landfills.

I know the few extra efforts I put into using my reusable bags and refusing disposable bags are worth it because I’m not contributing to pollution. When it rains, littered plastic bags flow into storm drains and eventually to the ocean. Many marine animals, like sea turtles, get entangled in the bags or eat them because they mistake them for food. Keeping this is mind motivates me to continue refusing single-use bags!

6. Have fun with it! Reusable bags give you a chance to show your personality, and can be just another accessory that allows you to make a statement. Just try not to make this statement:
 

Although for some it will take time to adopt the reusable bag habit, our small efforts are bound to make a significant, positive impact on our environment.

Bag Ban tips from Monica!

Choosing reusable bags over single-use plastic bags is an easy choice!


ILACSD Logo

Subscribe to ecoBLOGic

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

Join 8,925 other followers

Archives

Follow Us On Twitter


%d bloggers like this: