Posts Tagged 'environment'

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.

Meet Katie & Alaine – Our New Education Specialists!

Meet Katie & Alaine – Our New Education Specialists!

Hi, everyone! My name is Alaine, and I’m one of the newest Education Specialist at I Love A Clean San Diego!alaine1

I received my degree in Marine Science with a minor in Political Science from the University of San Diego and, within a year of graduating, found that marine and environmental education was the route for me. I quickly realized the joy and fulfillment of inspiring others to learn about their environment and be mindful of the power of their decisions. After working with the education teams at Disney Animal Programs and the San Diego Zoo, I wanted to gain experience in the non-profit world and, as an action-driven organization that shares my values, I knew I Love A Clean San Diego would be a great fit! Since joining ILACSD in mid-March, I have learned so much about everything that goes into creating and implementing successful presentations, programs, and events that help to fulfill our mission of actively conserving the environment.alaine2

Rooted in my work is an underlying passion to understand and spread awareness about our reliance on and connection with our oceans. My love for the ocean began pretty early in my life and has always served as a constant theme in my career. This passion was catapulted in 7th grade when I visited family in Baja California Sur and went diving with whale sharks. Observing and sharing an environment with these giant, incredible animals had an immensely profound impact on me. Even now, more than a decade later, I consider that to be one of the most defining moments of my career and life. My hope as an educator is to ignite that same spark in the students I interact with on a daily basis.alaine3

My favorite part about working with I Love A Clean San Diego is the opportunity to connect San Diegans, particularly youth and Spanish speakers, with the beautiful natural environment we are fortunate enough to live amongst. It is so rewarding to see the burst of interest students have when they are connected with nature, introduced to new topics, or realize that small changes they make can have a huge combined impact. ILACSD truly is passion in action, and I get to see that come to life every day. I cannot wait to be a part of the various events we have coming up this year and continue to empower individuals to improve the health and beauty of our San Diego!alaine4


 

Hi there, my name is Katie and I am one of the newest educators here at I Love A Clean San Diego.katie1

I am excited to work with ILACSD to help educate and inspire San Diego County in taking steps to being the most environmentally engaged community we have been to date. My love for the natural environment has been constantly reinforced by a variety of factors in my life; hailing from a small farm town and exploring the natural world in my backyard, from backpacking and camping in National Parks, to relocating near the rhythm of the ocean, I truly feel how grounding and important nature is to the human psyche.katie2

While obtaining my bachelor’s degree at USD, I completed two senior internships, one at the Museum of Man in Balboa Park and one with a local environmental nonprofit. In tandem with my schooling, both internships gave me increasingly important professional skills that began to open my mind to what career avenue I wanted to take. With that clarity, I found my passion at the intersection of people and the environment. I am a lover of culture and humanity, but recognize the environmental uncertainty we face on this beautiful planet we call home. So I’ve pursued a career in environmental education.

One environmental topic I am particularly passionate about is zero waste – a philosophy that mimics natural cycles in eliminating waste by recapturing resources. I firmly believe in being a conscious consumer and understanding how products are created, packaged, and processed from start to finish. Treading lightly has always been a goal of mine by refusing single-use items, purchasing less packaged foods (I’m currently snacking on trail mix from the bulk section housed in an old glass PB jar!), taking the time to understand how to properly dispose of items, and simply slowing down.

My passion for adopting a zero waste lifestyle stems from a job I held in college as an ocean kayak guide in La Jolla. Spending my days in the “office,” I began to see how much pollution and plastic is floating out there. Our own backyard, in beautiful Southern California where the world-renowned Scripps Research Institute is located, where a Marine Protected Area is designated, where we choose to relax and swim, is spoiled by us. I once heard a sobering comment about humanity and our existence; the speaker said, “Imagine someone drilling a sediment core sample to look at the historical layers of the earth’s soil, our defining layer will undoubtedly be plastic.”katie3

I have a long way to go when it comes to adopting a true zero waste lifestyle, but every step counts. Every choice is momentum forward, and I invite you to join me, join I Love A Clean San Diego, and join your community. Let’s rally together for the health of the planet and all the amazing creatures we share with it.

Join Katie and the rest of the ILACSD staff in our efforts to foster a zero waste lifestyle 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.

Introducing Grace! Educator & Ocean Aficionado


We’re excited to welcome Grace as our newest educator!  Get to know Grace and what fuels her passion for the environment by reading our brief Q&A.

What brought you to ILACSD?

GraceBlogPic1

When Grace isn’t in the office or the classroom, you’ll find her scuba diving, stand up paddle boarding and all around enjoying the ocean that she cares so passionately about.

I was very excited to begin working at ILACSD as an Environmental Educator because it allows me to combine my interests in Marine Biology and the ocean with my passion for teaching and conservation. From a young age, I was always inspired by the ocean and could spend hours looking at sea stars in the tide pools. However, it wasn’t until my college internships with Heal the Bay that I realized it was something I wanted to help protect.

During my very first Coastal Cleanup Day I was given the unique opportunity to do an underwater SCUBA diving cleanup under the Santa Monica Pier. We pulled out cell phones, cameras, bike tires, fishing line, and beach toys, just to name a few. Not only did we find trash, but we also found animals, including crabs and sea hares, living among the trash. Seeing how these animals’ lives had become so impacted with this trash was the moment that I knew I wanted to help make a difference. And by working for ILACSD, I get to make that difference by inspiring environmental stewardship in students throughout the county.

GraceBlogPic3

Ocean acidification, caused by excess CO2 being absorbed into the ocean, makes it difficult for corals and oysters to make their shells.

What environmental topics are you most passionate about?

If it wasn’t already obvious, I’m extremely passionate about anything that has to do with the ocean. As an avid scuba diver, and someone who loves experiencing nature. One topic that is close to my heart is ocean acidification. Ocean acidification makes it exceptionally difficult for calcifying organisms (corals, krill, oysters, etc.) to make their shells. It is caused from excess CO2 in the atmosphere being absorbed into the ocean. By teaching students about how we contribute to environmental issues, it gives them the power to make positive changes that lessen their impact on our ecosystems.

What is your most recent environmental goal?

Even during my short time working at ILACSD, I have learned so much about trash. I recently learned $1 of every $10 spent goes towards packaging that is thrown away. My most recent goal has been to buy food with less packaging. This means buying different food items, going to different stores, and making sure fruits and veggies are a big part of my everyday diet.

What do you enjoy most about being an environmental educator?

SONY DSC

Grace engaging students in a discussion about how litter impacts marine animals. The jar she is holding includes bottle caps, a lighter and other debris that was found in an albatross’s stomach.

I thoroughly enjoy interacting with the students that I am teaching! It is fun to experience their personalities as I present and discuss important issues with them. By helping them to see another perspective on the world, they can have a better appreciation for nature, which inspires them to protect it.

Do you have a favorite presentation?

One of my favorite presentations is our Enviroscape presentation, which uses a model of city along with sprinkles to represent different types of pollution. It really allows the students to visualize how pollution can make its way to the ocean and impact the animals that live there. Typically we do this presentation with 3rd graders, which is a really fun age because they are all extremely excited to share their ideas and own experiences.

I also really enjoy presenting our watershed program to AP Environmental Science classes because it allows me to use my background in science to incorporate higher level topics such as ocean acidification and eutrophication.

For more information about our presentations, email our Educator Manager at education@cleansd.org!

Join Grace & the rest of ILACSD team in our efforts to keep San Diego, and the Pacific Ocean, clean and beautiful. Our next cleanup is on December 5th at Black Mountain Ranch – click here to learn more!

Also, if you’re interested in joining the ILACSD team, check out our open positions and internship opportunities

 

ILACSD Internships: More than copies and coffee

Brittany HuthHi there! My name is Brittany and this summer, I was a Community Programs Intern at I Love A Clean San Diego. I recently graduated from San Diego State University in December with a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration. In my free time I enjoy exploring and taking pictures of scenic locations in San Diego, as well as watching my favorite sports teams – Go Padres! As a San Diego native, I grew up around the water, doing everything from surfing, wakeboarding, skiing, kayaking, and sailing.  I love being outdoors, and that’s why I have a huge passion for the environment!

In my undergraduate studies, I took a class that focused on contemporary urban issues. In this course, we focused on the best methods of sustainable living, and learned about environmental hazards. The topic that concerned me the most was the abundance of plastic bags found in our oceans harming and killing our marine life. This is one of reasons why I applied for an internship with I Love A Clean San Diego.

albatross

Marine life often mistake small pieces of plastics and plastic bags for food which leads to starvation. In this picture, the content of the albatross’s stomach includes bottle caps, and a lighter.

The Community Outreach Intern position sparked my interest because I wanted to expand my knowledge on environmental issues, as well as provide me with the opportunity to give back to the San Diego region. As an intern, I performed a variety of tasks both in-office and out in the community at our events. In the office, I typically focused on outreach to colleges to get students involved, tracked data from cleanup events, organized supplies for events, and coordinated my internship project. At the ILACSD cleanup events, I provided volunteers with supplies as well as informed them about upcoming events and other programs ILACSD offers.

STEM15 (42)

The ILACSD recycling board is a great way to test your knowledge and learn about the newest recyclable items.

To wrap up my internship experience, I organized a beach cleanup at Whispering Sands Beach in La Jolla. I was accompanied by my close family and friends, who were more than happy to participate! This provided me the opportunity to share with them everything that I learned during my time as an ILACSD intern including information about proper recycling and waste disposal, and ILACSD’s Adopt a Beach Program. In the two-hour cleanup we collected more than 15 pounds of trash and over 400 cigarette butts. To conclude my project I create a short video clip of the beach cleanup!

My experience with ILACSD has been nothing short of positive! Since I started interning with ILACSD, I have challenged myself to become more environmentally aware of my living habits and to try to make better choices.  Some of the changes I have made include using reusable bags for grocery shopping, recycling more, conserving water by using buckets in the shower, and properly disposing of hazardous materials. I am excited for the change this organization is making in the community and I’m forever grateful for being a part of it! Thank you, I Love A Clean San Diego!

If you’re interested in learning more about environmental issues impacting our local environment please consider applying for one of ILACSD’s internship opportunities. Applications are being accepted now with the intention of the internship starting this Fall. More information is available at http://cleansd.org/v_internships.php.

The ILACSD team  at one of our annual countywide cleanups, Creek to Bay!

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.

picture 2

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.

picture 4 picture 5

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.

picture 6

 

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.

picture 7

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!

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

Did volunteers find love at Cupid’s Cleanup?

LexiToday’s post comes from ILACSD’s Community Events Coordinator, Lexi Ambrogi!

This past weekend, ILACSD hosted an event—my personal favorite—called Cupid’s Cleanup. The grand totals are pretty impressive: 231 volunteers joined us on the lawn outside of the PB Taylor Library to do a street-sweep cleanup of Pacific Beach’s streets and alleyways—an often neglected part of this coastal community—and removed nearly 500 lbs of debris (359 lbs trash, 128 lbs recyclables) in under 2 hours.

SONY DSCVolunteers were briefed on the importance of removing trash from our communities before it reaches the ocean and becomes a serious threat to the health of our marine ecosystems. They learned how trash can travel for miles through our storm drain system and be mistaken for food by sea creatures; armed with this knowledge, they took to the streets to fill up their trash bags.

SONY DSCAs this is our take on a “singles mingle” event, we decided to have a little fun with our volunteers: everyone wrote his or her name on a nametag either in green (single and ready to mingle!) or red (already spoken for). We can’t say for sure if sparks were flying between our volunteers, but it wouldn’t be the first time—two volunteers met at this cleanup in 2007 and eventually got married!

Our staff was taken aback by the overwhelming support and gratitude we received from people in the neighborhood. We had several walk-up volunteers who saw us on the lawn and decided to join us, and lots of people were asking how they could get involved with our future events (my answer: email me!)

SONY DSCAfter the cleanup, many volunteers walked over to Typhoon Saloon to join us for an after-party, where volunteers could win prizes for guessing our trash totals for the day. You can see photos from the event in our Facebook album.

Looks like fun, right? We’re jam-packing our 2013 schedule with cleanup events, so check back often to see where we’ll be next!

Enjoy the Scene, But Keep It Clean!

Last year’s CBC trash bin.

I Love A Clean San Diego and other local nonprofits are at it again, hoping to make this summer the cleanest on record at some of our most popular beach destinations. As hundreds of thousands of people look to descend on local beaches this summer, I Love A Clean San Diego, FreePB,org, and Surfrider Foundation are working hard to make sure the beaches don’t bear the brunt of what thousands of people leave behind…trash! As part of the Clean Beach Coalition, our organizations work together to remind our community to be aware of the amount of trash they make, and also place temporary trash and recycling bins at the most popular beaches during popular holidays like the 4th of July.

Even with the added trash and recycling bins, inevitably some trash still ends up on the sand. If you’re sick of your favorite beach getting trashed, you can do something about it by volunteering at the Morning After Mess, scheduled for Thursday, July 5th at 9am! ILACSD will be hosting our cleanup site at Belmont Park in Mission Beach. Contact Jemma De Leon at jdeleon@cleansd.org or 619-704-2778 if you are interest in participating or have any event questions.

Our thanks go out to the sponsors who helped make this year’s campaign a reality!

Think Blue – City of San Diego Stormwater & Transporation Department
Pacific Beach Shore Club
Lahaina’s
Keep California Beautiful
Car2go
Vavi
ClifBar
BarWest
Paradise Point Resort & Spa.

Visit CleanBeachCoalition.org to learn more!

Stopping Cigarette Litter, One Butt at a Time

Today’s post comes from ILACSD’s Director of Development and Marketing, Morgan Justice-Black!

A few years ago, I Love A Clean San Diego heard about a program being launched by our national affiliate, Keep America Beautiful. The Cigarette Litter Prevention Program, although in its infancy, seemed like a great addition to our program arsenal. Anyone who has participated in one of our cleanups knows that cigarette butts are far and away the most common item picked up. It’s a painstaking process, bending over and picking them up one by one. While removing cigarette litter is good, preventing it is even better. So that’s what we set out to do.

In collaboration with the San Diego Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, we are implementing three new CLPP programs this summer. The areas targeted for ash can installation include: Oceanside, North Park, and La Mesa. Prior to placing the ash cans, our volunteers do litter scans to find the areas that have the most cigarette litter. Then, ash cans are installed, and the cigarette litter collection begins. Typically, after about a month, volunteers will do a post installation litter scan to see how many butts still make it onto the ground. One lucky volunteer has the dubious task of counting each cigarette butt in all the ash cans to see how many are collected during the first few months. In some cases, we’ve been able to collect upwards of 2,500 butts in a single month!

We are excited to expand this already successful program. The three new areas we are reaching join Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, La Jolla and Point Loma where ash cans were installed in previous years. We estimate these ashcans have prevented over 30,000 cigarette butts from littering our local environment each year.

Kevin, winner of our Creek to Bay Volunteers in Action Photo Contest, shows just a handful of the butts picked up at one cleanup location.


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