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

Did you resolve to volunteer in 2015? Join us for our 1st cleanup of the year!

Lexi, Community Events CoordinatorToday’s blog comes from our Community Events Coordinator, Lexi! If you have volunteered at one of our cleanups there is a good chance you’ve listened in on one of her safety talks and witnessed her passion for the environment first-hand. Read on to learn more about why you should join her this Saturday, January 17th for one of our most unique cleanups of the year!

Looking to put a spin on your next beach cleanup? Help us comb through the sand at Torrey Pines State Beach on Saturday, January 17! This is the first of our 2015 Tsunami Sweepers Cleanups, a series of volunteer events with a goal of tracking debris from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that struck the eastern coast of Japan.

When the tsunami waves hit coastal Japan in March of 2011, an estimated 5 million tons of debris washed out into the Pacific Ocean. Of the 5 million tons, the Japanese Government has approximated that 30 percent of it—1.5 million tons—was buoyant enough to travel out into the ocean via wind and water currents.

Over the next several years, Californians should expect to see an increased volume of debris washing ashore—and some of it has traveled very, very far to get here. Thankfully, NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) anticipates no elevated level of radiation in any of these items that may have originated near the nuclear power plant in Fukushima.

Bits of polystyrene foam, commonly referred to as styrofoam.
Bits of polystyrene foam (commonly referred to as Styrofoam) never fully degrade and easily mix in with rocks and sand. This is harmful to marine life as they often mistake it for food.

Thanks to the California Coastal Commission, we will be providing volunteers with data cards at these cleanups so that they can search for and track possible debris from this disaster. What will this debris look like? Some expected items include construction debris like lumber or building materials, consumer debris with Japanese characters or text, fishing gear, and polystyrene foam (Styrofoam).

Think it’s easy to identify these items and trace them back to Japan? It may be more difficult than it sounds. Even if our volunteers find large volumes of polystyrene foam debris, it can be challenging—and maybe even impossible—to be able to track it back to Japan. After all, our volunteers find polystyrene foam litter at many of our other cleanups, too.

But we purposefully selected Torrey Pines State Beach as the location for this event. NOAA has estimated that any tsunami debris that does wash up this far south down the coast will hit Torrey Pines, based on water and wind current patterns.

IMG_0493The California Coastal Commission funded a round of these cleanups in 2013, and more than 5,400 volunteers hit beaches up and down the coast to hunt for tsunami debris. While it has been challenging to confirm that any of the items found originated in Japan, many suspicious items have been found, including building materials and lumber with joinery more common to Japan than to US construction.

Volunteers are still needed for this event. To get involved, contact Lexi Ambrogi at or 619-704-2778. Hope to see you there!

I Love A Clean (and Beautiful) Chula Vista!

We think all of our cleanups are important and fantastic, but one stands out as a bit unique: Beautify Chula Vista Day, this October 12.  Beautify Chula Vista Day is significant in many respects. It is a chance for the Chula Vista community to actively participate in enhancing the environment in which they live. Urban litter is not only an eye sore, it also contributes to environmental damage. By properly disposing of trash, waste is prevented from polluting waterways which harm plants, animals, and humans. Reporting and removing graffiti gives the urban landscape a fresh, newly painted start free from vandalism.  Volunteers will be removing litter, graffiti, and invasive plants in Rice Canyon at Discovery Park, or can remove litter and graffiti from the surrounding neighborhood at Otay Recreation Center.


Beautify Chula Vista Day is a dynamic community cleanup event organized by I Love A Clean San Diego and the City of Chula Vista, and made strong by thousands of enthusiastic volunteers.   We are proud to partner with the City of Chula Vista and show the power of joining forces! Now celebrating its 11th year, this event has made an extensive impact on the City of Chula Vista as a whole, having reached 11 areas with plans to continue on its path to make a difference for many years to come. In the last seven years, thousands of dedicated residents have painted out 4,133 square feet of graffiti, planted 117 trees, and removed nearly 19,000 pounds of debris littering neighborhoods in Chula Vista, showing that huge results can come from volunteers that donate just one morning a year toward helping their community.

Removing grafitti goes a long way towards renewing park space
Removing grafitti goes a long way towards renewing park space

Volunteers who take part in this special event lead by example, and can be proud that they have personally contributed to a beautiful and clean Chula Vista. This rewarding experience is designed to instill community pride and environmental stewardship. Last but not least, it is also fun!


An item found at last year’s BCVD. We don’t like to ‘toot our own horn’, but this is a pretty amazing cleanup

Labor Day Weekend Rounds out Clean Beach Coalition Summer Campaign!

The San Diego Clean Beach Coalition, a project of I Love A Clean San Diego,, and the City of San Diego Parks & Recreation Department has been busy this summer working to keep our most popular beaches free of trash!

Remember when this used to be a common sight on local beaches?
Remember when this used to be a common sight on local beaches?

The Coalition’s efforts have results in the placement of more than 200 temporary trash and recycling bins, which were purchased to handle the influx of trash and recyclables that accompany the large crowds over summer holiday weekends.  This much needed infrastructure prevents litter, overflowing trash cans, and lack of recycling opportunities available at local beaches.

This year, thanks to our generous sponsors, we were able to expand the program into a third holiday weekend, and placed the bins at Ocean Beach, Mission Beach, Mission Bay, and Pacific Beach over Memorial Day weekend.  These bins were placed conveniently on the sand, giving thousands of beachgoers the opportunity to make the responsible choice when disposing of trash at the beach.  A total of more than 23,000 pounds of trash and 2,000 pounds of recycling were properly disposed of in these bins over Memorial Day weekend, as well as an additional 250,920 pounds over Fourth of July weekend.

Look for these bins on local beaches over Labor Day weekend!

The last hurrah of the 2013 summer season is Labor Day weekend, and the Clean Beach Coalition is poised to finish the summer on a high note. I Love A Clean San Diego, and the City of San Diego Parks & Recreation Department will again disseminate more than 50 trash and recycle bins along the beach. Large pollution prevention banners will also be placed at main lifeguard stations as well as sponsoring restaurants & bars in Pacific Beach.

In addition to infrastructure, the Clean Beach Coalition aimed to prevent litter by creating and disseminating educational messaging reminding San Diegans about litter prevention techniques to incorporate into their weekend and their daily lives. These efforts prevented tons of trash from polluting our beaches and threatening ocean health, but also helped to educate thousands of beachgoers!

The Clean Beach Coalition reminds you to enjoy the scene, but keep it clean. Dispose of all trash and recycling in the temporary receptacles on the sand!

These signs will provide a helpful reminder to beachgoers this Labor Day weekend!
These signs will provide a helpful reminder to beachgoers this Labor Day weekend!