Ah, the Fourth of July in San Diego. What else screams “holiday weekend” besides the smell of sunscreen, the countless beach umbrellas, and the blur of red, white, and blue colors donned by tourists and city natives on the beach? So many people enjoy the beaches in our beautiful city. With the influx of people on our beaches, unfortunately, comes litter. Thanks to an incredible team of volunteers, it didn’t stay long.
Our shoreline is precious to us here in San Diego, so much so that Surfrider dedicated a day to restore them after the weekend holiday rush. This year marks the 8th anniversary of the Morning After Mess cleanup andI Love A Clean San Diego was more than happy to lead a site at Mission Beach Belmont Park, while CoastKeeper and Surfrider hosted three other locations in San Diego. In total, the cleanup prevented 1,138 pounds of trash and debris from making its way in the ocean after the holiday weekend!
From the 138 volunteers that participated Tuesday morning at our site, 50 lucky volunteers who arrived early received an awesome hat with the “Morning After Mess” logo. Volunteers walking throughout the beach were easy to spot with the bright red, white, and blue, fit for American pride.
Before the cleanup, Clean Beach Coalition bins, sponsored by many local organizations and vendors such as Think Blue San Diego, FreePB.org, The Local,and PB Shore Club, were placed strategically to help eliminate trash from collecting on the beach and in the bay. Some volunteers expressed their appreciation and happiness when seeing the bins filled up with trash and items that would ordinarily be left behind in the sand.
Many of the bins and trash bags were filled with items like empty food containers, used plates, and cups, and even larger items like grills, chairs, and broken boogie boards.
Volunteers kept track of the amount of waste they collected: cigarette butts, Styrofoam pieces, plastic bags, and any unusual items they found. Throughout the morning, volunteers found items like shoes, sunglasses, backpacks, clothes, and a few stranger items, like a cheese sandwich in a Ziploc bag left uneaten, metal scissors, and action figure parts.
Within just three hours , our volunteerscollected over 400 lbs. of trash, 53 plastic bags and over 3,000 cigarette butts just at Mission Beach.
Our volunteers are dedicated to keeping San Diego and our oceans clean. If you are inspired to take action in your local community, check out our upcoming events or Adopt-A-Beach program to get involved!
Today’s blog comes from our Director of Development and Marketing, Morgan, who has been working directly with the City of Encinitas to prepare shoppers for the second phase of the single-use bag ban. Read on to learn more about how I Love A Clean San Diego is working to make the this transition as seamless as possible!
Attention Encinitas Shoppers!
Starting October 10th, the second and final phase of the Encinitas single-use plastic bag ban goes into effect. That means that department stores, clothing stores, hardware stores and even farmer’s markets will no longer be offering single-use plastic bags to shoppers. In order to help ease shoppers into this new policy, I Love A Clean San Diego has partnered with the City of Encinitas to coordinate a series of bag giveaways to coincide with the Phase II implementation.
Come by the following stores and centers and get your free reusable bag to use for your next shopping trip! Remember, there are limited quantities, so act fast!
Sunday, October 4th from 11AM – 1PM:
Encinitas Ranch Town Center – between PetSmart and Barnes and Noble, 1034 N El Camino Real, Encinitas, CA 92024
Encinitas Ranch Town Center – between Buy Buy Baby and Target, 1014 N El Camino Real, Encinitas, CA 92024
Home Depot, 1001 N El Camino Real, Encinitas, CA 92024
Leucadia Farmers Market – Paul Ecke Elementary School, 185 Union Street, Encinitas, CA 92024 (from 10AM – 1PM)
Wednesday, October 7th from 4 – 6PM:
Encinitas Farmers Market – 600 S. Vulcan Ave, Encinitas 92024
Fast Facts about Plastic Bags:
It is estimated that 31.9 million single-use carryout bags are distributed in the City of Encinitas each year.
Studies have shown the prevalence of single-use carryout bags are responsible for littering the environment, blocking storm drains and polluting beaches, oceans and the marine environment.
Single-use bags made from plastic do not decompose, therefore they exist in the environment forever.
Plastic bags are a significant source of marine debris and are hazardous to marine animals, such as turtles and birds, which often confuse plastic bags as a source of food and ingest these bags, causing reduced nutrient absorption and death.
Tips to Remember Your Reusable Bags:
Set your car keys on your bag.
Keep reusable bags in the trunk of your car and put a small note on the dashboard or your shopping list to remind you to grab them. Once you unload your groceries at home, put the bags back into the trunk immediately so you’ll have them for your next trip.
Purchase a few compact reusable bags and keep them in your purse, jacket pocket, backpack, or attach them to a keychain.
Ask your children, spouse or roomate to remind you to bring your bags.
Keep bags in multiple places, like at home, in the car, and at the office.
If you still manage to forget your reusable bags, you can always put everything back into your shopping cart after you pay and unload directly from the cart into your car. Then bag the items to carry in when you get home.
Do you have questions about the bag ban? Post them in the comments below!
Today’s blog comes from our administrative assistant, Brittany! San Diego native, born and raised, Brittany it goes without saying that she loves our beaches and 4th of July. To get you jazzed for the long holiday weekend ahead, she has put together some of her favorite waste-free tips for a day at the beach!
Looking for something fun to do for the upcoming patriotic holiday? Why go anywhere else when you live in a city full of beautiful beaches! The 4th of July has always been one of my favorite holiday’s to spend at any beach in San Diego. With so many people at our beaches, there is one thing that tends to be left behind and that’s trash. This 4th of July, Clean Beach Coalition will have large trash and recycling bins located at Ocean Beach, Mission Beach, Mission Bay, and Pacific Beach to give every beachgoer a chance to continue to keep the beach sparkling clean! Last year alone, the CBC bins collected 96,860 lbs of trash and 2.8 MILLION pounds in the last 8 years. Pretty impressive, right? In order to prevent more trash from ending up on our beaches this holiday, I wanted to share some of my favorite things to pack in order to stay green while still rocking red, white, and blue!
The key to staying green is to pack up all your reusable items to prevent any trash! Here is my easy to follow step-by-step guide to a waste-free weekend!
For starters, instead of using a Styrofoam cooler, bring a more durable reusable cooler. Not only will it last you years, it prevents any Styrofoam pieces from ending up on our beaches and the Pacific Ocean where it will never biodegrade.
When packing up your goodies, try using reusable containers to transferring and reusable silverware! Here are a couple of my personal favorite snacks to bring to my Fourth of July beach festivities:
Fourth of July Rice Crispies Treats are a favorite of mine. Not only are they easy to make, but you can put them in a reusable container and be set to go! Check out the recipe here!
Fruit Kabobs! All you need are some wooden skewers, strawberries, bananas, and blueberries and you have an ecofriendly, patriotic snack!
3. Feeling thirsty? Fill up a reusable water bottle and bring it with you! Did you know American’s throw away 35 billion water bottles a year? It’s important to reduce bringing plastics to our beaches because once plastic enters the ocean, it is extremely difficult to clean up. Don’t have a reusable water bottle? Check out some of ILACSD’s reusable water bottles online!
4. Don’t have anything to pack up the rest of your goods? Use a tote bag! My favorite tote bag can be washed and reused over and over again. Do your best to not bring plastic bags to the beach, not only are they not recyclable but if blown into the ocean, marine mammals can accidentally mistake them for food.
Still not ready to end your beach time this weekend? Come show your patriotism in a new way with I Love A Clean San Diego on July 5th for the Morning After Mess Cleanup. From 8-11am we will clean up the excess trash left behind on Mission Beach from the holiday celebrations. Plus, the first 400 volunteers will receive a free tee from REI!
Whether you decide to stay in San Diego this 4th of July Weekend or travel elsewhere, please enjoy the scene, but keep it clean.Have a safe and wonderful 4th of July!
Since last fall, ILACSD has received a variety of questions about how plastic bag ban laws will impact the way we shop. For today’s blog, ILACSD’s Director of Development and Marketing, Morgan, will focus on Encinitas’s plastic bag ordinance and tackle some frequently asked questions. Read on to get the answers to your questions and learn about upcoming reusable bag giveaways!
As you may have heard, the California statewide plastic bag ban is now on hold until it can be put on the ballot for a statewide vote. While the battle rages on in the case of California vs. Big Plastic, there is also some news about a local plastic bag ban. You may have heard that back in October 2014, the Encinitas City Council voted to establish an ordinance limiting the usage of single-use plastic carry out bags at local stores. Well, the first phase of that ban is set to go into effect on April 10th. I Love A Clean San Diego is working hard to make sure that Encinitas residents and businesses are informed about the changes before they go into effect. If you live, work, or shop in Encinitas, you can turn to us to get all of your questions answered about how “Encinitas Municipal Code Section 11.26” will actually work.
Also, starting this weekend, ILACSD will conduct a series of bag giveaways at local grocery stores in the community. So keep an eye out on our Facebook and Twitter pages as we announce give-away dates, time and locations.
Here’s a rundown of some of our favorite FAQs:
Why is the City of Encinitas banning single-use plastic carryout bags? Well, plastic bags are extremely lightweight and can act like balloons blowing out of garbage trucks and landfills. These flyaway bags litter our communities, enter storm drains, and eventually end up in the ocean. Plastic is the most common type of litter found on local beaches. Marine life often become entangled in plastic bags and can mistake plastic particles for food, causing harm and sometimes death to the animals. New research suggests that this plastic is making its way up the food chain and is potentially affecting the seafood we eat.
I heard that I will have to pay 10 cents to use my own reusable bag. Is this true? NO! Customers will now have two choices at checkout: bring your own reusable bags to carry your groceries at no cost (some retailers even offer a rebate for each reusable bag you bring) OR purchase bags at checkout. You can buy reusable bags or paper bags for your groceries at a minimum cost of ten cents each. If you forget your reusable bags at home and don’t want to pay for bags, you always have the option of loading groceries back into your cart and putting them directly in your car without any bags.
What about using biodegradable bags? A “biodegradable” plastic bag is not a solution for litter issues associated with plastics. These bags can only break down under very specific conditions and do NOT break down naturally in our waterways, posing a threat to animal life. To fully degrade, these bags require heat and specific bacteria present in industrial composting facilities, and we don’t have any of those facilities in San Diego County.
I line my trash cans with plastic bags from the grocery store. Now what can I use? Trash can liners and large trash bags will still be available for purchase in stores. To cut back on waste, you can buy heavier-weight plastic bags and reuse them after emptying waste into your curbside bin. To cut out plastic bags altogether, line the bottom of your trash can with newspaper or other paper, and rinse it out periodically after use.
I use plastic grocery bags to pick up pet waste. What do I do now? There will still be many plastic bags in circulation. You can use bags from bread, produce, bulk products, or cereal, or purchase a roll of small pet waste bags. To avoid using plastic bags altogether, you can bring last week’s newspaper or a waste-scooping device on your walk and use it to pick up after your pet. Check out other solutions to pet waste disposal in our blog “Scoop the Poop: Alternatives to Plastic Bags”.
I’m worried about bacteria on reusable bags. Are they sanitary? Plastic produce bags will still be available for wrapping meat, poultry, and seafood. Consider carrying these raw meat items in a designated reusable bag each time, separate from fresh fruits and vegetables. To keep your reusable bags clean, just use common sense and everyday hygiene. Throw your cloth/fabric tote bags into the wash with your laundry load to clean them periodically. For thick plastic reusable bags, wipe them clean with a sponge dipped in warm, soapy water and allow them to air dry before storing. Find cleaning tips for your bags and other eco-friendly cleaning tips on our Pinterest board “Clean and Green”.
If you have other questions that are not listed here, please share them in the comments below!
Our Hotline Assistant Barbara Lopez breaks down plastic bag recycling.
Did you know that San Diego uses 500 million plastic bags every year? And what’s even more shocking…less than 3% of plastic bags are recycled in California. While there are lots of discussions regarding plastic bag bans and ordinances, until we can cut down on our plastic bag usage, let’s talk more about recycling them!
Some background about bans:
There has been much debate recently, both locally and at the state level, regarding plastic bag bans. At the state level, State Senator Alex Padilla is looking to reintroduce legislation that would keep grocery stores and pharmacies from providing customers with single-use plastic bags by July 1, 2015. If this legislation passes, it would make California the first state in the country to ban plastic bags. Locally, San Diego City Council is also looking to vote on a citywide single use plastic bag ordinance later this year. Supporters of such bills argue too many plastic bags end up as litter or take up space in landfills since few of them are recycled. Of the 14 billion plastic bags that Californians use per year, very few of those are actually recycled. Instead, they end up in landfills or as litter on the side of roads and on beaches! But that isn’t to say that there is no market out there for plastic bags.
The skinny on recycling plastic bags:
Many of you may already know that plastic bags do not belong in our curbside recycling. However, we are often asked why we can’t simply put plastic bags in our bins at home. The answer: recycling facilities are set up to separate rigid plastics from other recyclables- paper, aluminum cans, and glass. Current recycling machinery is just not set up to sort plastic bags and film; they would just get tangled in the equipment.
Although plastic bags cannot be placed in curbside recycling bins, they can be recycled. Many grocery stores collect plastic bags, usually placing bins near the front entrance of the store. In fact, many of these stores also take other types of plastic film, such as produce bags and plastic packaging film. Returned plastic bags are then sent to a recycling processor and are turned into different plastic products such as composite lumber, pallets, crates, and pipes.
If you need help finding a location to take your plastic bags, check out our handy recycling database, www.WasteFreeSD.org!