Posts Tagged 'plastic pollution'

Chula Vista students explore the impact of plastics

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ILACSD Education Specialist, Grace!

Today’s blog is from our Education Specialist, Grace! Grace is apart of ILACSD’s team of educators which leads thousands of students and adults each year in hands-on activities that showcase how our choices impact the environment around us. Read on for highlights from one of our favorite presentations from last year! 

First, a little background.

Plastic has been integrated into almost every facet of our daily lives, from plastic water bottles and grocery bags to polyester clothing and packaged food. It has become so incorporated into our society that often times it is hard to perform routine tasks without the use of plastic. Subsequently, a lot of  plastic makes its way into our environment, travels through our waterways, and often finds its way into the ocean. One of the most notable areas where this garbage collects is the Pacific Garbage Patch.

Various animals are impacted by plastics in the environment, through entanglement and ingestion. One animal in particular that has been severely harmed by this trash is the albatross, a seabird that frequents the Pacific Garbage Patch. Through this ingestion of plastics and other trash, many of these birds become malnourished and starve.

How can we make a difference?

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Grace engaging a group of students in a discussion about what they found during the bolus dissection.

In conjunction with our educational programs, students at High Tech High Chula Vista were given the opportunity to witness this tragedy first hand through their dissection of an albatross bolus. Much like an owl pellet, these birds naturally regurgitate indigestible items including squid beaks, and volcanic rocks that help with their digestion, all components of a typical bolus. However, as the students discovered, today’s boluses tell a different story. Students removed fishing line, bottle caps, plastic and foam bits, and polyester fibers from boluses, highlighting the level of impact that we are having on the albatross and other marine organisms. Plastic has become so ubiquitous in the environment and the lives of these albatross that of the 10 boluses the students dissected, 100% of them contained some degree of plastic fragments.

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100% of the boluses that the students dissected contained plastic.

Although many would feel discouraged by these findings, the students at High Tech High Chula Vista felt further empowered to continue their journey toward having a more positive impact on their environment. If you’re looking for simple ways to start reducing your personal plastic usage, consider refusing single-use straws, investing in reusable sandwich bags, and committing to remember your reusable grocery bags. Get started on the right foot by attending I Love A Clean San Diego’s free Zero Waste Home workshop happening this Saturday, January 9th! 

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Learn the basics of living a zero waste lifestyle at our next free workshop happening this Saturday, Jan. 9!

Also, keep an eye out for our upcoming blog about the students’ 70 Day Shake-up project and how they integrated creative environmentally friendly habits into their everyday lives!

 

 

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Brittany’s litter-free beach day guide

Brittany FischerToday’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!

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Keep an eye out for our huge trash and recycling bins. They’ll be hard to miss so be sure to put them to good use!

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!

  1. 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.

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    Plastic pieces are easily mistaken for food by marine animals causing serious health issues. Here are pieces mixed in with sea kelp recently found at a cleanup.

  2. 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!

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Fruit kabobs are the perfect plastic-free treat! Although the skewers will eventually go in the trash, wood will naturally biodegrade with time, unlike plastic.

 

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!

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Brittany always carries her reusable water bottle wherever she goes whether it’s the beach, a park or work. Check out our merchandise to get you own ILACSD gear to sport around town!

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!

 

 

 

Add “Refill” to your Reduce, Reuse, Recycle mantra!

Blue Dot Logo Grey BckrndToday’s blog comes from our friends at Blue Dot Refill, Deidre and Beth! Blue Dot Refill is a local, environmentally-conscious refill business that strives to prevent plastic pollution – certainly a mission we can’t help but support! Read on to learn more about the impacts of plastic and how this “refillutionary” idea came to be. 

 

“Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”…we hear and see it repeatedly.  We all know about, and are presumably committed to, recycling.  You just put it in a recycle bin and it goes away, right? Sounds pretty simple, but actually it’s more complicated that just tossing it the blue bin and walking away.

Over 4,000 bottles & containers saved from our landfills, waterways & oceans!

Over 4,000 bottles & containers saved from our landfills, waterways & oceans!

According to the EPA, plastics make up more than 12 percent of all municipal solid waste streams.  And even though much of it’s being put in a recycling bin, only about 8 percent of it actually gets recycled. Why only 8 percent? Unlike the glass and metal industries which can keep recycling glass and metals numerous times, plastics are typically only recycled once, turned into only one other product which generally can not be recycled again and must then be landfilled at the end of its life.  That’s the reason recycling plastic is no longer enough if we want to clean up our planet, its rivers, its oceans. There simply is no “away” with plastic, even after it get recycled that one time, it then exists somewhere out there for hundreds, maybe even thousands of years polluting our ecosystem as it breaks into smaller and smaller pieces.

Blue Dot Refill is serious about reuse.  You can read more and get reuse ideas on our blog!

“Reuse Rock Star” Brian Blum from Permyoble Oasis carting off our empty containers, along with his repurposing wizardry. You can read more about how our product containers are reused on our blog!

So now it makes sense to add “Refill” to the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle creed.  Many of us have gotten into the habit of (or trying to be better at!) bringing our own reusable bags to the store when we shop.  How cool would it be if we could also bring out own bottles and reuse them, too?  Lots of us already have a bathroom hand soap pump that we refill, but what if you could refill your shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, body wash & lotion containers as well?  And that’s just the plastic bottles in your bathroom.  If you could refill all the plastic bottles in use in your laundry room, kitchen, and cleaning closet (laundry detergent, dish soap, various household cleaning products)…that’d be a lot of plastic bottles you could save from the waste stream!  If you haven’t heard, San Diego has it’s own Eco-Soap refill shop where you can refill all these items and more:  Blue Dot Refill in Ocean Beach.

If saving the plastic from polluting the Planet isn’t incentive enough, how about saving a little money?  Every time you buy a product packaged in plastic, you’re also paying for the bottle. You save money by refilling your own container. How much depends on the specific product, but it is generally from 10-40% over retail.

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A popular use for Blue Dot Refill’s 55 gallon drums are rain barrels. Yes, free rain barrels!

Blue Dot Refill may be San Diego’s first refill store, but it’s not the first of its kind. Refill stores have been popping up in Oregon, the Bay Area and Northern California since 2009. Blue Dot Refill’s founder, Deidre Prozinski, had an “Eureka” moment when she accidentally ran into such a store called S.O.A.P. in Placerville, CA.  S.O.A.P. stands for Save Our Ailing Planet. Inspired by the idea that if a small town in the Sierras could support a refill concept store, that San Diegans surely could, Deidre, embarked on the journey to establish Blue Dot Refill as Southern California’s first soap refill store.   The “Blue Dot” in Blue Dot Refill was further inspired by a NASA photo taken of the Earth by the Voyager 1 spacecraft in 1990.   A few years later astronomer Carl Sagan shares his interpretation of the meaning of the photograph in his book, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space:

“From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us.”

And that’s Blue Dot Refill. Like any small business, it’s a lot of work but also a labor of love.  We’ve received a lot of community support and even a couple of awards!  San Diego Magazine honored us with a 2014 “Best Of” Award in the Shopping category as Best Planet-Friendly Outpost.”  Blue Dot Refill was one of only thirteen shops selected.   We were also honored with a “Customer Service Business of the Year Award” from the Ocean Beach Mainstreet Association.  And we’re just getting started, with over 4,206 bottles saved and counting!

Blue Dot Refill carries a variety of products including laundry detergent, household cleaners, shampoo, face wash – you name it! Check out their extensive list of products and start refilling today!

The Totals are In! 2013 By The Numbers…

Today’s post comes from I Love A Clean San Diego’s Director of Development & Marketing, Morgan Justice-Black, who thinks that annual program totals are pretty much the cats pajamas!HPIM1703_cropped

As someone who spends most of my days fundraising, there is no more exciting time of the year than the end of the year. Seeing those last few donations come in before the new year rolls around and crossing my fingers that we meet our projected revenue goals has become an annual tradition for me. But I also love the end of the year for another reason…the opportunity to compile our program totals for the year!

My coworkers run their programs pretty much up until the last week of the year. This year, we had two cleanups in December, as well as education presentations in schools through December 19th! Shout out to Mission Estancia Elementary in Carlsbad for being our last presentations of 2013! Naturally, the holiday “break” was spent doing some serious math, adding up the total number of volunteers we mobilized, the number of education sessions that we hosted, and much more.

Well, I’m happy to report that the results are in! And once again, I’m in awe of how much an organization of just 12 staff can get done!

COMMUNITY EVENTS:

30,510 volunteers

440,953 pounds of debris collected

79,689 cigarette butts

5,334 straws

and a whole lot more!

EDUCATION:

28,220 youth educated

600 environmental education presentations

RECYCLING:

15,555 requests for recycling information

1 brand new repair database, www.RepairSD.org

All in all, 2013 was a great year for I Love A Clean San Diego. But I’m confident that 2014 will be even better. Why? Because we are turning 60! Not me personally of course, but I Love A Clean San Diego! Since 1954, we’ve been working to prevent pollution in San Diego County, giving us a BIG reason to celebrate! So stay tuned for how we are going to make 2014 a year to remember. Oh, and if you didn’t get your donation in before the end of the year, our mailbox is always open 😉

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