The Right Way to Recycle: Hard Drives and their Confidential Contents

As many of us at ILACSD know, one of the biggest barriers to getting folks to recycle is a lack of education on what is recyclable and how easy it can be! With seemingly constant changes to the items that can or cannot go into a blue bin, residents are often left feeling a little confused. Today, let’s take a moment to talk about the right way to deal with an electronic waste item that might cause some confusion: hard drives!

Inside every computer is a hard drive containing important, often sensitive information.

As many individuals and businesses understand, hard drives house loads of confidential and sensitive information. While it is very important to recycle or donate our e-waste items like computers, it can be frightening to think of our important, private information ending up in the wrong hands. Luckily, there is an option to help you responsibly recycle your e-waste items and securely destroy your data all at once: hard drive shredding!

Our friends over at Universal Waste Disposal Company offer this data destruction service through their Black Belt Data Destruction program. Black Belt Data Destruction is a mail-in hard drive shredding service developed specifically for small businesses, large corporations, government entities, AND everyday consumers. They offer various pricing options for this recycling service dependent on your personal needs and even offer bulk discounts.

Hard drive shredding destroys your confidential information and allows the scrap metal to be recycled!


How It Works:

When you purchase a Black Belt Data Destruction Kit, your old hard drive can be mailed-in using the provided tamper-proof sealed envelope. Once discretely packaged hard drives arrive, they are destroyed using state-of-the-art shredding technology to cut hard drives into tiny pieces recognized only as scrap metal and circuit board.

To ensure your sensitive data is properly destroyed, each kit comes standard with Certificate of Destruction and an encrypted video recording detailing the process from start to finish. With the Premium HDD Kit, you can even join a private live feed at the time of your choosing to watch as it takes place. The entire process lasts 2-3 minutes.

A Safe and Sustainable Solution

Whether you’re an individual or you run the IT department at a business, it is natural to want a sense of security when it comes to our confidential information. Hard drive shredding services like Black Belt Data Destruction can offer that peace of mind. On top of that, by utilizing this service, scrap metal is able to be recovered and recycled to help cut down on the demand for virgin materials. With the high demand and production of electronics, we are constantly seeing innovative ways to reuse, reduce, and recycle our e-waste. With hard drive shredding, we can responsibly recycle e-waste with confidence that our privacy is being protected!


Coastal Cleanup Day Site Highlight: Volunteers Needed Here!

Can you believe it’s already September? In the ILACSD office, that means we’re in full swing for Coastal Cleanup Day! It seems unreal that it is less than two weeks away. As we amp up for this huge day of action for our environment, we wanted to take some time to show some love to our cleanup sites that are still in need of more volunteers! Volunteers are encouraged to register at a cleanup site in need today at!

Stop inland trash and debris from making it out to the beach this Coastal Cleanup Day!

While the beach locations are a big hit for Coastal Cleanup Day, it is still vitally important to spread out our efforts throughout the county. San Diego County has 11 different watersheds that carry debris out to the coast and ocean. This year, we want to encourage volunteers to explore a newer area also! Stop debris from even reaching the beach where it is more likely to end up in the ocean and affect the wildlife.

With over 100 cleanup and beautification sites throughout San Diego County, Coastal Cleanup Day offers this unique opportunity to explore new areas in your own town! Volunteers can find a new area for hiking or a neighborhood park they never knew about before. Check out some of the sites listed below to find a new site you’d be interested in volunteering at on Coastal Cleanup Day. Who knows, maybe you’ll find your new favorite hidden gem in San Diego!

Click any of the sites listed below to take you directly to the registration page for that location. If you have any questions about these sites or Coastal Cleanup Day in general, feel free to reach out to our Community Programs Coordinator, Michelle Freeman.


North County:

Fallbrook – Live Oak Park

Central San Diego:

Alpine Creek before volunteers cleaned it up last year on Coastal Cleanup Day.

Mission Hills Neighborhood Cleanup

Chollas Creek – Chollas Pkwy at Boyce

City Heights – Auburn Creek

City Heights – Cooper Canyon

Hillcrest – South Marston Canyon

Emerald Hills – Emerald Hills Park

Volunteers in the swing of it on last year’s Coastal Cleanup Day at Cooper Canyon!

East County:

Lemon Grove Park

Lemon Grove – Chollas Creek

Encanto Park

Alpine Creek

El Cajon – Fresh Farm

Last year, Howard Lane Park got an upgrade with new paint! Keep the park in tip top shape at Coastal Cleanup Day this year!

South County:

Chula Vista – Sweetwater River

Otay Valley Regional Park – Saturn Staging Area

Tijuana River Valley – Smuggler’s Gulch

San Ysidro – Howard Lane Park

Otay Mesa – Dennery Canyon

San Ysidro – San Ysidro Blvd

Give Smuggler’s Gulch some much-needed love this Coastal Cleanup Day!

4 Easy Steps to a Healthier Ocean

Happy World Ocean’s Day! Today we celebrate the ocean for the joy it brings us, the food it provides us, and the oxygen it supplies us. The mysterious and vast ocean with its other-worldly creatures captivates young and old alike. From nudibranchs and sea hares to sharks and rays, the ocean holds amazingly unique creatures. Unfortunately, many are threatened by human actions that negatively impact their habitats. Therefore, today must also be a call to action to protect these organisms and preserve our ocean!

Ocean acidification threatens ocean ecosystems that include oysters, reefs, and the foundation of several food chains, plankton.

Ocean acidification is one way in which humans are driving drastic changes in the ocean. Ocean acidification is the alteration of ocean chemistry as a result of increased carbon absorption, which is a direct effect of increased carbon emissions. One serious consequence of ocean acidification is that it becomes very difficult for certain organisms, such as corals, oysters, and even plankton, to both build and maintain the calcium carbonate structure that they depend upon, such as shells and reefs. This can negatively impact the organism itself, as well as entire ocean ecosystems.

coral and sea urchins
Coral and sea urchins are also affected by ocean acidification.

Thankfully, we can control how much carbon we each emit into the atmosphere. Follow these four easy steps to reduce your carbon emissions.

Travel by foot, bike or trolley more often to reduce your carbon footprint!

riding bike
Environmental Education Specialist, Grace enjoying one of San Diego’s many bike trails.
  1. Spend less time in your car. This could mean riding your bike, walking, taking public transportation, or carpooling. The average car produces about 19.6 pounds of carbon dioxide per gallon. Reducing your need to fuel up helps to lessen your impact on the environment and your wallet all at once.
  2. Lower your electricity bill. This doesn’t just mean turning off lights, but can include simple and easy practices such as unplugging appliances when they aren’t in use, utilizing energy saving light bulbs, and enabling the sleep function on your computer.
  3. Buy local. Products have less distance to travel when you choose to buy locally made and grown products, reducing the amount of energy used to transport the goods.
  4. Practice the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Go even one step further and purchase items made out of recycled material. Less energy will go towards manufacturing new products and finding natural resources to make them. Don’t know where to recycle something? Check out

Looking for more tips? Come to our Zero Waste Summit this Saturday, June 11th in Encinitas to build your zero waste toolkit with great giveaways! The whole family is welcome to come out, tour our interactive booths, and hear from a panel of zero waste experts. With your effort, we can keep our oceans healthy and accessible well into the future. Enjoy World Ocean Day!

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ILACSD, Solana Center and Jimbo’s will all have interactive booths this Saturday!

Hundreds attend kickoff event at Dixon Lake

Here at I Love A Clean San Diego, we like to make it as easy as possible for people to volunteer with us. That’s why we love our Adopt-A-Beach and Adopt-A-Canyon programs—people can schedule beach or canyon cleanups any day of the year, and we provide all of the cleanup supplies for free.

Thanks to a grant from the Escondido Charitable Foundation, we are now able to bring this program to two sites in Escondido—Dixon Lake and Kit Carson Park. These are the first adoptable sites in inland North County, and we’re thrilled to have this program as an option for people who live far from the nearest adoptable beach.

This past weekend, we hosted a kickoff event to officially launch the program. We invited volunteers to join us at Dixon Lake in northeastern Escondido.

And we sure did kick off this program with a bang! A grand total of 402 volunteers collected 348 pounds of trash and recycling from around the lake and nearby Daley Ranch hiking trails. Here’s a recap of how the event unfolded.


Our volunteers listen attentively to the kickoff and safety talk from Lexi, our Development Manager. She covered topics like how trash travels through the community, why cleanups are important, and local recycling rules. She also talked about how to get involved with the newly launched Adopt-A-Canyon program in Escondido. Some of these volunteers have already signed up online and scheduled their next Escondido cleanups!


A team from the Division 37 East Key Club paused for a photo in front of scenic Dixon Lake. Throughout the morning, lake visitors thanked our volunteers for helping to keep the park clean and litter-free!


Miles of trails run along the lake, so our volunteers were able to spread out and cover a lot of ground. Here, a team from North Coast Church walked along one of the lake trails hunting for litter with our trash grabber and bucket in hand!

You never know what you’ll find at our cleanup events! This young volunteer wins our Most Unusual Item prize for finding this full bottle of sparkling cider. Here’s to you!

We weigh all of the trash and recycling collected at our cleanups as a way of measuring our impact and accomplishments. When volunteers use their own buckets instead of single-use plastic bags, we simply subtract the weight of the empty bucket to determine the weight of the trash. The buckets get emptied right into the dumpster—no single-use plastics needed!

A big thanks to this massive volunteer team from UCSD’s Upward Bound program. We love working with big groups like this one to get a lot accomplished at our events. These young students were a huge help!

Interested in adopting one of these sites? Visit to learn more and to schedule your own cleanups. We can provide a free educational presentation to kick off your first cleanup, and if you complete three cleanups over the course of a year, you can apply to have your group’s name posted on a sign on site.

We’ll be back at Dixon Lake, as well as at four other Escondido sites, for our big countywide event, the Creek to Bay Cleanup, on Saturday, April 23rd from 9AM-12PM. Registration opens April 1st at!


Chula Vista students explore the impact of plastics

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?

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.

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!



Black Mtn. Ranch beautified after last year’s wildfires

On Saturday, December 5, I Love A Clean San Diego closed out its 2015 cleanups with a volunteer project and guided nature walk at Black Mountain Ranch Open Space in the 4S Ranch neighborhood.  More than 200 volunteers from the community came out to beautify this natural area, which had been badly damaged by wildfires in 2014.

In just 3 hours, volunteers filled a 40-yard dumpster with things like furniture, exercise equipment, and metal drums—all while learning about the native and non-native plants that grow right in their backyards. Check out these photos from the event.


Safety first! Our team kicked off the event with a presentation on how trash can travel from this neighborhood out to the coast, local recycling rules, and safety reminders for the cleanup.


This girl scout knows the importance of picking up small pieces of litter, which animals often mistake for food.


Our Executive Director, Pauline Martinson, and long-serving board member, Bill Haines, joined forces with our volunteers to beautify the area.


Our Education Manager, Emily Nelson, and Clean Committee member, Andrew Heath, led a group on a nature walk of the area. The volunteers used field guides to help them identify native and non-native plants. They saw a coyote, too!


Farther down the trail, some young volunteers helped load bulky items into our truck, which we used to shuttle trash to the dumpster.IMG_2352

Tiny trash is important to pick up, but of course the big stuff matters, too! A team effort helped pull this old fridge out of the ravine.IMG_2363

Two of our board members, Vince Reardon and Michael Page, got their hands dirty alongside our Program Assistant, Vince Rivas, and volunteer Stan Nelson. This is their last haul of debris before calling it quits for the day.

Special thanks to the 4S Ranch-Del Sur Community Foundation for providing the funding to host this project and educate the community about caring for our environment!

Visit for more information about upcoming 2016 events!

Fall Cleanups prepare SD for El Niño

Moriah_team15Today’s blog comes from our Community Program Coordinator, Moriah Saldaña. If you’ve been wanting to join us for one of cleanups but haven’t had the opportunity, October is your month. Read on to learn more about what makes our fall cleanup line up so important and how you can be a part of it!

After four years of severe drought, the coming of El Niño is welcome news! Scientists are predicting even greater storms during this rainy season than in 1997.  It is important to ensure that we are prepared, whether that means clearing your rain gutters, taking advantage of the City of San Diego’s rain barrel rebate program, or clearing our natural spaces of litter and debris.  Yes, that’s right, it is crucial to remove as much trash as possible now to prevent flooding caused by waterways blocked with trash and overgrown vegetation. On top of the possibility of flooding, whatever trash remains in local creeks and canyons will flow directly to the Pacific Ocean, causing coastal pollution and beach closures.

Tijuana River, US Border, Looking toward Tijuana, United States-Mexico Border, San Diego, California
San Diego has 11 watersheds made up of canyons and waterways which empty into the Pacific Ocean. (Tijuana River Valley pictured)

Interested in helping? We have two upcoming cleanup opportunities that need your support, just in time for the rainy season!

TRAM calendar buttonCome out to the Tijuana River Valley on Saturday, October 3rd from 9am-noon to help I Love A Clean San Diego pull trash, tires, and other debris from the Dairy Mart Road Bridge area before it makes it way out to the Pacific.  This event is a part of Tijuana River Action Month, which is a series of events held during September and October to bring people together in an effort to improve the Tijuana River Valley.  With around 40 volunteers at our June Tijuana River Valley Cleanup, we cleaned up over 4,000 pounds of trash.  Think of how much more we could pick up with double the volunteers! To register, click here.

The bucket says it all. Come out, roll up your sleeves, and get your hands dirty for a clean & beautiful San Diego!

Clearing trash out of the Tijuana River Valley is especially important before this rainy season, since our beaches in the South Bay are consistently some of the most polluted beaches.  Even today, the Beach Advisory is warning people not to go to any beach south of Coronado because of possible pollution.

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Volunteer at the Tijuana River Valley Cleanup to claim your very own ILACSD water bottle!

And a thank you, everyone who volunteers this Saturday at the Tijuana River Cleanup will receive a complimentary reusable water bottle! Click here to register today.

Beautify Chula Vista Day is great for the whole family!

BCVD calendar buttonThe following weekend on October 10th, we are partnering with the City of Chula Vista for the 13th Annual Beautify Chula Vista Day! This year for Beautify Chula Vista Day we will have two sites, one at Discovery Park and another at the Otay Recreation Center.  Volunteers will pick up trash, remove graffiti and do other beautification projects to make Chula Vista shine. 

This event has made an extensive impact on the City of Chula Vista as a whole.   Since the first Beautify Chula Vista Day,
thousands of dedicated residents have painted out 7,750 square feet of graffiti, stenciled 200 storm drains to warn against dumping, planted 117 trees, and removed nearly 40,000 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.

More information about the event and registration can be found at:

To stay up to date on upcoming cleanups and events, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! A current list of events is also available at