Preventing Food Waste in an Instagram Foodie Culture

Open your Instagram account and click on the explore page, it won’t take too long for most of us to find images of vibrant, crunchy, creamy, steamy, buttered, drizzled, crystalized, smoky, aged, boiled, briny, cheesy, absolutely delightful images of what is on their plate! These days, foodie culture dominates social feeds. The farm to table movement is bigger than ever. We have never been so in tune and in love with what we are eating until now.

Documenting meals for online followers is a normal habit for foodies.

So with that, let’s imagine you just spent all afternoon preparing a pie for dinner guests. You’re are so pleased with the steaming, flaky pie that sits on the counter in front of you. It’s so aromatic and intense that you can recognize each type of fruit in the medley that is making your senses come alive! You cut it into 10 slices, making sure each one is piled high with perfectly candied pastry dough. You are almost ready to serve it to your guests, but before you even unveil it at the dinner table, before you even leave the kitchen, you scrape 4 pieces of pie directly into the garbage. It hits the trash can with a miserable thud, the amber colored gelatin is sliding down the plastic bag and the slices look more like your cat’s food than a guest-worthy dessert. While this might seem like an insane thing to do, it is a realistic picture of the amount of food being wasted in our society.

Sorry, what was I talking about? I am only thinking about pie now…

In the United States, 40% of food goes uneaten. The average Californian throws away 24 pounds of food a month. How can it be that in a time when we are so infatuated with our food, that we are wasting so much? Food waste occurs at many levels – at the farm, at the store, in our fridges, and off our plates. Farmers who grow produce that is considered too ugly, too small, too large, too uneven, or a little colorless are pushed out of the marketplace due to the retailer’s demand for consistency. Food is also lost in transportation. Food spoils in the store and in our refrigerators, but it’s not just food we are discarding without a second thought. We are squandering all of the resources that go into the production and distribution of food! Nationally, 80% of our water, 10% of our energy, and 40% of our land is utilized to grow our food. Despite all of the resources we put into the production of food, it is the leading material in our landfills! In the Miramar Landfill, 40% of the total waste is organic material that could have been mulched, composted, fed to animals, or in some cases, fed to people.

Realizing all of your food doesn’t have to be picture perfect is an easy way to prevent food from going to waste.

Our food systems are not perfect, but together each and every one of us can take a stand against food waste. Even small adjustments to our behavior can create impactful change! Here are a few simple suggestions to help you get started or continue your food waste prevention:

Shop Smart

  • Be prepared: create a shopping list with menus in mind to avoid impulse buys
  • Set a time frame: this gives you less time to buy things not on your prepared list
  • Know what you need: keep stock of what you have at home, note items as they run out to help create your shopping list
  • Be realistic: if you live alone or only need one carrot for a recipe, don’t buy a whole bag
  • Bulk is better: buying in bulk requires a little forethought and planning but is definitely worth it
  • Cut your costs: if you crunch the numbers, bulk purchases typically cost less per unit

Sensible Storage to Slow Spoiling

  • Practice first in, first out habits: move older products to the front of the fridge and stock unopened newer items in the back
  • Monitor what you throw away: throwing away half a loaf every week? Start freezing it.
  • Dates, not deadlines: know that expiration, best by, sell by, and use by dates, are not an exact science but merely manufacture suggestions
  • Leave a little room: don’t overcrowd your fridge, the air needs to circulate
  • Figure out your fridge’s compartments: your fridge has a crisper for a reason and the fridge door is warmer than the shelves
  • If you don’t know, ask: utilize the Alexa Save the Food skill to ask where and how you should store your items while unpacking groceries (like storing your asparagus cilantro, celery, carrots in water to make them last longer)

Creative Cooking

  • Use it up nights: designate one evening a week to focus on using up open items in your fridge
  • No tops or stems left behind: use every part of the produce you can – broccoli stems, beet tops, carrot tops, leave the skin on cucumbers, blend your smoothie with strawberry leaves on
  • Wilted doesn’t have to mean wasted: use your food up, wilted veggies can go into a stir-fry or soup, bruised fruit can be added to a smoothie or applesauce, old cheese rinds can make soups, juice pulp can be utilized numerous ways (bread, guacamole, power bites bars)

Serving, Snacking, and Sensing Satiation

  • Avoid over ordering: if you’re often ordering too much food, try splitting a meal with a friend or ordering smaller portions when out
  • Know your limit: don’t feel guilty if you don’t clean your plate as long as you save and store whatever is remaining
  • Leftovers tonight means lunch tomorrow: take your leftovers home or save anything you cooked but couldn’t finish (don’t forget your reusable containers for leftovers)
  • Smaller plate, smaller portions: we often over serve ourselves because the plate has room – a smaller plate can help you decrease the amount you dish up

Now go enjoy your food and extend its shelf life!


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!

Three Easy Actions to Take for a Greener Office on America Recycles Day

Today is the 10th annual America Recycles Day a nationally recognized day and an initiative by Keep America Beautiful that promotes ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle in our everyday lives. America Recycles Day is dedicated to the individual actions that people can take that create a collective difference for our environment! Having normal “blue bin” style recycling in the office is an awesome start, but let’s take a look at some other ways to boost your recycling program (if you don’t have a recycling program in place, check out our previous blog post that can help you get one started). Here are three easy ways you can enhance your workplace recycling in celebration of America Recycles Day.

Deal with the Graveyard of Dead Electronics: Recycle Electronics

Electronics are all around us, especially in a workplace. So what happens to all of those electronics when they kick the bucket? Electronic waste, also known as e-waste, should be properly recycled with a certified e-waste recycling company. Printers, computers, laptops, fax machines, phones (yes, most offices have landlines) can all be taken to a recycling location or a temporary collection event. Some businesses even offer to pick these items up from your workplace. Start by designating a spot in your workplace to collect electronics that are no longer working and can no longer be repaired (you can search for repair options on ). When you want to recycle the collected e-waste, simply use the search bar on by typing in a specific item, “E-waste Collection Event”, or “Electronic Waste Pick-up”.

Make sure everyone in the office knows where to drop off any electronic waste to be recycled.

Donate Before Ditching: Give Unwanted Office Supplies and Furniture to a Thrift Store

Does your workplace have way too many paper trays or stockpiles of old binders? Did your office go through a remodel and now has a bunch of outdated office decor? Don’t toss these items! Give your supplies and furniture a shot at finding a new home by donating them to a thrift store. Start by letting your colleagues know about the collection of unwanted office supplies, where they should drop off their unwanted supplies, and give them the opportunity to grab something they might need from the collection before it’s donated. Head over to to search “Thrift Stores” if you don’t know your nearest one. You can even find a local thrift store or organization that specializes in just second-hand furniture if you recently upgraded your office furniture.

Recent workplace renovations? Donate your unwanted office furniture or supplies to a nearby thrift store!

Stop Wasting Half the Paper Supply: Print Double-sided

A staple in almost any office is a large industrial printer. And chances are your office goes through a ton of paper. Remember to recycle that paper first off! Ensure that each cubicle, office, and room has a recycling bin and clear signage indicating the types of items that should be placed in it. But there is also another option to cut down on wasted paper: printing double-sided. Change your printer’s default setting to printing on both sides to reduce the amount of paper used. Another option is to have a pile of “previously printed on paper” that has an unused side. Utilize paper from this pile to manually feed into your printer for one-sided print jobs or for scratch paper!

Set those printer default settings to print on both sides of the paper!

Keep Up the Recycling Momentum

Don’t let your recycling efforts fade after America Recycles Day ends. Keep the conversation going! Each workplace should have a designated recycling champion…that can be you! Kindly remind your co-workers about recycling guidelines, reward anyone you catch “green-handed” (recycling correctly or contributing to the donation pile), and celebrate your workplace achievements with all of the staff. Don’t wait until the next America Recycles Day to implement a new practice and remember to provide your team with resources that make recycling crystal clear.

For more information regarding recycling, visit the Resources Page at or register for an upcoming workshop.


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!

Registration Open for 33rd Annual Coastal Cleanup Day

Get registered today at!

Registration officially is open for San Diego County’s Coastal Cleanup Day! While the name Coastal Cleanup Day suggests that this cleanup is all about the beach, many of you already know ILACSD’s volunteer efforts reach far beyond the coast. With eighty percent of marine debris originating in inland areas, at ILACSD we have expanded our Coastal Cleanup Day reach to include both inland and coastal territory. This year, sixty-five percent of the cleanup sites are located inland along rivers, creeks, canyons, and urban areas with the aim to stop debris before it makes its way to the ocean. We even have 3 clean ups happening on the water with kayaks! With 114 cleanup sites last year, volunteers removed 185,000 pounds of debris from San Diego County – the equivalent weight of 10 garbage trucks! Help us remove even more trash and debris and beautify our county by getting registered for this year’s Coastal Cleanup Day on September 16, 2017, from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM! Get registered now at!

Cut back on waste by bringing your own reusable buckets, work gloves, and water bottle if you have them!

In an effort to reduce waste produced by an event of this size, Coastal Cleanup Day volunteers can pledge to bring at least one reusable item to the cleanup. When volunteers bring their own reusable water bottle, work gloves, and bucket to collect litter, they prevent thousands of single-use bags and disposable gloves from entering San Diego’s landfills. When you register, please consider pledging to bring one of these items with you (or all three)! Once again, we will be having our “Bling Your Bucket” competition for Coastal Cleanup Day. Participants have the opportunity to decorate their reusable buckets showing off their creativity and imagination and submit photos of for the chance to win fun prizes and have their picture posted on the Coastal Cleanup Day website for one year! Volunteers of all ages are also encouraged to participate!

Participate in the Sony Photo Contest for the chance to win a Point & Shoot Camera!

The Sony Photo Contest is also returning to Coastal Cleanup Day! While you spend the morning helping to preserve our environment, snap some pictures of all of your hard work! After attending Coastal Cleanup Day, participants can submit their best photo from the event into the competition where the top five finalists will be put to a vote on the ILACSD Facebook page. The winner will receive a Sony Point and Shoot Camera!

We also collect valuable data about the debris collection that helps us understand how we can better prevent litter. Instead of using paper data cards, ILACSD is asking volunteers to download the Ocean Conservancy’s user-friendly mobile data collection app, Clean Swell, onto their smartphones as another way to cut back on waste.

Bring the whole family and join us for Coastal Cleanup Day on September 16th!

Not only will we be removing litter on Coastal Cleanup Day, the event also includes beautification projects such as graffiti removal and replacement of invasive species with drought-tolerant alternatives. Volunteers who signup will work with ILACSD to preserve and enhance San Diego for current and future generations to enjoy. Leading the way to a zero waste, litter-free, and environmentally engaged San Diego region, ILACSD encourages all community members to take action in their neighborhood by joining us on September 16th. Registration information and details regarding Coastal Cleanup Day can be found at


Record Breaking Creek to Bay Results

c2b16 mountain view park (247)Today’s blog comes from our Community Program Manager, Moriah who is eager to share this year’s Creek to Bay Cleanup totals!

I am thrilled to announce that the 14th Annual Creek to Bay Cleanup was an overwhelming success! This year, we focused on increasing communities to volunteer together in their own nearby parks, open spaces, canyons, creeks and beaches.  In total, our volunteers cleaned up a record 110 sites all over the county!

Totals from around the County are still coming in, but we can confidently report that this year’s event was record breaking all around! More than 6,400 volunteers channeled their appreciation of San Diego’s environment into action and removed more than 170,000 pounds of trash and debris from our county!

c2b16 mountain view park (214)

What is even more impressive is that considering how many sites we had, we actually collected less trash than usual.  That means that we are all making improvements in our daily lives to reduce the amount of waste that we create and dump into our environment! On top of this, volunteers also beautified and restored the local environment through removing invasive plants, planting trees and native plants, stenciling storm drains, and performing a variety of park maintenance projects.Before and After - Postage Stamp Pt.

Our staff helped out at our media site, Mountain View Community Park.  While across the County we were expecting rain, the sun came through for a beautiful day.  More than 200 volunteers ranging from community members to corporate teams came out to beautify the park.  We painted bleachers and buildings, planted day lilies, stenciled storm drains on neighborhood streets, and removed more than 4,000 pounds of debris from the park and surrounding community.  It is so inspiring to see members of the community heartened after connecting with the beauty of their local environment.Fox Canyon

At almost every cleanup event cigarette butts and plastic items are our most commonly found items.  This year was no different, but there were quite a few found items that took our site captains and our staff by surprise.  Our North Swan Canyon site in City Heights found 13 rolls of piano music from the 19th Century, quite a few sites reported finding small toy dinosaurs, and New Roots Community Farm found a litter of kittens from a cat that lives at the garden! We are happy to say that the kittens are safe and sound and one of them even went home with Leila, our Recycling Program Assistant!

Meet Tonks aka Lil Sprout!

Thank you again to all of our site captains, volunteers, event sponsors and partners for all of your support! Stay tuned for our final totals, and save the date for our next countywide cleanup, Coastal Cleanup Day, happening Saturday, September 17th, 2015! More information can be found at!

c2b16 mountain view park (183)
Thank you from the ILACSD team!



Creek2Bay Site Captain Spotlight – Dixon Lake

I Love A Clean San Diego appreciates all the hard work our volunteers put in to our cleanups in order to keep San Diego beautiful. Today, we would like to highlight one our amazing volunteers who has taken on the role of site captain at Dixon Lake in Escondido. If you’d like to join her at her site or one in your neighborhood there’s still time to register at!

Lori having a blast at last year’s Dixon Lake cleanup!

Lori is a program assistant with the recycling division in the City of Escondido. At the recycling division, Lori handles the disposal of hazardous waste for the city and public education about waste diversion. Through her work, Lori attends farmers’ markets and schools to demonstrate repurposed crafts and recycling 101 as ways to reduce waste.

Lori originally got involved with the Creek to Bay Cleanup a few years ago when she accompanied her supervisor to a site captain meeting. After attending a few more site captain meetings, Lori decided this year she would be a site captain herself at Dixon Lake. 


The Creek to Bay Cleanup gets the community involved and invested in protecting our environment. Lori says, “People come to the sites and make a positive impact on the environment.” She believes that every piece of trash counts and that it also is very eye-opening for members of the community.

When asked why the Creek to Bay Cleanup is so important to her community, Lori said, “We are keeping the area clean, families are out and bonding, and the park rangers enjoy it.”

At Dixon Lake there are few recycling receptacles. Lori hopes to ultimately change that and match every garbage can with a recycling bin.


Lori keeps coming back every year to the Creek to Bay Cleanup because it is a rewarding few hours. She encourages others to come out and spend a few hours with their families to enhance our environment. Lori believes Dixon Lake is more than just a lake, “it’s a beautiful part of Escondido that brings many people together”.

Join us tomorrow, Saturday, April 23rd at one of our 110 Creek to Bay Cleanup sites! If you’re in the Escondido area, join Lori at Dixon Lake or find a site in your neighborhood at!

We’ll hope you join us at one of our 100+ sites as we beautify San Diego!

We are enhancing our environment, starting in your neighborhood.

A big thank you to Lori for all her work as a site captain and to the Escondido Recycling Division for supporting I Love A Clean San Diego’s Creek to Bay Cleanup. Thank you for investing in a clean San Diego!