Posts Tagged 'san diego'

2016 ILACSD Accomplishments

2016 was a great year for I Love A Clean San Diego! Check out the highlights of our impact in San Diego this past year.

2016 ILACSD Accomplishments

2016 Accomplishments Breakdown:

We led 250 cleanups in 74 communities around San Diego. Of the 433,098 pounds of debris picked up at cleanups, the most common items were cigarette butts, plastic pieces, food wrappers, and straws/stirrers. 63,183 cigarette butts were found during last year’s Coastal Cleanup Day and through our Adopt-A-Beach program alone! The weirdest items? We found a dog house, wizard hat, wedding dress, and dentures.

Our Education team empowered more than 31,000 kids and adults through 750 presentations around San Diego County. The presentation topics focused on local San Diego environmental issues, such as watershed protection and zero waste.

Our Recycling Programs team received more than 13,000 inquiries through our hotline and recycling database, WasteFreeSD.org. The most frequently requested items: paint, motor oil, medicine, florescent light tubes, and sharps/needles. If you aren’t sure where to recycle these items in your area, visit WasteFreeSD.org and search by item and zipcode.

Want to get involved with us in 2017? Subscribe to our newsletter to hear about upcoming volunteer events. Subscribe to our Facebook events to get updates whenever we add an event. Adopt a beach, canyon, or park in San Diego through our Adopt-A-Beach Program to get involved on a more regular basis. Or join our Clean Committee to become a bigger part of the ILACSD team.

The Play-by-Play of Kids’ Ocean Day

Hats off to another successful Kids’ Ocean Day – ILACSD’s 18th and the state’s 23rd  annual event! Kids’ Ocean Day is a unique, annual event centered on engaging our youth as environmental stewards. After a school assembly about ocean conservation, 3rd-5th grade students from eight Title 1 schools around the county joined together at South Mission Beach to leave a lasting impact on their environment.

Take a look at how we spent the day!

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Staff arrived at 5:00 AM to lay the aerial art design in the sand.

 

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Volunteer groups, like Kohl’s Associates in Action, led students during the cleanup to ensure the day ran smoothly!

 

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Thanks to additional sponsorship this year, ILACSD provided 50 reusable buckets for the cleanup, reducing the amount of disposable trash bags used at this event.

 

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Volunteers reviewed safety tips for the cleanup and got students energized for the day!

 

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Over 950 students, teachers, and volunteers participated in a beach cleanup, ensuring fewer pieces of land litter become marine debris.

 

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Zero Waste in action! Most students created temporary trash bins from repurposed milk jugs, which they later recycled.

 

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Fresh air + fresh dance moves + a freshly cleaned beach = a great day.

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Students waiting patiently for the helicopter to circle overhead and capture the perfect shot of the aerial art.

And lastly, the official image! Great job, team! To get involved with an upcoming event, please visit CleanSD.org!

Aerial Art - Kids' Ocean Day 2016

Food Waste: Impact beyond the Plate

My faceHi I’m Shannon and as one of the marketing interns for ILACSD I am excited to have the opportunity to explore the effects of food waste . My interest in food deserts and the lack of healthy food options in America led me to investigate how food waste affects our community and ways we can prevent it all together.

When I think about wasted food I imagine feeling guilty about leaving those last pieces of broccoli on my plate after dinner, however, food waste is much more serious than wasting a few good veggies. Food waste refers to the massive quantity of quality food that is wasted annually instead of being given to those in need. According to the National Resources Defense Council, “Forty percent of the food produced in the United States never gets eaten.” So what does food waste really do?

Don’t worry there are ways to fight back against food waste!

The San Diego Department of Public Works has some great solutions to help you minimize food waste in the future. They rely upon the Environmental Protection Agency’s food recovery strategy to most efficiently and cost effectively reduce San Diego’s food waste. Based on this hierarchy, San Diego’s DPW established a food waste system based on 3 simple steps: Reduce, Donate and Compost.

Food Recovery Hierachy

To best implement waste reduction in our personal lives the DPW suggests re-considering portion sizes, limiting the number of menu items you order when you go out to eat and planning all the week’s meals so your grocery list only consists of what you need to make those meals. According to the DPW it is important to be conscious of the volume of food you eat in comparison to the volume of food you waste.

Donating leftover food is another great way to reduce food waste! There are a lot of local organizations that lead San Diego’s effort to feed hungry San Diegans. Check out Feeding America and San Diego Food Bank for local options to donate your leftover quality food. Reducing food waste also means giving those without the means to feed themselves the food they need to survive.

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Kids think composting is fun too!

The final step is using spoiled and leftover food for composting in your own backyard or neighborhood! Check out our previous blogs on composting to see how easy and fun it really is.

It’s important to remember that food waste is a serious national issue so let’s work together to help make San Diego even better than it already is and improve the lives of thousands in the process!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Successful Zero Waste Plans IRL

Sam2016 - 131x172Today’s blog comes from our Contracts Manager, Sam, who has been attending several meetings related to San Diego’s Zero Waste Plan, including food recovery and organics recycling. The idea of zero waste can seem daunting or too far-fetched. Read on to learn about other cities that have successfully implemented zero waste practices IRL (in real life) and what San Diegans can do to help reach these waste diversion goals.

As we all know, “Zero Waste” is a hot button word around environmental circles these days. By its definition, Zero Waste is a commitment to diverting at least 90% of all waste away from landfills, and utilizing other means of proper disposal. But what does it look like in practice? How far along are we? What are the challenges? We will take a look at three California cities to see!

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Repurpose tip: extend the life of common items like glass bottles and jars by transforming them into home decor!

Let’s start with the current big kid on the block in all environmental programs, San Francisco. San Francisco has been among the leading pioneers in the nation for environmental programs, and zero waste is no exception. As a part of their commitment to 90% waste diversion by 2020, San Francisco has implemented composting and green waste recycling pickups at businesses and residences. Along with convenient disposal, San Francisco has also invested in providing the public with educational resources about reducing food waste, consumer and producer responsibility, and the list goes on! When other cities in the U.S. look to a city to replicate good behaviors, San Francisco is a wonderful place to start.

Next, let’s look at Los Angeles. Currently hovering around 75% diversion of waste away from landfills, Los Angeles’s goal is to to achieve a lofty 97% waste diversion by 2030 through SWIRP, which is an acronym for Solid Waste Integrated Resources Plan. LA’s infrastructure will soon follow in the footsteps of San Francisco to ensure that greater tonnages of green waste (yard clippings, food scraps, etc.) and compost can be properly disposed of instead of winding up in a landfill. Along with San Francisco, LA believes educational outreach for both food waste reduction and proper recycling techniques are critical to their long term goals. Looking to achieve 87% diversion by 2020, Los Angeles has made a firm commitment to realizing their ultimate “zero waste” initiative by 2030.

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Practice makes habits! Students practice sorting paper, cans, and food scraps into pretend trash, compost and recycling bins.

Last, but certainly not least, our wonderful home of San Diego. The macro-level goal is to achieve virtually 100% waste diversion by 2040, with yearly increments designed to test the progress. Along with LA, San Diego is playing catch up to San Francisco in regards to the infrastructure required to divert large quantities of green waste. Working with the State recycling agency, CalRecycle, as well as haulers and constituents to ensure the County meets its goals will be required if they hope to reach their goals:

  • 75% by 2020,
  • 90% by 2035
  • “zero” waste by 2040

In order to achieve this, the County will need to divert an additional 332,000 tons to offset the current 67% diversion rate. They hope to do this by encouraging haulers to divert more away from landfills, educate San Diegans, and of course divert more green waste away from landfills. Click here to learn more about San Diego’s Zero Waste plan. 

Sustainable-Living-Series-Summit-flyerIt’s exciting times! Zero Waste is no longer just a dream, but it is now a successful process! And with the process, we can see the evolution towards greener, healthier, and more beautiful communities. I Love A Clean San Diego is doing its part by revamping our comprehensive recycling database, WasteFreeSD.org, to include zero waste tips and tricks to fit any lifestyle.  You can always give us a call at 1-877-R1-EARTH to have any of your recycling questions answered as well.

If you’re looking for a more hands-on approach, our education team hosts community workshops designed to give you real life solutions like choosing reusables, how to shop in bulk, etc. Our next workshop, the Zero Waste Summit, will take place on Saturday, June 11th at Ocean Knoll Farms in Encinitas. Let us know you’re coming by registering ahead of time – Here’s to Zero Waste!

Tips for a Green Graduation

c2b16 mountain view park (278)Hi my name is Hannah and I am currently one of the Outreach Interns at I Love A Clean San Diego! I am graduating this May from San Diego State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sustainability.  My love for the environment started in high school after taking a course in environmental science, which led me to my major. I am always trying to find ways to be more sustainable, including my upcoming college graduation.

Graduation season is quickly approaching. From kindergarten to college, there will be millions of students all over the globe walking across a stage to receive their diploma.  Here are 4 ways to be sustainable this graduation season and have a green graduation!

  1. Send evites to your friends and family to attend your graduation ceremony or party rather than paper announcements! You will not only be saving the planet, but also saving money. The online alternative to invitations is affordable, easy, and environmentally friendly! Websites such as Paperless Post, Greenvelope, and Punch Bowl all offer free or low cost alternatives.

  1. Rent or recycle your graduation gown! There are more than 5 million high school and college graduates every year each purchasing a graduation gown they will probably never wear again and could end up in a landfill, if it is not recycled. Greener Grads is a website that provides low cost cap, gown, and tassel rentals. If you have already graduated or purchased your gown, don’t fret, Greener Grads will recycle it for you after you are done.

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  1. Arrange a carpool for your guests attending your graduation or encourage them to take public transportation. Not only will there be tons of traffic getting to and from the ceremony, but they will be making a positive impact on the environment.   Since SDSU has a trolley stop right on campus, my family is staying at a hotel in close proximity to a trolley stop for my graduation this May for a quick, sustainable, and hassle free journey.
  1. Encourage your friends and family to refrain from showering you with balloons and candy leis at your graduation ceremony, and let them know their attendance is more than enough! We are currently facing a helium shortage, you know the stuff that we fill balloons with, and studies suggest supplies could be depleted before the middle of the century. Helium is a non-renewable resource, so once it’s gone it’s gone. Another popular graduation ceremony gift are candy leis, but candy wrappers are made from mixed materials that can be very difficult to recycle.

We’ll that’s it! If you’re graduating this spring or if you know someone who is, take these tips with you as you celebrate this incredible milestone with our environment in mind. For more sustainable ideas for other occasions, follow I Love A Clean San Diego on Pinterest!

Graduation meme

Spring Cleaning in SD

Spring is here which means many of us will be cleaning out our closets to make room for our summer clothes. For others it means that a much needed home cleaning will be underway, as well. What better way to enjoy Earth Month than by donating your unwanted items to local organizations that keep items out of the landfill.

If you have furniture in good shape, workable appliances or electronics that you would like see find a good home, consider posting them on websites like CraigslistFreecycle and the Buy Nothing Project. These sites offer a method of landfill diversion and provide items in good condition with a second home. This is also the hassle-free way to donate items without having to physically move the items yourself.Freecycle

Looking to donate something smaller? ArtForm at the Rare Hare Studios will accept household items that can be reused for art projects. Items such as buttons, ribbons, bottle caps and yarn are just a few things in the long list of items that they accept as donations. To find what else they will accept check out their wish list online. Donations need to be pre-approved so give them a ring before dropping anything off – they’d love to hear from you!

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Looking to donate something bigger? If your spring cleaning involves some home renovations, places like Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore locations will accept things like doors, windows, and cabinets that are in good condition. To read more about donating construction and demolition debris to organizations that provide great services for people check out this blog.reduce-reuse-restore2Remember to check with each location before dropping-off donations to ensure that your items will be accepted and to confirm drop-off times.

Lastly, if you have items that cannot be donated such as broken electronics or appliances, household hazardous waste, or old/unwanted medications, be sure to search WasteFreeSD.org for recycling options near you!

Zero Waste 101

What is zero waste? First, let’s define what zero waste is to better understand how it affects you and what it means for our communities.

Zero waste is the process of eliminating reusable or repairable materials from ending up in the landfill. Zero waste encourages manufacturers, municipalities, and consumers to evaluate current consumption patterns and minimize single-use items. In order to divert materials from the landfill we must share the responsibility of producing and consuming sustainable products while limiting our use of disposable items.

Zero Waste Alternatives

Now that we know what zero waste means, let’s explore why this practice impacts San Diegans. Currently, the Miramar Landfill is composed of reusable substances; yes that is right REUSABLE substances. The top 3 reusable substances in our landfill are:

Organics (food scraps, yard waste) 39%

Construction and Demolition (building materials) 25%

Paper 17%

When we choose to send these items to the landfill, large amounts of methane gas are released which pose serious public and environmental health concerns. On the positive side,  all of this can either be recycled, reused or composted, which means, we can do something about it! ZW blog landfill

In response to the amount of reusable materials in the landfill (or should we say landFULL) the City of San Diego adopted a zero waste plan to focus on reusing rather than disposing items. Currently, the City of San Diego diversion rate has been consistent around 67%. Here is an outline of upcoming benchmarks for the city’s waste diversion plan:

  • 75%  by 2020
  • 90%  2035
  • 100% diversion rate by 2040.

The plan’s primary focus is on organics diversion. There are several resources available to help you reduce food waste through planning and composting. Learn more at by reading about some of our past food waste blogs and WasteFreeSD.org!

Even I Love A Clean San Diego’s Recycling and Household Hazardous Waste database is getting a zero waste makeover! Stay tuned for the redesign release of WasteFreeSD.org this summer! The new database will include a easy to use search bar that will help you find convenient ways to divert waste from the landfill!

Moriah bridges love for craft beer & the environment

Mo brewing beerToday’s blog comes from our Community Program Coordinator, Moriah as she shares her love for San Diego craft beer and our environment!

I am known as the resident beer nerd at I Love a Clean San Diego.  After working at a local brewery for about a year and brewing at home, it’s safe to say I know a thing or two about beer.  One thing I didn’t know, however, was how connected my love of beer was to my love for the environment.  In a city like San Diego, it’s not surprising that our local breweries value our environment as much as they value their craft.

Ways SD breweries minimize waste

Water conservation is a big issue for everyone in California, and that includes craft breweries.  The industry average in California ranges from 3.5 to 6 gallons of water for every gallon of beer produced.  Breweries in San Diego are leading the way in reducing the amount of water needed for their production.  Local breweries are becoming increasingly water-wise.  According to the California Craft Brewers Association, Ballast Point has reduced its water use by more than 24 percent, and Stone Brewing Company recycles more than 62 percent of its water daily.

One of the biggest ways that local breweries reduce waste is by using their spent grain in creative ways.  Spent grain is the grain left over after the brewing process.  Instead of throwing this used grain in the landfill, most of San Diego’s breweries donate it to local farms, where it can be used as livestock feed.  Stone Brewing Company even uses it as a mulching tool in their garden.  Some of their spent grain goes towards locally made soaps and dog treats as well!

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Hop farm picture is Jordan Brownwood tending hops at Nopalito Farm & Hopyard. Photo credit:  slowfoodurbansandiego.org

San Diego is known for its hop-heavy beers, but did you know that farms right here in San Diego County grow one of beer’s most important ingredients? Nopalito Farms is a local, family-run organic hopyard and orchard in North County San Diego.  Since water conservation is always an issue in Southern California, Nopalito Farms has adopted sustainable farming practices like drip irrigation and mulching, and they work to maximize the rain that they get in Valley Center.

Imbibe with the earth in mind!

  • Bring a growler with you next time you pick up beer. Instead of cans or glass bottles that will end up in your blue bin, get a reusable growler and take it to the closest brewery.  Get fresh, draft beer straight from the source! Be sure to check with the brewery first to see if they have any specific growler policies.
  • Reuse old beer or wine bottles to make decorations for your house. At our recent Sustainable Living Workshop that focuses on a zero waste home, our educators taught attendees how to reuse their old bottles and turn them into fashionable home decorations.

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    One example of a  repurposed wine bottle from our Zero Waste Home Workshop.

Volunteer at Cupid’s Cleanup!

If all of this beer talk has you thirsty, you can join us and Benchmark Brewing Company on Saturday, February 13th from 10am-12pm for a cleanup of the San Diego River! Why not switch up the typical dinner and a movie Valentine’s Day date and help us clean up the San Diego River instead. Then, if this blog has inspired you to try some local San Diego suds, you can join us afterward for a Valentine’s Day-themed mixer hosted by Benchmark Brewing Company! Families, sweethearts, kids, and singles are all welcome.

Register here! Help us spread the word by joining the Facebook event and sharing the cleanup with your friends and family. 

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Get to know Sam!

Today, we’d like to introduce I Love A Clean San Diego’s Contract Manager, Sam! Sam hit the ground running when he first joined our team in October. Now that he is more settled in his role, we’d like to take this opportunity for all of you to get to know him better. Read on to learn about Sam’s journey to ILACSD!

Sam DeCapua, I Love A Clean San Diego’s Contract Manager (right)

Q: What brought you to I Love A Clean San Diego?

Before coming to ILACSD, I really enjoyed politics, but since there was such a wide array of issues that needed to be addressed, I realized that this is my chance to hone in on a topic I could really contribute to.

There are so many problems which affect us all in the environmental sphere, so I felt I had a great opportunity to make a positive change in my new-found home (San Diego) and I could work towards something I was passionate about: curbing food waste, educating others on the importance of the world around them. The great office culture that exists at I Love A Clean San Diego is a plus, too.

IMG_1259Q: What environmental topic are you most passionate about?

Although I think they are all important, I think food waste is a BIG one. It is a stark reminder that we have this abundance of food, which if channeled properly, could be a large step forward in effectively ENDING hunger in the United States. What a change that would be! Not only that, but food waste creates methane, which is 25 times more dangerous than CO2 emissions, when disposed at landfills. I’m also very intrigued by the Zero Waste initiatives showing up around the country. I love that California has been so aggressive to reduce the waste we create. It’s a great goal to pursue, and I’m really looking forward to contributing to the implementation of those lofty goals.

Q: What is your most recent environmental goal?
Since joining I Love A Clean San Diego, I’ve seen what a noticeable difference the smallest habits and actions taken daily can make. Therefore, I’ve tried to reduce buying excess packaging which creates unnecessary trash, as well as making sure I plan my portions for food to avoid wasting valuable food by either spoilage or excess. Packing lunches goes a long way in saving the environment and your wallet!IMG_1513

Q: “When I’m not at a the office or a cleanup you can find me…”

I love going to the gym, it is a big part of my life. Additionally, I love doing outdoorsy stuff, and I really want to get into surfing soon! Apart from all of that, I really love reading and watching Netflix. I’m also getting into the local restaurants and breweries, and as a big burrito and beer fan San Diego has definitely exceeded my expectations!

Preliminary CCD Results are in!

The dynamic duo, Lexi & Moriah!

Today’s blog comes from our Community Program Coordinator and co-Coastal Cleanup Day mastermind, Moriah Saldaña!  Over the last few month, Moriah has worked closely with our Community Program Manager, Lexi Ambrogi, to ensure that our second countywide cleanup of the year was a success. Read on to learn more about preliminary totals and view snapshots from around the county!

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Counting all those cigarette butts and bottle caps, although tedious, makes a huge impact worldwide!

The results are still coming in from Coastal Cleanup Day,
but one thing is for sure, Coastal Cleanup Day was an enormous hit! Whether our volunteers were at the beach picking up litter, removing graffiti in their local neighborhoods, or removing invasive plants from canyons, we know that San Diegans are now able to enjoy more than 100 clean outdoor spaces free of litter!

Coastal Cleanup Day in San Diego is part of a statewide and international cleanup effort to restore coastlines across the globe. The effort is coordinated statewide by the California Coastal Commission and internationally by The Ocean Conservancy. While international totals for 2015 are not available yet, in 2014, 560,000 volunteers in 91 countries picked up more than 16 million pounds of trash!

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Volunteers at Sweetwater Marsh working together to do some heavy lifting.

Our staff woke up extra early on Saturday morning to lead more than 200 volunteers in beautification projects at Emerald Hills Park in Encanto.  While the focus of the morning was on various planting and mulching projects, volunteers cleared out over 2,700 pounds of debris!

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Hotline Assistant, Ani spreading mulch with a smile!

As for the county as a whole, preliminary totals for Coastal Cleanup Day – San Diego indicate that we had over 7,500 volunteers cleaning up 105 local creeks, canyons, beaches and bays as part of this event!  While the trash totals are still being compiled, we are expecting that more than 150,000 pounds of trash were removed from our county. On top of this, volunteers also beautified and restored the local environment through removing graffiti, removing invasive plants, building raised garden beds, and performing a variety of park maintenance projects.

Team Silvergate recovering items from water

Volunteers at Sun Harbor Marina didn’t stop at the sand.

Every year at this event, and at our other countywide cleanup, Creek to Bay in April, we see that cigarette butts and small plastic items are our most commonly found items.  While unfortunately this isn’t that surprising, we are often stunned by some of the more unique pieces of litter that our volunteers find.  Some of my favorites this year include a set of dentures in good shape, a full fish tank, a dragon statue and a MacBook computer.

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Dentures found at Beacon’s Beach definitely made the top of the odds items list!

See more pictures from Coastal Cleanup Day and our other cleanups on Facebook and Instagram!

Looking to join us at our next event? We have a quite a few volunteer opportunities coming up. Click here for more information on how to get involved!


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