Posts Tagged 'summer'

Zero Waste Tips for your Summer Shindig

Spring is among us, and summer will be here before most of us even know it. By San Diego standards, that means cookouts, beach days, and barbecues galore. For zero waste enthusiasts, the often-present plastic utensils, plates, and bottles can sometimes overshadow the excitement of these events. Whether you are a seasoned party host or it is a special occasion, the I Love A Clean San Diego team wants to help prepare you with some tips to make it the top, zero waste soiree of the season!food-summer-party-dinner

Gathering Supplies:

Preparation is key to a successful, sustainable cookout. To create an eco-friendly environment for your event, you will want to consider stocking up on some reusable party essentials. For grilling, reusable metal skewers and grilling baskets come in handy. Instead of plastic plates and utensils, head to your local thrift store to mix and match reusable dishware and utensils. You may even find some great serving platters while you’re at it! The eclectic plates can add a funky touch to your décor. Ditch the wasteful paper napkins and plastic tablecloths for reusable cloth napkins and tablecloths. This will immediately make your party style stand out while saving on waste! Red plastic cups can be substituted with Ball mason jars and reusable straws to class up any cocktail!

While some may be the official cookout host among their cohort, there are options for hosting a zero waste shindig without stocking up. Whether you lack the space to store all the extra dishes or just rarely host, rental companies can often come in handy. This option may not be right for everyone, but renting can sometimes come out to be cheaper for the infrequent, eco-friendly host. They can supply everything from serving platters, dishes, cutlery, glassware, napkins, and tablecloths.dinner-meal-table-wine

Food and Drink:

While shopping for foods, don’t forget to bring your reusable mesh or cloth bags, jars, and other containers. Buying in bulk is always a cornerstone to any zero waste tips list. Check out the bulk food section for all your party snack foods. Skip out on those individually packaged cheese slices and opt for the deli counter or a local farmers market. The farmers market is also a great place to get locally sourced, organic vegetables. Focusing your grilling around vegetables can help make your party even more eco-friendly.

No party is complete without a varied selection of drink options. However, you can cut back on the waste by offering bulk drink options in large glass dispensers. Water, lemonade, and sun tea (you can compost those tea bags) all work well for this serving style. This drink technique also helps cut out all of the single use water and soda bottles. You can look into local breweries and wineries to fill up reusable bottles and growlers for your party as well. Growlers of San Diego’s finest craft beers are sure to take any celebration up a notch!

Clean Up and Compost:

Just as we mentioned in our Zero Waste Festival Guide, it is best to make your set up as easy as possible for those who are less experienced with recycling and compost. Consider setting up a row of bins that are all clearly labeled for compost, recycling, and landfill. You may also want to set another bin out with a bit of water for a location to collect all of the dishes. This can make the cleanup process a bit quicker when bringing in the plates and cutlery for cleaning. For any leftovers, keep your Bee’s Wrap handy. The reusable alternative to plastic wrap can also be used around kindling to start a fire if your party lingers on into the night.

Pick up more tips and knowledge by attending our second annual Zero Waste Fair on June 17, 2017, in Encinitas! For more information on how to adopt a waste-free lifestyle visit WasteFreeSD.org. For more information about our educational programs, contact education@cleansd.org.

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Summer Water Savings Solutions

Today’s blog comes from our Education Manager, Erika. To help all of us to better understand the relationship between our water use and drought conditions, Erika has taken it upon herself to become well-versed in the ways of water conservation. Read on to learn more about how you can help America’s Finest City reach its water conservation goals! 

 

 

It’s not news that San Diego and the rest of California is experiencing severe drought conditions. In April, Governor Brown imposed mandatory restrictions in municipal water use, designed to save 25% of state drinking water supplies. Despite the fact that most San Diegans are aware of our drought, according to the Equinox Center, “the member agencies of San Diego County Water Authority experienced a 2 percent increase in average daily water consumption on a per person basis” in 2014. While it is my opinion, the best way to conserve water is to evaluate your eating and purchasing habits; although these savings won’t be reflected on your water bill. So, here are some ways you can #wastenowater this summer.water conservation

Educate yourself.

Figure out where you are using the most water in your home: watering the lawn, long showers, or perhaps there’s a leak? One of the first steps is learning how to decipher your water bill and read your water meter (and teach the kids in your life to do the same!). Once acquainted with your standard water usage, any abnormalities will alert you of any leaks. Another simple solution to identify toilet leaks is to put food coloring in the fill tank; if dye travels to the bowl, you know you have a leak.
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There are also lots of resources available including free water savings kits from SDG&E – click here to request yours today

Go beyond the bucket.

I’ve been hearing stories of people capturing shower water while waiting for it to heat, which is awesome. Most people use this water for irrigation; however, there are plenty of other uses for this water. Try using it to fill the toilet fill tank, as water for your animals, or to fill ice cube trays and water jugs. If you plan to do laundry or cleaning that day, you can keep it to mop or use for hand washing your delicates. 

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Scrape and Soak.

When washing dishes, make sure to scrape excess food into the trash (or compost) before rinsing. You can use a bucket to minimize excess water use, too. Also, if you are fortunate enough to have a dish washer, make sure to have a full load before starting. Water saving doesn’t have to start with dishes. Use a bowl to wash fruits and veggies and be smart about the size of the pot you use to cook.

Gray your garden.

graywaterIrrigation accounts for a large percentage of water use, especially in the summer. Our solution, go gray(water)! Laundry to landscape graywater systems don’t require permits. Take a course or study up through YouTube on how to be most efficient in your garden. Also, you can never use too much mulch! Mulch and compost can prevent evaporation from your soil and your plants will love it, too! Don’t forget to use water wise and native plans and try out a rain barrel! Whenever I see a sprinkler watering the sidewalk, I adjust the head to point toward the grass.

 

These habits don’t develop overnight, so place sticky notes around places that are atypical of your routine (and don’t forget to recycle the notes once you are done!).

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