Posts Tagged 'zero waste san diego'

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.

8 Ways to Reduce Your Ecological Footprint

Today’s blog was written by Marketing Manager, Pia.

Ecological footprint: the impact of a person or community on the environment, expressed as the amount of land required to sustain their use of natural resources

It’s been estimated that it would take 3.9 Earths to sustain the world population if everyone lived like we do in the US. When considering factors like food, water-use, waste and transportation, it’s clear there’s an urgent need for more sustainable daily actions. Luckily, you can start creating these habits today!

Check out the Global Footprint Calculator from the Global Footprint Network to understand your ecological footprint. Then, incorporate these suggestions to reduce your ecological footprint and make a positive impact!

  1. Reduce Your Use of Single-Use, Disposable Plastics. Did you know all the plastic we’ve ever made still exists? We use disposable plastic shopping bags for an average of 12 minutes before we discard them (and yes, there are still plastic shopping bags at clothing stores, hardware stores, and more). Other single-use plastics like straws, cups, and utensils aren’t used for much longer. Make the switch to reusable items, such as reusable water bottle, reusable shopping bag, and reusable cups.
  2. Switch to Renewable Energy. According to the EPA, the electricity sector was the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the US in 2014. If you have the budget and living situation to switch to solar, look into installation options. If you don’t, there are still many ways to reduce your use of nonrenewable energy. Look into renewable energy options through programs like SDG&E’s EcoChoice. The program allows you to switch 50-100% of your energy bill to renewable energy from clean sources. Best of all: it’s easy and affordable! Log in to your account for an estimate and reduce your ecological footprint in a click. renewable energy idea san diego
  3. Eat Less Meat. The meat industry is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, along with its other issues such as animal welfare, water-use, and land degradation. Reduce your ecological footprint by enjoying vegetarian-friendly meal days and supporting local meat sources.
  4. Recycle Responsibly. Recycling helps conserve resources and reduces air and water pollution. It also saves space in our overcrowded landfills. Become a recycling rockstar by knowing the rules for your area and recycling as much as you can. For recycling locations along with repair, reuse and repurpose ideas, visit our recycling and zero waste database, WasteFreeSD.org.
  5. Reduce your Waste. Our landfills are quickly filling up. Do your part by reducing your waste. Reduce packaging waste in the kitchen by buying in bulk, eating a veggie-based diet, and composting. Reduce your bathroom product waste by concocting your own formulas, buying reusables, and forgoing unnecessary products. Be sure to recycle plastic bottles, toilet paper rolls, and other recyclable bathroom materials. Learn more about zero waste here.
  6. Drive Less. Our cars release many pollutants into the air and our oceans. When you’re able to travel without a car, take advantage! San Diegans can enjoy year-round walking and biking trips to the store, coffee shop, or farmer’s market. When you have to drive, consider grouping errands together or taking public transit. If you rely on your car, make the switch to an electric vehicle. Not only are they better for the environment, but you won’t have to buy gas ever again. bike to reduce ecological footprint
  7. Reduce Your Water Use. Water is precious. We only have to look at the last few years in California to understand why. More water is used in our yards than any other category for the average household. Transform your yard into a water-wise oasis to conserve water. Find ways to incorporate water savings techniques around your home, such as using rain barrels, washing clothes when you have a full load, and stopping unnecessary faucet use. More tips from Be Water Wise.
  8. Support Local. Our stuff travels more than we do. Whether it’s clothes, food or supplies, many items have a huge ecological footprint. Support local, transparent companies and farms to reduce your footprint. A great place to start? Shop your local farmer’s market. san diego farmers market

Have more tips to reduce your ecological footprint? Share them with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Zero Waste Festival Guide

Today’s blog was written by Senior Director of Operations, Natalie!

With music festival season coming up, thousands will be flocking to Indo for Coachella and Stagecoach as well as many other festivals around the country. Navigating how to be as eco-friendly as possible while enjoying these festivals can be tricky. Often, it takes just a few steps to plan ahead so you can reduce your waste, protect the environment, and save a little money too. Here are a few tips to plan for a sustainable festival season.

Getting There
Carpool! We took an RV to Stagecoach in Indio last year. We all met up in San Diego to ride together rather than meet up at the festival in separate cars. This saved a lot of money from parking fees and logistical headaches at the festival as well. Look for carpool incentives at upcoming festivals.

Enjoying the Festival
In the desert during long festival days, it’s important to stay hydrated. Buying individual water bottles was not only wasteful for the environment, it also meant waiting in long lines to keep buying water and spending a lot on marked up bottle prices. We planned ahead and brought hydration backpacks that we could refill at the water refill stations around the festival grounds. Reusable water bottles would work very well too. This not only saved on what would have been numerous single-use plastic bottles, but also saved us a lot of money and fewer water trips, which meant more time spent enjoying the concert!

camelbak backpack

Plan ahead if you’re camping. Unfortunately, there was a rule about no glass on the campgrounds for Stagecoach when I went. Plan ahead with reusable plastic or aluminum glassware, as well as reusable utensils and plates. We found that all-in-one utensils worked really well to avoid having to wash as many utensils while camping. Reusable cloth napkins are a great option for napkins—it was fun giving everyone brightly colored tea towels so they could remember which one was theirs. We planned most of our meals to avoid needing utensils or plates all together to make cleanup easy and waste-free. For food, we brought fruits and veggies that we pre-sliced at home, opted for handheld foods like hotdogs and sandwiches, and utilized items with very minimal packaging. It was tempting to bring a bunch of prepackaged meals like microwaveable individually wrapped breakfast sandwiches and mini chip bags, but instead choose homemade guacamole in a Tupperware, homemade muffins, bulk snack foods in reusable bags, and other more eco-friendly choices.

reusable napkin options

More Tips

  • Composting: I brought a small bin with a tight sealing lid to house our food scraps to take home with us to compost. I was so excited to find compost bins around the festival for food scraps while inside!
  • For beverages around the campsite, we brought as much as we could in bulk to avoid excess packaging from single serving beverages. Beer in stainless steel growlers were great to have on hand so we could enjoy our favorite craft beers while abiding by the no glass rule. When we needed to, we opted for beer in cans since they could get recycled.
  • Set up your campsite to make it easy on those with less knowledge of recycling and composting. As the trip organizer, I set up bags for trash, a bin for food scraps, and a bag for recycling, and I gave everyone some quick reminders based on the food we had so it was easier to remember. I also double-checked the bags before we closed them up to make sure items were correctly placed.

More sustainable and zero waste tips on festival websites:

Zero Waste New Year’s Resolutions

trash-art-twitter-emily

Today’s blog post was written by Education Manager, Emily!

The new year gives us a chance to set intentions for our lives. At the close of every December, I set goals for the coming year, write them on an index card (or recycled piece of paper!), and post them somewhere visible. Unlike more general New Year’s resolutions, I typically have success meeting my goals because I make them specific and review them regularly to keep focus.

As you’re looking ahead to 2017, consider setting goals to adopt a zero waste lifestyle. By doing so, you will reduce the amount of trash sent to the landfill, become more sustainable, and minimize your carbon footprint. We’ve gathered a few ideas to help you get started.

  • Buy local. Find your local farmer’s market and shop there once a month. Shopping locally reduces fossil fuel-based transportation costs.

img_8048

  • Conduct a waste audit to see what you’re currently throwing away. Spend a week collecting your trash to understand what you’re throwing away. Then, select one disposable item you can replace with a reusable alternative. Some ideas: reusable produce bags, safety razors, handkerchiefs, chopsticks, stainless steel straws, beeswax wraps, and sandwich bags.
  • Be mindful of energy use. Start by selecting one appliance to unplug when not in use. Toasters, cell phone chargers, and fans are a great place to start. Or look into more sustainable energy options, like the SDG&E EcoChoice Program.
  • Reduce food waste. Learn how to properly store fresh produce to slow rotting.
  • Buy secondhand. Shop at a thrift store 3 times throughout the year.
  • Learn a new skill. Canning, gardening, and sewing are great skills for your zero waste journey. Or learn to do your own car maintenance or bicycle repair.
  • Shave two minutes off your shower time. Most shower heads have a flow of 2 gallons per minute. This minor adjustment will save four gallons per shower. If we make a very modest assumption that you shower once a week, that equates to 208 gallons saved over the course of the year. If you shower daily, that’s 1,460 gallons saved. For more ideas, check out The Hidden Water We Use by National Geographic.
  • Try one recipe a week using bulk items. Soups, grains, granola bars, and baked goods are great dishes for bulk success!
  • Plant an herb garden. You’ll only need to pick the amount you need per recipe instead of letting half a bunch of mint wilt in the back of the fridge. If you’re short on space, try a vertical garden.
  • Learn! Read an article a week about zero waste and sustainability, listen to podcasts, watch videos, find books, and get inspired by others.
  • Rethink your main mode of transportation. Research electric vehicles on the market. Even if you’re not currently in the market for a new vehicle, it’s useful to stay abreast of the current offerings so you can be a more informed consumer when the time comes.
  • Carpool. Carpool to one event or outing per month.
  • Plant native. Native plants require less water and maintenance. They also provide habitat for birds, butterflies, and other native wildlife.
  • Go vegetarian 3 days a week. Learn more about why with this YouTube video.

cv_afterschool_compost-4

  • Start composting. Check out our Classroom Composting lesson plan for basics about starting a vermicompost.
  • Reduce paper use. Assess any print publication subscriptions (or junk mail), and find one to eliminate. Once you’ve read past copies of the periodical, contact your local library, elementary school, or scouting group to see if they’re interested in using your old copies.
  • Attend a community cleanup. Not only will you be removing debris from our environment, but dedicating time to collect litter from the street will spur your motivation to reduce your reliance on single-use items. Subscribe to our Facebook events to stay up-to-date on our public cleanups!
  • Get outside. Hike, stargaze, bike, swim, camp and explore. The more you connect with the natural world, the more dedicated you will be to preserving it for generations to come.

photo-jul-18

Zero Waste Gift Guide

education-backup-photo-1000x660

Today’s blog comes from Education Specialist and Zero Waste Workshop Teacher, Grace!

Zero waste and gift giving don’t always go hand-in-hand. Picking out the perfect gift for friends and family can be a lot of fun, but to factor in packaging waste, longevity of the gift, gift wrapping, cards and more…it’s no wonder it can feel overwhelming to someone with a zero waste lifestyle! Have no fear—we’re here to help! We’ve compiled and tested out some great strategies for zero waste gift giving to make your spirits bright while also sticking to your zero waste habits.

Wrapping
Cute wrapping paper and fancy bows are often all too tempting at the store but going more sustainable with your wrapping can help you personalize your gifts and save money.

  • Newspaper. Newspaper makes for a wonderful wrapping paper. Comic pages are especially fun for kids (and adults)!
  • Paper bags (for those times you forget your reusable grocery bags). Many people reuse their paper bags as book covers, trash bags and more. They also make for great gift wrapping material.
  • Reusable bags. Utilize a reusable bag to wrap your gift.
  • Cloth, scarf or handkerchief. Wrap your gift in a vintage handkerchief, cloth napkin or scarf for two gifts in one!
  • Scratch paper. For smaller gifts, scratch paper can be utilized as a wrapping paper.
  • Reused gift bags or gift wrap. Keep all gift bags you receive and reuse!
  • Or just skip the wrapping!

Be sure to decorate and personalize your gifts once they’re wrapped. Use twine instead of bows and make your own cards or tags out of scratch paper, old tags, scraps or business cards. For more zero waste gift wrap ideas, check out our past blog on Sustainable Gift Wrap Solutions.

 

secret-santa-12-16-17

 

Zero Waste Gift Ideas

There are many directions you can go to incorporate zero waste practices into your gift giving and bring even more meaning to your gifts. In general, look for gifts with minimal or no packaging and figure out what your family and friends really want and need. Sometimes the best zero waste gift is the one that the recipient will enjoy for years to come!

  • Eco-friendly items. Help friends and family be more sustainable with gifts like reusable cups, stainless steel straws or travel utensil sets.
  • Shop local. Buy locally roasted coffee, find unique gifts at farmers markets and support local boutiques. Often, local companies are more sustainable with packaging and materials.
  • Purchase repurposed items such as glass cups made from beer bottles.
  • Shop at thrift or secondhand stores. Games, books and kitchen items are great categories to find secondhand to prevent consumer waste and save some money.
  • Support a nonprofit. Give a gift to an organization making a difference in your community on behalf of a friend or family member.
  • Make DIY Gifts such as candles (see this tutorial), bird feeders (tutorial here) or scarfs (see this DIY).
  • Invest in an experience. Purchase a cooking lesson, schedule a tour pass to discover a new part of San Diego or book tickets for a theater show. Giving the gift of an experience can also be a great way to share time together!
  • Handmade soaps. Check out local shops or farmers markets. Or make your own handmade soap.
  • Food. Share your latest baking creation! Make cake pops, truffles or gummy bears. Be sure to think of zero waste friendly packaging options such as cloth napkins, beeswax saran wrap, Mason jars or reusable tins. Follow the I Love A Clean San Diego Pinterest page for DIY ideas for food and other gifts.
  • Buy a membership. Art lover? Give them a museum membership. Surfer? Purchase a membership for an organization like Surfrider Foundation. Foodie? Get a membership that supports an organization AND gives discounts to local restaurants like Slow Food Urban San Diego.

A New Look is Coming to WasteFreeSD

There is some exciting news in store for I Love A Clean San Diego’s Recycling and Household Hazardous Waste database, WasteFreeSD.org. For those who have not visited the site, WasteFreeSD.org is an online database full of recycling resources and utilizes a search bar to generate results that are organized by priority and then by proximity to your zip code. Residents and businesses in San Diego County have instant recycling information at their fingertips 24/7.

WFSD before

Currently, WasteFreeSD.org provides recycling information, but more resources are coming soon!

So what’s the exciting news you ask? WasteFreeSD.org is getting a much needed makeover! The database is about 10 years old and although we have grown to love it for the services it provides, the functionality of the website needed an upgrade. In addition to the functionality of the website, the message had to take an innovative turn as well. WasteFreeSD.org has been San Diego County’s recycling database, the newly redesigned site is going to be a zero waste database. That’s huge! That means that when you complete a search for more information about a certain item, options to Reduce, Repurpose, Repair, Donate, and Recycle will populate. As San Diego County strives to send less to the landfill, we’re excited  to help local residents and businesses do their part through WasteFreeSD.org.

Newly redesigned features to WasteFreeSD.org include:

  • User friendly search bar
  • Results follow the zero waste hierarchy: Repair, Repurpose, Donate, Recycle, Dispose
  • Showcases more of I Love A Clean San Diego’s blogs
  • RepairSD.org will be housed under one website (no need for two separate searches!)
WFSD after

Sneak peek at the newly redesigned WasteFreeSD.org!!

The newly designed WasteFreeSD will be a more interactive and overall easier for San Diegans to use and conserve resources. The main page will highlight helpful articles, blogs, and infographics. Most importantly it will highlight our partners who help keep San Diego looking beautiful! One of our first featured spots will be SDG&E’s Marketplace, an interactive search tool that helps you find energy efficient products. SDG&E’s Marketplace allows for residents and businesses to shop around for products that are energy efficient, qualify for rebates, and are cost effective. WasteFreeSD will be released late-August but users can visit SDG&E’s Marketplace now!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest for the latest news about WasteFreeSD.orgJoin us as San Diego leads the way to truly waste-free landfills!

Zero Waste Home Decor

Grace- 131x172Today’s blog comes from Grace, one of our Education Specialists! If you want to create less waste in 2016 get started today with one of our tried and true zero waste crafts! If you like what you find here, be sure to come to our next free workshop this Saturday, February 20th to learn first-hand from our educators like Grace! 

The average person in San Diego County makes 1,825 pounds of trash in just one year – that’s 5 pounds a day! This abundance of trash can have a variety of consequences, including filling up our landfills and harming animals if this trash makes its way into our environment. In an effort to inspire San Diegans to kick-start a zero waste lifestyle, I Love A Clean San Diego has incorporated the following DIY repurposing projects into our Sustainable Living Series workshops. Repurposing projects not only save items from the landfill, but also reduce the amount of new resources that need to be purchased by upcycling the resources we already have.

10.7.15 - SLS (22)

Toy trucks, shoes, tea cups, you name it! Any common item can be transformed into a succulent planter with a little creativity.

Planting succulents in repurposed containers: This project utilizes drought resistant succulents that are perfect for our dry Southern California climate. Your succulent “pot” can be anything from an antique tea cup to a shoe.

Supplies:

  • Repurposed container
  • Drill (optional)
  • Charcoal (optional)
  • Rocks
  • Succulents
  • Soil
10.7.15 - SLS (40)

Who knew a gravy boat could be transformed into such a beautiful planter?

Instructions:

  1. Select your repurposed container.
  2. Some drainage in the container is preferred. If possible drill a hole in the bottom of the container. A diamond drill bit may be needed depending on the material OR cover the bottom of the container with a thin layer of charcoal to absorb excess water.
  3. Add a layer of river rocks at the bottom of the container.
  4. Fill container ¾ with soil.
  5. Arrange succulents to your liking.
    • For indoor arrangements, widely space plants in the same container for maximum exposure to sunlight.
  6. Once complete, give your succulents a soak with a spray bottle.
Zero Waste Home - Jan 2016 (40)

Finished pieces from our Zero Waste Home Workshop.


Repurposing glass bottles:
This project takes your empty glass bottles from one party and upcycles them into decorations for your next! Any sized bottle can be transformed into a vase or centerpiece.

Supplies:

  • Glass beverage bottles
  • Goo Gone
  • Paint or Spray Paint
  • Twine

Zero Waste Home - Jan 2016 (85)Instructions:

  1. Remove labels and clean residual glue from bottles with Goo Gone.
  2. Swirl the inside of the bottle with paint OR Spray paint the outside of the bottle.
  3. Wrap selected areas of the bottle in twine.
  4. Variations can include using newspaper, old book pages, metallic markers, tissue paper and ribbon.

Try your hand at a DIY project at our next Zero Waste workshop! Register for our Zero Waste Shopping workshop on February 20th at Ocean Knoll Farm.

Zero-Waste-Living-Workshop---Feb-2016


ILACSD Logo

Subscribe to ecoBLOGic

Enter your email address to receive notifications of new posts by email!

Join 8,925 other followers

Archives

Follow Us On Twitter


%d bloggers like this: