Zero Waste Gift Ideas

Gifting a zero-waste gift is easier than you think! We’ve compiled and tested out some great strategies for zero-waste gift-giving to make your spirits bright while incorporating zero-waste habits.

Wrapping

Cute wrapping paper and fancy bows are often all too tempting at the store. However, going more sustainable with your wrapping can help you personalize your gifts and save money. These are just a few alternative materials that you can use during the holidays to replace single-use wrapping:

  • Fabric Scraps. For smaller gifts, use fabric scraps from an old sewing project like t-shirts, tablecloths, sheets, or curtains, and turn them into something useful. All you need to do is simply cut a square piece, gather it at the top of the box and tie it together.
  • Newspaper. Newspapers make 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 or trash bags but they also make for great gift-wrapping material. You can get creative and draw on them for an added look!
  • Reusable bags. Utilize a reusable bag to wrap your gift. Many reusable bags are sold at grocery stores or thrift stores. Wrapping only lasts a few days but reusable bags can last a lifetime!
  • Cloth, scarf, or handkerchief. Wrap your gift in a vintage handkerchief, cloth napkin, or scarf for two gifts in one!
  • Reused gift bags or gift wrap. Keep all gift bags you receive and reuse them when needed!
  • Or just skip the wrapping! What matters is on the inside, right? 😉 

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. You can even add leaves and pine cones that you pick up on your walks!

For more zero-waste gift wrap ideas, check out our past blog on Sustainable Gift Wrap Solutions.

 

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 second-hand 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 beeswax candles, bird feeders, scarves, or make your own handmade soap.
  • 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!
  • Share your Favorite 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.
  • 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.

The best gifts are always the ones well thought out. Although the holidays are challenging to be zero waste, it gives an extra push to get creative and find environmentally friendly items that will truly be used by the person receiving the gift. We hope you consider these zero-waste practices when finding gifts for your special ones this holiday.

Now introducing a fourth “R”… Repair!

By now, you are likely familiar with the 3 R’s of waste reduction: Reduce, Reuse, And Recycle. But do you know about the fourth R in waste reduction? REPAIR! Choose to repair slightly broken or damaged items and decrease the amount of trash that ends up in our landfills!

Repairing is the process of fixing an item that you own, like a ripped shirt or a broken fridge, and giving it a second life. With easy access to Do It Yourself (DIY) shows and websites like Pinterest and YouTube, many people are choosing to learn how to mend their clothes and fix their household items instead of purchasing new items. In-person FIX-IT Workshops and Repair Cafes are also growing in popularity worldwide and creating community spaces where folks can share their repair skills on clothes, furniture, electrical appliances, bicycles, toys, and more.

When you learn to repair the items that you already own, you can find new ways to personalize your belongings and help conserve valuable resources

Currently, 1 in every 2 people are throwing their unwanted clothes into the trash, generating more than 16 million tons of textile waste per year in the US only. The EPA estimated that 2.2 million tons of waste also comes from our small appliances, with only 5.6% getting recycled. Let’s not add on to trash in the landfills – repair your items instead.

It is easy to see why more people are choosing to repair their items once you know the environmental benefits of it. Here are just a few more of the benefits when you choose to repair:

  • Saves money – For some items, it is less expensive to fix them than to replace them. If a fix isn’t too difficult, you can likely find a how-to online and fix the item yourself, leaving you to only pay for materials. When deciding to either repair or replace an item, most experts say to use the 50-percent rule: if the repair cost is estimated to be 50 percent or less than the amount you paid for the item, it is usually better to repair it.
  • Saves energy – Repairing an item, rather than replacing it, saves energy (and resources) that would be required to make something new. Even if an item can be recycled, such as a refrigerator or computer, energy is still saved by choosing to repair.
  • You learn new skills – Learning a new skill can be extremely rewarding and can help build confidence. Many people who mend and sow their clothes, for example, describe the activity as a stress-releaser that helps them build patience.
  • Keeps items out of landfills– Choosing to repair slightly broken or damaged items, instead of replacing them, keeps items that still have a useable life out of landfills. Often times, just a quick fix can extend the life of household items.

So now you know! Repair helps with waste reduction and can benefit you, your wallet, and the planet! Learn a new skill and help extend the life of the items you already own.

Looking to repair something immediately? Visit WasteFreeSD.org and search for repair shops near you that service anything from a refrigerator to a surfboard

Interested in in learning skills to help you repair items on your own? Check our events page  for FIX-IT Workshops coming up!

 

Coastal Cleanup Day Results: Plastics and Cigarette Butts are Chief Polluters

Coastal Cleanup Day 2019 Group

In just three hours today, more than 6,800 volunteers cleared nearly 145,000 pounds of waste and debris from streets, canyons, parks and the coastline in communities across San Diego County for the 35th annual Coastal Cleanup Day, organized by the nonprofit I Love A Clean San Diego. The day’s environmental protection effort took place at 108 sites around the region and prevented the equivalent of six garbage trucks emptying their contents into the ocean.

For the 35th year in row, since Coastal Cleanup Day’s inception, plastic in all its forms remains the chief polluter collected throughout San Diego County today. From food wrappers to cups and water bottles to fast-food containers, single-use plastics were found across parking lots, public parks, within canyons and around schools.

Cigarette butts remain the most littered individual item. Many cigarette butts were discovered within feet of the water along the coast, trapped in gutters that flow to the ocean, and tossed near waterways in the inland communities. Cigarette butt filters are made of plastic, do not biodegrade and are full of harmful toxins that pollute the environment when left behind.

Among the debris collected were several notable odd items, including a reclining chair, refrigerator, wheelchair, plastic Christmas tree, messages in a bottle at Swami’s State Beach, rice cooker, restaurant pager and a guitar case.

Conservation Tips

  1. Visit WasteFree.org to learn more about how to recycle effectively to reduce contaminated materials from the blue bin. And, see what waste goes to the landfill and use reusable items instead.
  2. Work to eliminate single-use plastics from your lifestyle and switch to reusable alternatives.
  3. Smokers: Please make sure your cigarette is disposed of properly and not discarded on the street. And, if you desire quitting, consult a physician to discuss a plan to stop smoking.

Volunteers included residents, corporate groups, and civic organizations who turned their appreciation for the region’s beauty into action by not only cleaning up waste, but also completing restoration projects such as painting, graffiti removal, non-native vegetation removal, mulching, trail restoration and weeding.

Coastal Cleanup Day was an opportunity for the community members to conserve in more ways than one. As part of the effort to boost zero-waste practices, I Love A Clean San Diego encouraged all volunteers to be more sustainable by choosing to bring reusable items to the cleanup such as reusable water bottles, work gloves and buckets. Volunteers had the opportunity to showcase their creativity and commitment to zero-waste practices by decorating reusable buckets to enter the Bling Your Bucket Contest for a chance to win prizes while celebrating sustainability.

Thank you Sponsors

I Love A Clean San Diego organizes Coastal Cleanup Day in San Diego County in partnership with the California Coastal Commission as part of a global international event led by the Ocean Conservancy. Top tier supporters of Coastal Cleanup Day include Think Blue San Diego, County of San Diego, San Diego Gas & Electric, Wells Fargo, Qualcomm Foundation, Cox, SolarTech and Evans Hotels.

Creek to Bay is Next Major Cleanup

Coastal Cleanup Day is one of two annual countywide cleanups, which includes the Creek to Bay cleanup on April 25, 2020, hosted by I Love A Clean San Diego that engage thousands of local families, community groups and local businesses. Beyond countywide events, I Love A Clean San Diego continues to empower volunteers at hundreds of cleanups targeting specific neighborhoods, parks, and open spaces on an ongoing basis throughout the year. In 2018, the nonprofit mobilized over 34,000 volunteers who removed more than 357,000 pounds of trash and debris from the San Diego County landscape. For more information about upcoming cleanups, workshops, or zero-waste tips, please visit CleanSD.org.

San Diego County Volunteers Needed for Coastal Cleanup Day

Sea turtle logo for Coastal Cleanup Day

The 35th annual Coastal Cleanup Day is nearly here. I Love A Clean San Diego (ILACSD) seeks 8,000 volunteers to help beautify more than 100 sites across San Diego County on Saturday,September 21, 2019 from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. ILACSD has coordinated this event regionally for the past 34 years, successfully mobilizing thousands of volunteers throughout the county. Volunteers of all ages and abilities are encouraged to sign up for a site in their neighborhood and help leave a positive impact on the entire region. Online registration is now open at CleanupDay.org.

Coastal Cleanup Day covers more than just the shoreline. ILACSD focuses the majority of its cleanup efforts along inland waterways and canyons. With 80 percent of marine debris coming from inland territories, volunteers learn first-hand the importance of keeping trash out of the region’s waterways, which carries trash and pollutants directly to the ocean through the storm drain system. In 2018, 9,174 volunteers removed over 148,000 pounds of trash, recyclables, and green waste from San Diego and Tijuana regions that otherwise would have polluted the beloved coastline and the Pacific Ocean.

ILACSD invites volunteers to take waste reduction into their own hands by pledging to “Bring Your Own” reusable items when they register at CleanupDay.org. Each volunteer who brings a reusable water bottle, work gloves, and/or a bucket to collect litter significantly reduces the need for single-use bags and disposable gloves. Prizes will be awarded to the best decorated buckets entered into this year’s Bling Your Bucket contest.

The CleanSwell app is another option for volunteers to help cut back on waste produced at this year’s Coastal Cleanup Day. Volunteers are encouraged to download the Clean Swell app to be used in place of paper data cards to track the debris collected on event day. The app is free and available to download for both iOS and Android devices.

Sony Electronics has returned to sponsor this year’s Coastal Cleanup Day Photo Contest where volunteers have the opportunity to win a Sony Cybershot Camera. Volunteers are encouraged to submit a photo of their Coastal Cleanup Day experience that best fits the theme, Blast From The Past. Photos for the Bling Your Bucket and Sony Photo Contests may be submitted to iloveacleansd@gmail.com.

ILACSD organizes Coastal Cleanup Day in San Diego County in partnership with the California Coastal Commission as part of a global international event led by the Ocean Conservancy. Top tier supporters of Coastal Cleanup Day include the County of San Diego, Think Blue San Diego, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), Wells Fargo, Qualcomm Foundation, Evans Hotels, Port of San Diego, Cox Communications, SolarTech, Republic Waste Services, and KFMB-TV / CBS 8.  Several corporate supporters plan to mobilize employee volunteers and their families at cleanup sites across the county including SDG&E which has accounted for more than 8,000 corporate volunteers over the last 16 years.

COME TOGETHER: Kids’ Ocean Day 2017

I Love A Clean San Diego once again partnered with the California Coastal Commission for our 19th annual Kids’ Ocean Day. On May 18, 2017, over 900 students, teachers, and volunteers united together to clean up Mission Beach and the surrounding area. These dedicated 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders rallied together from 7 local schools to protect our oceans by collecting thousands of pieces of litter and marine debris. Common items found during the cleanup included small pieces of plastic, snack wrappers, straws, and Styrofoam. The students’ cooperative energy and childlike verve were tangible on the beach that day.

Students from Porter Elementary show off the waste they collected and their shirts decorated with this year’s theme – COME TOGETHER.
Students from Porter Elementary show off the waste they collected and their shirts decorated with this year’s theme – COME TOGETHER.

Following the cleanup, students united with community volunteers to form an aerial art image. One of the most common questions we receive is, “how do you make the aerial art happen?” Here’s a peek behind the curtain:

Each year, I Love A Clean San Diego’s education department designs an aerial art image that follows the statewide theme for all 5 Kids’ Ocean Day partners. On the day of the event, the ILACSD aerial art team assembles before daybreak to produce the much-anticipated image. Equipped with irrigation flags, surveyor’s tape, and extra-long measuring tapes, our amazing staff spend the wee hours of the morning meticulously plotting each and every point of the aerial artwork image. This year’s theme – COME TOGETHER – draws on the power we have when united in our efforts to protect and defend the oceans and coastlines from pollution.

As students began to file into the formation, anticipation was high; everyone was excited to see the helicopter fly overhead, photographer inside, capturing our hard work from the sky. It was a gratifying moment to see all the students, teachers, volunteers, and staff sit in stillness within the image for 10 brief minutes. After months of planning, we were all rewarded with a powerful piece of art so vast it can only be seen from the sky.KAAB2017finalimage

The success of the day could be measured by the faces of the beaming students. They felt a sense of accomplishment from doing their part to help clean up the environment. The students now stand united as true “Scholars for the Sea!”

Kids’ Ocean Day is a magnificent event that helps to bring environmental awareness and stewardship to the forefront of these students’ minds. It is a day of joining forces and demonstrating to the kids what it means to work together as one. The students walked away from Kids’ Ocean Day feeling empowered and armed with the understanding that their personal choices have power and their everyday actions will impact our environment and our future.

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Meet Alaine & Katie – Our New Education Specialists

Meet Katie & Alaine – Our New Education Specialists!

Hi, everyone! My name is Alaine, and I’m one of the newest Education Specialist at I Love A Clean San Diego!alaine1

I received my degree in Marine Science with a minor in Political Science from the University of San Diego and, within a year of graduating, found that marine and environmental education was the route for me. I quickly realized the joy and fulfillment of inspiring others to learn about their environment and be mindful of the power of their decisions. After working with the education teams at Disney Animal Programs and the San Diego Zoo, I wanted to gain experience in the non-profit world and, as an action-driven organization that shares my values, I knew I Love A Clean San Diego would be a great fit! Since joining ILACSD in mid-March, I have learned so much about everything that goes into creating and implementing successful presentations, programs, and events that help to fulfill our mission of actively conserving the environment.alaine2

Rooted in my work is an underlying passion to understand and spread awareness about our reliance on and connection with our oceans. My love for the ocean began pretty early in my life and has always served as a constant theme in my career. This passion was catapulted in 7th grade when I visited family in Baja California Sur and went diving with whale sharks. Observing and sharing an environment with these giant, incredible animals had an immensely profound impact on me. Even now, more than a decade later, I consider that to be one of the most defining moments of my career and life. My hope as an educator is to ignite that same spark in the students I interact with on a daily basis.alaine3

My favorite part about working with I Love A Clean San Diego is the opportunity to connect San Diegans, particularly youth and Spanish speakers, with the beautiful natural environment we are fortunate enough to live amongst. It is so rewarding to see the burst of interest students have when they are connected with nature, introduced to new topics, or realize that small changes they make can have a huge combined impact. ILACSD truly is passion in action, and I get to see that come to life every day. I cannot wait to be a part of the various events we have coming up this year and continue to empower individuals to improve the health and beauty of our San Diego!alaine4


 

Hi there, my name is Katie and I am one of the newest educators here at I Love A Clean San Diego.katie1

I am excited to work with ILACSD to help educate and inspire San Diego County in taking steps to being the most environmentally engaged community we have been to date. My love for the natural environment has been constantly reinforced by a variety of factors in my life; hailing from a small farm town and exploring the natural world in my backyard, from backpacking and camping in National Parks, to relocating near the rhythm of the ocean, I truly feel how grounding and important nature is to the human psyche.katie2

While obtaining my bachelor’s degree at USD, I completed two senior internships, one at the Museum of Man in Balboa Park and one with a local environmental nonprofit. In tandem with my schooling, both internships gave me increasingly important professional skills that began to open my mind to what career avenue I wanted to take. With that clarity, I found my passion at the intersection of people and the environment. I am a lover of culture and humanity, but recognize the environmental uncertainty we face on this beautiful planet we call home. So I’ve pursued a career in environmental education.

One environmental topic I am particularly passionate about is zero waste – a philosophy that mimics natural cycles in eliminating waste by recapturing resources. I firmly believe in being a conscious consumer and understanding how products are created, packaged, and processed from start to finish. Treading lightly has always been a goal of mine by refusing single-use items, purchasing less packaged foods (I’m currently snacking on trail mix from the bulk section housed in an old glass PB jar!), taking the time to understand how to properly dispose of items, and simply slowing down.

My passion for adopting a zero waste lifestyle stems from a job I held in college as an ocean kayak guide in La Jolla. Spending my days in the “office,” I began to see how much pollution and plastic is floating out there. Our own backyard, in beautiful Southern California where the world-renowned Scripps Research Institute is located, where a Marine Protected Area is designated, where we choose to relax and swim, is spoiled by us. I once heard a sobering comment about humanity and our existence; the speaker said, “Imagine someone drilling a sediment core sample to look at the historical layers of the earth’s soil, our defining layer will undoubtedly be plastic.”katie3

I have a long way to go when it comes to adopting a true zero waste lifestyle, but every step counts. Every choice is momentum forward, and I invite you to join me, join I Love A Clean San Diego, and join your community. Let’s rally together for the health of the planet and all the amazing creatures we share with it.

Join Katie and the rest of the ILACSD staff in our efforts to foster a zero waste lifestyle 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.

5 Outdoor Activities for the Eco-friendly Adventurer

 

sunsetcliffsA Southern California summer is not made for staying inside. The sun’s too bright, the sky’s too blue, and it’s important for you to get outside and enjoy time with your family and friends. Many of the I Love A Clean San Diego staff have already taken time to enjoy our gorgeous scenery properly. From all of our outdoor experiences, we decided to share a list of environmentally sound activities we love to help get you outside this beautiful time of year.

  1. Tide-pooling! We get to live here in California, one of the few places in the world that has tide pools and they are a must when it comes to experiencing San Diego. Grab a friend and head out to Cabrillo National Marine Sanctuary, Sunset Cliffs, or La Jolla Shores. Explore all the critters in tide pools. Make sure to tread lightly, because you are walking on their homes.
  2. Surfing. We live in Southern California, which is known internationally for surfing opportunities. The more you surf, the more you get a first-hand experience of interacting with the ocean and all of the creatures there.

    Beautiful views while hiking San Diego trails
    Beautiful views along San Diego trails
  3. Hiking. Hiking is free, fun exercise that anyone can do. Be sure to pack water in your reusable water bottle and head out on an adventure! The main rule with hiking is pack out what you pack in, leave only footprints, and take only pictures. Enjoy all the nature surrounding you, but be certain to leave it better than you found it. If you like the idea of regularly protecting your favorite hiking spot, join us through Adopt-A-Beach or Adopt-A-Canyon program where you will regularly visit and maintain your favorite spots.
  4. Kayaking. If you are someone who prefers to be above the water rather than in the water, this is the summer sport for you. Kayak at La Jolla Shores, Mission Bay, or any waterway near you and discover the wildlife.
  5. Stand-up Paddleboarding. A personal favorite of mine, SUPing is a great way to leisurely move across the water and discover wildlife. Whether you decide to surf, kayak, or SUP, don’t forget to grab any litter you see while paddling in or out to drop in the nearest trash bin when you finish! This helps us continue to work on the goal of leaving nature in San Diego better than you found it.

Have more tips to enjoy San Diego’s outdoors while remaining environmentally friendly? Share them with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Come Together This Kids’ Ocean Day

2016 kids ocean day volunteers at beach
Alaine
Today’s blog post was written by Education Specialist, Alaine

We’re counting down the days for the 24th Annual Kids’ Ocean Day on Thursday, May 18th at South Mission Beach!

Last year, 950 students, teachers, and volunteers called for a “sea change” with this powerful image, reminding individuals to be conscious of their impact on the Pacific Ocean:

2016 kids ocean day aerial view
2016 Kids’ Ocean Day Aerial Design

 

This year, students from eight Title 1 schools across the county, along with students across four other cities in California, will attend an assembly about ocean conservation, learning how we’re connected to the ocean through the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the beaches we use for recreation. Students will then put their knowledge to practice and get hands-on experience protecting our marine environment.

2016 kids ocean day volunteers at beach

They will begin their day picking up litter across the beach to learn firsthand how different kinds of pollution travel through the watershed and harm our ocean. For some students, this unique experience will be their first visit to the beach!

kids' ocean day volunteer

Following their hard work cleaning up the beach, each student will make their mark with our aerial art image. As small, individual dots in the big picture, they will unite to call humans to “come together” as protectors of our environment. Just how hundreds of people create a beautiful and powerful image in the sand, our combined small actions have a significant impact on the condition of our oceans. With over 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating in the world’s oceans, and a Pacific Garbage Patch growing to be twice the size of Texas, this is a crucial time to unite our efforts and address global problems to create a cleaner future.

2017 kids ocean day aerial design
2017 kids ocean day aerial design

If you would like to be a part of this event, we’re looking for adult volunteers (18 and older) to lead students during the cleanup and the aerial art. If you’re interested, please register here. As a thank you, all volunteers will receive a photo of the completed aerial art image as a keepsake! Stay tuned to our social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) on May 18th to see the final image.

8 Ways to Reduce Your Ecological Footprint

reduce your ecological footprint with cycling!

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 estimated 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. The best step is to start refusing plastic as much as you can every day.
  2. Switch to Renewable Energy. According to the EPA, the energy sector is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the US. 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 in 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. Reduce your Waste. Our landfills are quickly filling up. The Miramar landfill is expected to close in 2030 – then what will we do? 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.
  5. 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.
  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.
  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. farmers market

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

2017 Creek to Bay Site Captain Profile – Sydney Phillips

volunteer for the creek to bay cleanup in San Diego
IMG_7027
Today’s blog was written by Marketing Intern, Noelle

Each year, I Love A Clean San Diego hosts the Creek to Bay Cleanup with over 100 cleanup sites throughout San Diego County. This large-scale annual cleanup would not be possible without the help of our volunteer site captains.

Coming into its 15th year, the Creek to Bay Cleanup will see both new and returning site captains. ILACSD has been so fortunate to have help from teachers who are committed to getting their students involved in activities that directly make an impact on their community. Today, we’re spotlighting Sydney Phillips.

Ms. Phillips first got involved with Creek to Bay as a site captain when she started teaching an 8th grade AVID class at Potter Junior High in Fallbrook 5 years ago. AVID is a class that prepares students for college readiness and success by providing academic and social support. With the general high school graduation requirement of students to volunteer in their community, the Creek to Bay Cleanup is a great opportunity for the students to receive service hours that go towards their graduation.

As an educator, Ms. Phillips is very passionate about empowering her students, both as individuals and as members of their community, and making them aware of the difference they can make. Her cleanup site at Live Oak Park in Fallbrook is close to the junior high where she teaches so the students are familiar with it and are invested in keeping it clean. She says that events like Creek to Bay are important for the community and the students because “living in a rural community, students (can) have a hard time to complete community service hours and coming into high school, hours are required so getting a jumpstart on it while they’re in 7th or 8th grade empowers them.”

Potter Junior High School Class C2B Sydney Phillips

Ms. Phillips favorite part about Creek to Bay is the bonding experience for the students, not only between 7th and 8th grade classes but also with the high schoolers that get involved in the event as well. There are high school AVID classes from the area who have volunteered in the past and she says that having the common experience is really special and “it’s exciting and fun because they get to do something they normally wouldn’t. At the end, they get to celebrate and commemorate the day with a picture together.”

This year, she’s looking forward to the Bling Your Bucket competition in which volunteers have an opportunity to decorate buckets to be used for cleaning. She says that each year the students love that activity and afterwards, the buckets get donated to the custodial staff at their school. To anyone who’s debating whether or not to volunteer for Creek to Bay, Ms. Phillips would say, “Absolutely do it. It’s empowering to see that you are having a direct impact on your community.”

By volunteering at the Creek to Bay Cleanup, we can help reduce our impact on the local environment. Keep San Diego beautiful and show it some love! Save the Date for the Creek to Bay Cleanup happening on Earth Day, April 22nd by registering today at CreektoBay.org!

A big thank you to Ms. Sydney Phillips for her work as a site captain and to Potter Junior High for supporting I Love A Clean San Diego’s Creek to Bay Cleanup!