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.

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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.


  • Repurposed container
  • Drill (optional)
  • Charcoal (optional)
  • Rocks
  • Succulents
  • Soil
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Who knew a gravy boat could be transformed into such a beautiful planter?


  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.
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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.


  • 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.


ILACSD Debuts Zero Waste Workshops

Emily Nelson, Education Manager

Thanks to the generous support of the City of Encinitas and Healthy Day Partners, I Love A Clean San Diego is currently providing free adult workshops as part of our Sustainable Living Series. After a successful kick-off in November, we’re looking forward to our upcoming workshops in January and February. Read on to learn more!

As a San Diego native, I’ve always taken pride in how our community members rally together during a time of need. Most recently, San Diegans responded impressively to our drought crisis. Between June and August of this year, San Diego county residents decreased their water usage by 27%. We’ve all worked together to take shorter showers and limit our irrigation frequency, but is there more we could be doing?

10.7.15 - SLS (33)At our first Sustainable Living Series workshop – What to Know about H2O – I Love A Clean San Diego staff set out to tackle that very question. After reviewing the history of water in San Diego, participants rolled up their sleeves and dug into our repurposed planter activity. Using items salvaged from Goodwill as pots, we planted succulents, saving water and saving items from the landfill in one fell swoop.

Following a tour of the Ocean Knoll Farm, the site of the Sustainable Living Series workshops, our educators discussed the benefits of selecting native plants as part of your outdoor landscape design. We demonstrated water-wise irrigation options, exploring the benefits of backyard rain barrels and detailing the process of installing a Laundry to Landscape greywater system. Our youngest participants got to “bling their bucket” with reminders of how to conserve water in their home.

Thanks to generous donations from Walter Andersen Nursery in Point Loma and Home Depot in Encinitas, we raffled off a rain barrel and 10 native plants, among other items. Everyone walked away with something to set them on the path to living more a more sustainable life.


Join us for our upcoming zero waste workshops: Zero Waste Home on Saturday January 9th and Zero Waste Lifestyle on February 20th, offered at no cost to you!  

Click the image to register!

Visit for more information and to register.


ILACSD’s Top 5 Scarily Awesome Halloween Crafts (made from items around the house)!

 Halloween is right around the corner, and we have some great crafts that reuse everyday items!  “Witch” will you choose?

1. Many of us have empty plastic milk jugs and an old strand of Christmas lights lying around somewhere.  Clean out the milk containers and draw a spooky ghost face on the plastic.  Poke a hole in the back of the jugs and thread the Christmas lights through them. Plug in and… BOO! You’ve got yourself some glowing luminaries that look great lining your path or on your porch Halloween night.


2. Planning a Halloween party or just want a fun treat for your kids to bring to school? Reuse a six-pack of soda bottles to make colorful candy jars.  Wash the bottles and fill with (small) candies of your choice. Decorate the soda box, and then craft some ghouly witchy paper tags to tie around each bottle.  You could also fill these with healthy snacks, like nuts or trail mix, or, for a really terrifying Halloween for the kids, peas or edamame!


3. Costume shopping for kids can be a real nightmare.  By the time you find the cat ears (fake only, please) at one store, the right shoes at another, and the makeup at a third, you’ve run around down for the past three weeks and are out $100.  Making your own costume with items around the house is a great solution, and it keeps outgrown costumes from ending up in the trash. So grab the nearest kid and a glue stick and get to work transforming that child into a cardboard crocodile or e-friendly Wall-E.


4. Frankenstein made a monster, and you can too (less liability with this version). Create your own Frankenstein’s monster out of an empty tin can.  Paint your can green, draw on some stiches and a mouth, pop on some googly eyes and hair made from cloth or paper.  Screw two bolts in to the monster’s neck, sing “Monster Mash”, and voila!  You’ve become a mad scientist.


5. Still have some plastic milk jugs left over?  This craft is a bit more elaborate, but look how great it turns out!  It will last year to year, and your neighbors will be impressed by your resourcefulness and then you’ll spend the next decade one-upping each other with recycled decorations.


Happy Halloween! (And don’t forget to use a reusable trick-or-treat bag!)