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Tips for a sustainable summer season

SAN DIEGO COUNTY – As the summer season gets started and residents gear up to enjoy activities at local beaches, backyards, and parks, I Love A Clean San Diego and the County of San Diego are encouraging residents to make a conscious effort towards reducing waste. By recycling right, swapping single-use items for reusable alternatives, and opting for finger foods over packaged items, they can collectively reduce their environmental impact this season.

"Summer activities like grilling and picnics are the perfect opportunities to instill sustainable practices in a fun way," said Amy Unruh, waste recovery manager at I Love A Clean San Diego. "By implementing simple yet effective changes, we can enjoy a memorable season while being mindful of our impact on the environment."

With the increase in outdoor gatherings and events during the summer, it's essential to be conscious of the amount of waste generated during this season. "With organic waste recycling and composting available to nearly every unincorporated county resident, it's easier than ever to ensure your food scraps and food-soiled paper get turned into something beneficial, like compost or renewable energy, instead of rotting away in a landfill creating methane, a potent driver of global climate change," said Steve Weihe, a recycling specialist for the county's Solid Waste Planning and Recycling section.

I Love A Clean San Diego and the County of San Diego recommend the following practices for a sustainable and enjoyable summer season:

On the grill

Making conscious choices can start during the grilling process. A tight-fitting lid cooks foods more evenly while using less fuel. Use reusable grilling tools and accessories like metal skewers. Use condiments and food that you already have in your pantry or refrigerator.

Opt for finger foods over packaged items

Opt for finger foods and fresh produce over packaged snacks and individually wrapped treats. Encourage guests to enjoy delicious, homemade appetizers and seasonal fruits and vegetables, which not only minimize packaging waste, but also promote healthier eating habits. Visit your local farmer's market to find locally grown ingredients.

Embrace reusables

Say goodbye to single-use items and embrace reusable alternatives. Swap plastic cutlery, plates, and cups with durable options made from bamboo, stainless steel, or glass. Reusable napkins come in various patterns and colors that can add a decorative touch to your gatherings. Avoid food waste, save your leftovers in reusable containers, and compost what's left.

Recycle right

Ensure that all recyclable materials, such as plastic and glass bottles, aluminum cans, and cardboard and paper products are placed in designated recycling bins. Recycling Right conserves valuable resources, saves landfill space and helps ensure collected materials are recycled into new materials that manufacturers want and need. Residents can find recycling guides at

Residents can learn about sustainable practices by registering for one of I Love A Clean San Diego's workshops and webinars at

Submitted by I Love A Clean San Diego.


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