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The Low-Down | How Can I Help?

The Low-Down

The most important aspects for a sustainable San Diego is our ability to
preserve our natural resources by creating less waste, increasing energy efficiency, consuming water sustainably, and reducing air pollution.

Sounds like a challenge, but its pretty easy when you consider that by using or doing less you get more. Reducing our consumption of natural resources to a sustainable level is convenient, simple, and great for our community.


1. Reduce Air Pollution by taking Public Transportation
2. Natural Cotton Fiber insulation diverts denim out of the landfill and safely processes the blue jeans into a superior insulating product. Learn More.
3. Increase Energy Effciency by maintaining an air leak free home.
4. Remember to leave lights off when not being used and replace lower efficiency incandescent or CFL lightbulbs with LEDs.
5. Maintain air filters to uphold HVAC efficiency in every season.
6. Low flow flushing reduces water consumption
7. An air conditioner set at 70 can double the operation cost of setting the thermostat at 78.
8. Energy Star products are efficient appliances. Many rebates and rewards to lower costs for upgrading your home or office appliances.
9. You bought a house not a tent, maintain that comfortable room temperature with efficient windows.
10. Collect rain water during the winter to provide a “summer storm” for your garden to save water and sustain your landscape.
11. Sunny San Diego is Sustainable on Solar Power. Get an estimate on solar panels at your home and office to save green while saving green. Learn More.
12. Create semi-permeable outdoor walkways so water does not pick up pollutants from your home and simply run off into the storm water system.

By breaking down the environmental issues and trying a few simple Green Yourself Tips its possible to help create a more sustainable San Diego.

The Issue:
Every year, Americans throw away 50 billion food and drink cans, 27 billion glass bottles and jars, and 65 million plastic and metal jar and can covers.

More than 30% of our waste is packaging materials. With packaging materials new opportunities for “old” stuff to end up in the landfill becomes more likely.

Where does it all go? Some 85% of our garbage is sent to a dump, or landfill, where it can take from 100 to 400 years for things like cloth and aluminum to decompose. Glass has been found in perfect condition after 4,000 years in the earth!

We are quickly running out of space. It’s time to learn the three R’s of the environment: reduce, reuse, recycle. Then practice what you preach: don’t buy things you don’t need or items that come in wasteful packaging or that cannot be recycled. Reuse and recycle whatever you can. I’m not saying sleep in a tent (unless you want to), but bringing your own thermos to the coffee shop doesn’t hurt.

Green Yourself Tips

Reducing Waste
Look at the tips and strategies below and find out how to reduce the amount of waste your home or business sends to the landfill.

Buy products that don’t have a lot of packaging. Some products are wrapped in many layers of plastic and paperboard even though they don’t need to be. You can also look for things that are packed in materials that don’t require a lot of energy or resources to produce. Some products will put that information right on their labels.

Sustainability Statistics The average person in the United States generates 4.5 pounds of trash every day, resulting in about 1.5 tons of solid waste per person, per year. Multiply that number by the population of the United States (over 310 million) and you get a lot of trash!

Instead of buying something you’re not going to use very often, see if you can borrow it from someone you know.

Start a compost bin. Some people set aside a place in their yard where they can dispose of certain food and plant materials. Over time, the materials will break down through a natural process called decomposition. The compost is good for the soil in your yard and means that less garbage will go to the landfill.

Sustainability Statistics Americans generate 21.5 million tons of food waste annually. If it were composted, the resulting reduction in greenhouse gas emissions would be equivalent to taking more than 2 million cars off the road.
Composting can help reduce your waste stream, save money, and provide any green-thumbed employees with nutrient rich soil.

You can reduce waste by using a computer! Many newspapers and magazines are online now. Instead of buying the paper versions, you can find them on the Internet. Also remember that you should print out only what you need. Everything you print that you don’t really need is a waste of paper.

Sustainability Statistics In 2005 alone, 63 million computers became obsolete and it is estimated that less than one-fifth of all obsolete computers are reused or recycled. It’s illegal to throw electronic waste, or e-waste, in the trash! Energize e-waste recycling at your business by providing centralized recycling bins for cell phones, used printer cartridges, alkaline batteries, and other e-waste materials.

Lots of families receive a large amount of advertisements and other junk mail that they do not want. You can stop the mailings and reduce waste by writing to the following address and requesting that they take your name off of their distribution list:

Direct Marketing Association Mail Preference Service
P.O. Box 9008
Farmingdale, NY 11735-9008

Eco- Deputy
Create a fun family event for your kids to become Eco-Deputies and learn how to reduce waste by understanding the type of waste and potential leads for there point-source pollution investigation. This activity develops a strong sense of self confidence for any child while also instilling family values for a more environmentally-conscious and responsible son or daughter.

Parents, treat your children with this awesome environmental activity – Eco Deputy : Water Assignment.

You can even ask your waste hauler for the volume of waste collected from your home, apartment, or building over the past 12 months to establish a baseline of your waste output. Now your kids can walk through and search for clues on how to decrease waste and increase opportunities for recycling.

Talk to friends, family and neighbors to support your son or daughter efforts to take action and fight waste.

Challenge your family or business to reduce waste by setting waste reduction goals. This can lead to developing home or office “green games” where teams compete to see who can throw away the least and recycle the most. Ensuring success is much easier if the task is convenient and fun, don’t make waste reduction another chore for your family or yourself, make it a fun learning tool for saving, respecting property, helping the environment, and involving your community.

Sustainability Statistics Less than 1% of all plastics products are recycled in the U.S., with Americans throwing away 25 million plastic beverage bottles every hour! Eliminate “one-use” dishware, filter water at home and make sure everyone has access to refillable water bottles and mugs. Free your company up from a Styrofoam standard lunch with and encourage healthy home made brown bag meals. If your already bringing your own meals try encouraging co-workers to bring dishes, mugs, and refillable bottles from home to really keep your office green.

Reduce is the easiest and most overlooked aspect of the environment. When reducing consumption we preserve our natural resources to help sustain the environment we enjoy, San Diego.

Water Conservation Strategies
Improve your businesses performance by adopting water saving techniques, strategies, and technologies, many of which are simple, convenient and low-cost if not free.

Sustainability Statistic One leaky faucet can waste more than 237 gallons of water per month.

Manage the water you consume by understanding the water you waste. Take a tour of your home or office with a notepad to identify areas that can benefit from easy maintenance by saving water and money to create a checklist of simple solutions in water conservation.

Do you have any landscaping or water features? Enhance the irrigation system with improved water efficiency by installing a drip irrigation system, drought-tolerant plant species, and weather monitoring systems. Learn More.

Further explore the water saving possibilities of upgrading kitchens and washroom water efficiency for the greatest opportunity for water conservation in apartments or commercial buildings!

Check out the strategies and quick tips to see how you can conserve water.

Residential Water Conservation


If you enjoy this Green Yourself Tip be sure to check out the full episode about this issue

Season 2 – Ep. 4 One Less Mess

(Reducing Natural Resource Consumption)


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