San Diego is a great city filled with xeriscape front yards, solar rooftops, local farmers’ markets, and people who care about their environmental footprint. Many citizens recognize that dedicated efforts to minimize their impacts on the environment directly improves their quality of life. Although the city has made recent advancements, there is always room for San Diegans to make improvements. In this blog, we will highlight green efforts and provide tips on how to reduce your footprint the simple way!
Our city’s waste management efforts continue to battle increasing amounts of trash, but unfortunately, our attempts to waste less have not improved. According to the San Diego Equinox Project, the average San Diegan produces 5.5 pounds of trash per day! That’s one of the worst averages in the state of California. Our city’s waste disposal has gone up by nearly 4% since 2012. With the city’s population predicted to increased, that number is expected only to rise unless we take action!
What YOU Can Do:
Making eco-conscious choices doesn’t have to be hard, but it does have to be consistent. Try making long term commitments to small changes in your daily habits. One of the easiest changes you can start with is producing less trash.
- Carry a reusable water bottle wherever you go. You can avoid purchasing plastic bottles – and as a bonus, it helps you drink more water throughout the day. Choose a thermos to create a dual-use product – coffee in the morning, water in the afternoon!
- Skip the single-use disposables – carry a cloth napkin and reusable cutlery with you for your to go orders! If you decide to pop into your favorite San Diego eatery, you don’t have to worry about accumulating any single-use disposables.
- Try composting! Keep food scraps out of the landfill and instead use them to cultivate healthy plants in your garden. Take it one step further by building your own worm bin in your backyard. If you don’t have a yard, simply toss food waste in the Yard Waste Container. (See full details here).
To become a registered driver in San Diego, your car has to pass a SMOG check. This is because we are one of the most populated cities in the United States, and we are the top country in the world in terms of single drivers. If you’ve ever been caught on the 805 during rush hour, you know what we are talking about. San Diego’s air quality is definitely better than some other cities across the globe, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have our work cut out for us. For example, the SD Equinox Project states that our average number of unhealthy air days for sensitive groups has increased since last year 2015 (41 days) to 2016 (42 days).
What YOU Can Do:
San Diego is known for being a freeway-heavy city. When we drive across our sprawled city, many of our cars emit noxious chemicals like formaldehyde and benzene in addition to the already well-known CO2 emissions. Although our infrastructure can make it difficult to make green transportation choices, there are still some things you can do to keep our air clean.
- Find out about public transportation in your area and commit to car-free travel once a week!
- Carpool to work or school with a friend, classmate, or co-worker! Carpooling takes one extra car off the road – but it also lets you access to the carpool lane for long commutes.
- If you don’t have the time or resources for either of those efforts, you can always plant some trees! Trees sequester carbon, meaning that they help with the overall air quality by absorbing carbon and keeping it out of our atmosphere. The bigger the tree, the greater the positive impact, so plant now and watch your efforts improve your life and the life of your community!
Now, HERE is some good news! Did you know that San Diego’s overall residential water consumption has gone down by nearly 15% in the last year? According to Equinox, that’s the lowest it’s been in over 17 years! Our SoCal city is well-acquainted with droughts and wildfires, so this decrease in water use is especially important for our future health and well-being. We should work to improve these numbers even more through individual efforts.
What YOU Can Do:
- Install low-flow shower heads, toilets, and faucets in your home for an easy one-time investment. Watch your water consumption and your bill decrease with each installation!
- If you are already committed to showering every other day, you can reduce your water use by saving the initial cold water to give to your house plants and pets.
- Grow vegetables with the use of aquaponics and plant natives alongside water-wise plants in your traditional garden beds.
- Educate yourself on San Diego’s water recycling efforts and make sure that you’re a part of the conversation when it happens!
We hope this post helps you minimize your environmental footprint and improves the quality of life for you and your community!