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Reduce Lunch Waste

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Did you know you can save $250 each year if you packed your lunch in reusable containers instead of buying disposable bags? With reusable drink containers, a reusable lunch box, cloth napkins and silverware you can reduce the amount of waste you send to the landfill by 67 pounds every year!

Here's a few tips to help you reduce the waste you produce at lunch:

  • If you use a lot of plastic baggies, try using reusable snack bags. There are even sandwich bags that double as a placemat.
  • Keep a reusable plate, cup, silverware and napkin at your desk. The next time you go to a potluck or eat at your local cafe, you will have everything you need!

If you have plastic baggies that you can't reuse just rinse them out, cut off the zipper or seal, and recycle them with the rest of your plastic grocery bags. Most grocery stores have plastic bag collection bins at the front of the store where all your plastic bags can be recycled.

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Computer Energy Savings

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Did you know that if every U.S. computer and monitor were turned off at night, the nation could shut down eight large power stations and avoid emitting 7 million tons of CO2 each year?

Huge energy savings are just a click away. When you've finished using your computer each day, just take a moment to properly shut down your computer and turn off the monitor. Simply turning off the monitor (turn off small green light) will decrease your personal computer energy use by 60 percent. It's an easy action with a big benefit!

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Water Conservation Update

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Residents and businesses throughout San Diego County are all conserving water! According to data from the San Diego County Water Authority, total water use for the months of July, August and September was down 11% compared to the same period in 2008. The Port is doing our part to contribute... we reduced our irrigation in Port-maintained landscaped areas by 35% this summer compared to the same period in 2008!

Unfortunately, water supplies are still being limited by drought and court-ordered pumping restrictions, and mandatory water-use restrictions still remain in effect. Here's a few tips to consider for the upcoming winter months:

  • Replace high-water-use plants with some that use less water. San Diego County's semi-arid climate means that this time of year is the best time to replace your plants, because they can take advantage of winter storms to help get established. View the Nifty Fifty Plant List to get some ideas
  • Turn off your irrigation systems as rainy weather approaches. Systems can be left off for up to a week following storms, depending on the amount of rainfall.
  • Only run your dishwasher when it's full. This is especially important to keep in mind if you're planning to entertain friends and family in your home during the holidays.
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Try Composting!

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Ever thought about starting up your own composting bin? The composting process turns organic material such as leaves, grass clippings and kitchen scraps into a nutrient rich soil product. The Port has had a composting program in place for over a year, and is currently preventing about 300 pounds of our food waste from entering the landfill every month! Composting has several benefits for both the homeowner and the environment:

  • It reduces waste from your kitchen and/or yard.
  • It benefits your yard by improving soil health without the use of chemical fertilizers (which can enter the storm drain system if not used properly).
  • It conserves water by helping the soil hold more moisture, which reduces the need for frequent irrigation.
  • It saves money by reducing the need to purchase chemical fertilizers and soil amendments.

Composting is easy and inexpensive, and you can even forego the cost of buying a compost bin by building your own! Check out the Solana Center for Environmental Innovation, a local non-profit organization that provides education and resources about composting. Their Guide to Backyard Composting provides a great introduction to how composting works and explains how you can easily get your own project started at home.

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How to Repel Energy Vampires

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Did you know that in the average home, up to 40% of the energy you're paying for is used to power devices you're not even using? A vampire load is the energy that's used up by appliances when they're plugged in, but not in use. Simply by being plugged in, many of your gadgets are sinking their teeth into your energy bill (and your carbon footprint). TVs, DVD players, stereos, computers, and cell phone chargers are notorious energy suckers (basically, any device with a charging light that remains on when the device is off).

 

There's no need to wear garlic to keep the vampires away... simply stock up on some "smart" power strips, which prevent your appliances from draining energy. Or, if you don't want to buy new power strips, simply unplug your current power strips or appliances when you're not using them.

 

Visit your local electronics store or search "smart power strips" online for a variety of options.

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