Dec 19, 2015

Be a Bay-Friendly Host this Holiday Season


If you have guests coming to visit this holiday season, you can help them be bay-friendly during their stay on the Central Coast.

Reduce waste

Take your coffee or tea in reusable tumblers

Many people enjoy visiting local shops for a warm cup of coffee or tea at the holidays. It’s a nice way to warm up before a visit to Windy Cove, or a walk along the Embarcadero. If you plan to grab your morning cup on the road with family or friends, consider bringing a reusable cup.

Disposable cups are often lined with plastic to prevent them from leaking, which means that even if you drop them in the recycling bin, they may not be recycled. With Americans consuming as much as 400 million cups of coffee per day, and throwing away an estimated 50 billion paper cups per year, disposable cups lead to a lot of waste.

Coffee cups overflow this trashcan.
Coffee cups overflow this trashcan. Letting trash pile up outside of the can increases the risk that it will end up in our waterways. Photograph by Jon Long.

In fact, if you throw out just one disposable cup per day, you’ll generate about 23 pounds of waste per year. Disposable straws and stirrers also account for a lot of waste; they were one of the most common items picked up from coastlines worldwide during International Coastal Cleanup Day in 2015.

In order to cut down on waste, consider giving your guests a reusable tumbler as a gift, or loan them one of yours.

Encourage guests to opt for a reusable water bottle

If you know you’ll be doing other activities outside—like hiking, biking, or paddling in the bay—you could also encourage your guests to bring reusable water bottles, or loan them one of your own. Plastic beverage bottles and caps account for another big portion of the trash found along our coastlines. In 2015, Coastal Cleanup volunteers picked up 4,743 bottle caps and 2,092 plastic beverage bottles. Plastic items like this can cause problems for marine life.

This load of plastic bottles and other trash were deposited by Ballona creek in Los Angeles County. Photograph by Heal the Bay.
This load of plastic bottles and other trash were deposited by Ballona creek in Los Angeles County. Photograph by Heal the Bay.

By choosing reusable tumblers and water bottles, you’ll be reducing the waste created on the Central Coast, which is a great first step in keeping trash out of our waters.


Reduce water use

Having guests in your home means that your shower is running more often, your toilet is flushing more frequently, and more dishes will need to be washed. What can you do to slow down water use at the holidays?

Photograph by Mark Sardella.

Make simple home improvements to save water

  1. Change out old shower heads for low-flow versions. Newer water-saving shower heads have the potential to save quite a bit of water—which means less waste and a smaller water bill—while still spraying hard enough to get all the suds out of your hair.
  2. Most toilets installed after 1993 are low-flush, and use around 1.6 gallons of water per flush. If your toilet is older than that, you might consider replacing it to save up to 4 gallons of water per use. If that’s not an option, try placing a weighted two liter bottle in your toilet tank. It will take up space in the tank, reducing the amount of water that fills it each time you flush.
  3. Replace your kitchen sink aerator for a low-flow version. These are typically simple to install, and cost less than $15. Best of all, they can save you 2 gallons of water per minute of use.


Want to learn more?

For more tips on reducing water use, check out our “Bayside Living Guide,” and take the Clean Water Pledge.