On this page, you'll find out how to reduce your environmental impact, prevent mosquito breeding, and search for invasive pests in and around your home. Test your knowledge by taking one of our fun quizzes! Select the topic you want to learn about first by clicking the icons below.  Happy learning!

For translation needs on pages throughout this site, you can use the Google Translate widget in the upper right of this page to select different languages.

How can I reduce my environmental impact?

Note: The videos on this page provide subtitles and closed captions (cc) that are available for translation in multiple languages by clicking the settings icon on the bottom right corner of each video. 

Recycle RIGHT! Learn how and what to recycle in the blue bins at your home by checking out these resources. 

Think Reuse, Repair & Donation Before Recycling

Are you decluttering or simply wanting to give your stuff a second life?  Consider donating your working, usable goods to a non-profit, neighbors, or through a host of other outlets. Potential options include NextDoor, Facebook Marketplace, Buy Nothing Groups, FreeCycle, and more.  Have something that is broken? Find a local repair option or donation site using the free database at WasteFreeSD.org. To learn more visit R1Earth.org.   

The Right Way to Recycle-Empty, Dry & Loose

Did you know there’s actually a right way to recycle?  It’s easy!  To Recycle Right remember this helpful tip-keep all accepted materials Empty, Dry and Loose (DO NOT bag your recyclables). For the most, in the San Diego region, recyclables fall into 4 categories: Paper, cardboard and cartons, plastic bottles and containers, glass bottles and jars, and aluminum and metal cans and foil.  Now you know how to Recycle RightLearn more.

Reducing Food Waste: It's the Law


California is addressing food waste with new statewide mandates requiring a 75% reduction in organic waste disposal and a 20% increase in edible food recovery by 2025. Learn more in the County of San Diego Department of Public Works Reducing Food Waste newsletter.  You can also learn more about recycling organic waste here

Where does food come from? How does it get to our table? What happens to food waste?  Learn how to reduce wasted food at home and prevent wasted food from reaching landfills! 


Reducing Wasted Food at Home

Did you know that 40% of the food produced in the US is wasted?  Here are some tips to help you reduce this number.  Shopping with a list can be useful in reducing impulse purchases or buying more than you need.  Shop your fridge first.  You may be surprised what you bought last week and forgot about. Freeze foods that may spoil quickly for use in a later meal.  Learn how to store fruits and vegetables properly.  By following these guidelines you’ll save money (due to less wasted food), reduce your overall waste, and help ensure all of the transportation, fuel, labor, water, and other resources that went into growing that food isn’t wasted either.  To learn more visit R1Earth.org.

Understanding Organic

What is composting and why should I do it? Composting can be practiced anywhere... in your backyard, at work or school, even in an apartment! Learn more about how and why you should compost! 

Compost-Nature’s Way of Recycling

An easy and fun way to reduce what you throw into the trash is to start composting.  Simply take your “green” nitrogen-rich items like fruit and vegetable scraps, eggshells, coffee grounds, and tea bags, mix them with your “Brown” carbon-rich items like dried leaves, wood chips, straw, and/or shredded paper, add water and mix it all together.  In as little as a few months, you’ll have a beautiful, rich soil amendment in the form of compost. Compost is able to hold more water, is loaded with beneficial nutrients and microorganisms, and reduces or eliminates the need for chemical fertilizers.  The County of San Diego offers discounted compost bins to unincorporated residents year-round.  To learn more visit R1Earth.org.


Unincorporated County Climate Action Plan Survey

Unincorporated county residents we want to hear from you! The County of San Diego is working to address climate change by trying to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions (the gases that cause climate change)? If you live or work in the unincorporated county, please fill out this survey so we can understand how unincorporated county residents feel about climate change and our actions. 


How Does Climate Change Affect You? 

Recently, San Diego County has experienced recordbreakingheat and extended periods of drought, leadingto tree deaths, more intense wildfires, strain on local farmers,and higher food prices. If you have asthma or are sensitive topoor air quality, increased wildfires could mean less time spentoutside. For our already vulnerable populations like childrenand older adults, intense heat could result in a range of effects,from dehydration to heat strokes. Get involved


What is Carbon Farming? 

The County of San Diego Planning & Development Services is developing a Pilot Carbon Farming Program to help avoid andreduce greenhouse gas emissions through carbon farmingefforts in the unincorporated county. 

Did you know that you can help protect San Diego’s water quality by using water more efficiently?  By preventing over-irrigation and unnecessary outdoor water use, you can help to prevent polluted water runoff from entering our stormwater conveyances and waterways. 

Rain Barrels

Storing rain on your property is a great way to help yourself and the earth at the same time. When you harvest and reuse your rainwater for irrigation, you can keep your outdoor space looking fantastic — and save money doing it. Learn more about the benefits of rain barrels and how you can apply for a rebate at our website. If you’d like to learn more from about how to install and maintain your rain barrel or cistern, view our new rain barrel video below.


Project Clean Water:

How can you help? Take small actions to reduce stormwater pollution!

1. Prevent Runoff - especially during the rainy season 

2. Decrease Trash and Pet Waste

3. Capture Water 

4. Report areas of pollution in your community!

Turf Replacement


Turf Replacement One way to reduce water use, protect the environment, and beautify your landscape is by removing unused areas of turf grass. San Diego-appropriate plants can reduce water use by 70-80% compared to turf grass. The County offers educational and financial support to residents wanting to make this change on their properties. Check out this video about a large landscape project recently completed at Rancho San Diego HOA. Then go to our website to learn how you can do this too. 

Water Protection Resources

Have you ever wondered how you can report stormwater pollution? Or what to do with leftover paint from a big project? Looked for watershed resources for school-aged children? You can find all that and so much more at the County’s Watershed Protection website. We’ve developed numerous flyers in several languages (including Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Tagalog, and Vietnamese) to help spread the word about watershed health and protection.

Household hazardous waste (HHW) is the unused or leftover portion of any hazardous chemicals or materials. Any leftover household product that is labeled with DANGER, WARNING, TOXIC, CAUTION, POISON, FLAMMABLE, CORROSIVE, or REACTIVE is considered a household hazardous waste.

Examples of HHW that you may find in your home are:

  • Aerosol Cans
  • Automotive Fluids
  • Batteries (auto, household, & rechargeable)
  • Computer, Monitors, and Televisions
  • Fertilizers
  • Fluorescent Lamps - including tubes and Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs)
  • Household Cleaners
  • Mercury Items (including thermometers & thermostats)
  • Motor Oil & Oil Filters
  • Paint & Stains (latex & oil)
  • Pesticides
  • Pool Chemicals
  • Propane
  • Solvent

Pest detector works like a dog

The County's Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures favorite canine colleague, Tuk, has four legs and the best sense of smell. Doesn't hurt that he's cute, too!

Traps in residents' yards help County watch for invasive pests

Insect detection specialists for County Agriculture, Weights and Measures help guard the region against potentially devastating pests. They vigilantly set and check traps for many insects, including Gypsy moths and Japanese beetles in the summer months.

Did you know there is a Glass-winged sharpshooter problem in California?

The glassy-winged sharpshooter (GWSS), likely introduced from the southeastern U.S. as eggs on nursery stock, was first observed in Orange and Ventura counties in California in 1989. It has a large plant-host range and is especially abundant on citrus. 

Prevent Mosquito Breeding

Dumping outstanding water is essential to preventing mosquitoes and mosquito-borne illnesses. Mosquitoes can lay their eggs in as little as 1/4" of standing water. Some mosquitoes will even lay their eggs in water inside homes! Learn more about how to prevent mosquito breeding in and around your home.

Mosquito Breeding
Green Pools
Rain Barrel

Test your knowledge - take a quiz!

Save the Earth! Quiz

Save the Earth! 

How green are you? How much do you know about our Earth? Take this quiz to find out!


How does your diet contribute to climate change?

Pick the meals that are most similar to what you ate yesterday. See how your food choices compare with those of other Americans!

Eat Low Carbon

Can you find the meal with the lowest carbon?

Now's your chance to test your knowledge of which foods are planet friendlier. Click on the image of the meal that you think has a lower carbon dioxide score!  

Food Print

What you eat matters, here’s how

There are many ways to calculate a foodprint. Whichever way you choose, foodprint calculators can help you understand how much your food choices impact the planet.

What’s your FoodPrint?

What you eat, where it comes from, and how it was produced contributes to your FoodPrint — think of it as a carbon footprint, but for food. So what's your FoodPrint? Take this 3-minute quiz to find out.

Hazardous Materials

In the Hazardous Materials Division, every day is Earth Day!

Have you ever wondered about hazardous materials?  What is a hazardous material?  Test your knowledge and take a quiz from the County of San Diego's Department of Environmental Health & Quality!