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Winter 2017 Newsletter

Happy Holidays from Solana Center!

Solana Center staff wearing festive holiday garb

Winter 2017 Newsletter


Update from our Executive Director

Looking back on 2017, I am so pleased with all we've accomplished -- from creating the Composting Demo & Training Center at the Del Mar Fairgrounds and introducing e-waste drop-off/pick-up. And have you seen Solana Center on the back panel of Kashi's newest granola bar?!

In the coming year, look for our new outdoor education pavilion at the Eco Learning Lab, a public awareness campaign about marine debris, and expanded programming on diverting surplus food from businesses and homes. We will also be enhancing our volunteer programming, creating more opportunities for community impact. Finally...I’m so thankful for the support and guidance of our Board. This year, we’ve added new board members and elected new officers.

Best wishes for a resourceful New Year,

gardeners examine tumbler composter

How Do Compost Tumblers Work?

Tumblers are composting bins that are manually flipped, spun, rolled or crank-turned for aeration, depending on the style. These bins do not require turning with a pitchfork or auger, instead, the entire compost bin is turned for aeration.

There are several different types of tumbler composters, as we've listed in the associated blog. Above is a spinning tumbler at Cardiff Elementary School, being managed by Solana Center Master Composters and volunteers. Both the City of San Diego and unincorporated County of San Diego offer vouchers for subsidized spinning tumblers as well as other types of composting bins.


jar of vinegar with toothpickRotline Question: Shoo Fly, Don’t Bother Me!

"I love my new Solana Center composting kitchen caddy, but I’ve recently noticed an intruder that’s even more excited about my kitchen caddy than I am: fruit flies! The flies swarm around my caddy, especially when I open it to add scraps to my caddy. I’m worried that they’re reproducing and will become a greater nuisance than they already are. Do you have any advice on how to battle these uninvited guests?"



smiling master composters around compost bin

Master Composter Course in San Diego

Want to deepen your understanding of composting, learn how to build healthy soil, and make new friends? Sign up for our Master Composter Course! The five-week San Diego Master Composter course provides training in the art and science of composting.
Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018 (First of five courses)
5:30 PM - 8:30 PM
The Greenhaven at Ridgehaven
Course Fee: $25

Please note that City of San Diego residents receive preferential registration. Registration will open to non-residents 1 to 2 weeks before the start of the course.

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Solana Center staff & volunteers with rain barrel

Get Rain Barrels for ONLY $55 After Rebate!

Get 50-gallon rain barrels at the discounted price of $90 (retail price is $129). After rebate, you pay only $55 (that's a 40% saving).

Back in time for winter's wetter months, we've restarted our rain barrel sales for pick up at Solana Center.

We provide everything you need to set your rain barrel up at home, as well as help to get your rebate. Harvesting rainwater in rain barrels is an excellent way to reduce potable water used in landscape maintenance and to prevent polluted runoff from entering our local waterways. Check out the video about our program.


1. Order online by selecting your pick up location and then click “Buy Now”
2. Apply for your $35 rebate at SoCalWaterSmart
3. Pick up your PRE-ORDERED barrels in Encinitas.

two smiling women change a bucket in garden

Community Compost Program

Since not everyone is able to have their own compost piles, Solana Center is proud to bring the Community Compost program to Encinitas businesses and households. In this County-approved program, we accept food scraps and process these organic materials on-site to create a high-quality soil supplement.


woman with clipboard in front of collected ewaste and light bulbs

Solana Center Expands E-Waste Recycling

Solana Center makes it easy to recycle your e-waste! We're excited to announce that we are expanding our e-waste collection for North County residents and businesses.

Free E-Waste Collection

We offer FREE e-waste collection at Solana Center at our main office, located at 137 N. El Camino Real in Encinitas on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 AM - 4 PM and Saturdays from 8 AM - 12 PM. View our office hours or contact us to make an appointment.

Free Business E-Waste Pickup

We provide a FREE e-waste pick up service to businesses in coastal North County cities every 3rd Wednesday from 10 AM - 2 PM. Register online to get your e-waste picked-up for free at the next collection. Someone will contact you early in the week of pick-up to confirm pick-up.


educator gesturing with presentation materials

Manure Management & Composting Workshop in Lakeside
Sat, Dec 9, 2017
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Wells Family Ranch

This workshop will show you how to both protect your local watershed and produce a fantastic soil product from horse manure.

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Waterwise Gardening Workshop in Alpine
Thursday, January 11, 2018
6:00 PM - 7:00 PM 
Alpine County Library

Learn how to create a less thirsty and more environmentally friendly landscape!

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All About Worms Workshop in Encinitas
Saturday, January 20, 2018
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Weidners Gardens

Two fun workshops and lunch all in one day! Weidner's is offering Mia's Fruit Tree Class in the morning, followed by free hot dogs. Then, stay for our All About Worms Workshop in the afternoon.

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Traditional Compost & Intro to Worms Workshop in Balboa Park
Saturday, January 27, 2018
8:00 AM - 10:00 AM 
San Diego Zoo

You'll go wild for composting! This is the best time to compost to prep for your spring garden!

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Composting & Vermicomposting Basics Workshop in Rancho San Diego
Saturday, February 3, 2018
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Water Conservation Garden

After getting inspired to start composting, go for a stroll through the Water Conservation Garden.

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 San Diego Business Journal Honors Jessica TothSan Diego Business Journal 2017 Business Women of the Year Awards

Solana Center for Environmental Innovations’ Executive Director, Jessica Toth, has been named by the San Diego Business Journal as one of its 100 outstanding women business leaders.

Each year, the San Diego Business Journal recognizes women business leaders who are making a difference in their workplaces and communities, as business leaders, mentors and community supporters. The 2017 Business Women of the Year Awards program celebrates its 24th year in honoring the exceptional women who have made a difference in San Diego’s business, cultural and civic scene. Nominations are judged on their innovation, entrepreneurship, professional accomplishment and community leadership.


compost bin, kitchen scrap caddy, worm compost bin, rain barrel

Eco-friendly Holiday Gifts

Skip the mall and pick up a green gift from Solana Center this holiday. We are your local source for worm bins, composting supplies, rain barrels, and more! Check out the items we sell out of our Encinitas location.


Volunteer Melanie Schwab in blue Solana Center apronVolunteer Spotlight: Melanie Schwab

How did you find Solana Center?
My relationship with Solana Center began a very long time ago, when it was known as Solana Recyclers. I was a kindergarten teacher at Bay Park Elementary School. Somehow, I connected with the volunteer coordinator at that time and asked her to come do a recycling and worm composting presentation, for my kindergarten class. That was when I fell in love with worms and so did my students. We immediately began composting our lunch scraps. Sometime during the next few years we received a large worm bin from Solana Center.  Our entire school began recycling lunch scraps. It was a ton of work and lots of fun getting the students engaged in the process.


support us when you shop this holiday

Did you know you can give back to Solana Center when you shop this holiday (and every day throughout the year)?  Just log on to and designate Solana Center as your recipient when you do your holiday shopping.

You can also make a tax-deductible donation to Solana Center in honor of someone special this holiday season.

Christmas Tree Recycling Locations

Christmas trees are a great source of carbon and nitrogen for composting. However, it is very difficult to compost Christmas trees on your own unless you have a chipping system in your backyard. If you can't compost it -- recycle it! Recycling Christmas trees is easy and there are drop-off locations, as well as pick up service, for residents throughout San Diego County.

Click on the link for information about Christmas tree recycling in your area:

City of San Diego
City of Encinitas

Thank You to Our Sponsors & Donors

  • Qualcomm
  • Kashi
  • Jana Birch
  • John Wick
  • Kristin MacLeod
  • Maureen Moss & Bill Pultz

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This newsletter is possible through generous support from

City of San Diego Environmental Services logo  City of Encinitas logo        County of San Diego logo