Three Easy Actions to Take for a Greener Office on America Recycles Day

Today is the 10th annual America Recycles Day a nationally recognized day and an initiative by Keep America Beautiful that promotes ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle in our everyday lives. America Recycles Day is dedicated to the individual actions that people can take that create a collective difference for our environment! Having normal “blue bin” style recycling in the office is an awesome start, but let’s take a look at some other ways to boost your recycling program (if you don’t have a recycling program in place, check out our previous blog post that can help you get one started). Here are three easy ways you can enhance your workplace recycling in celebration of America Recycles Day.

Deal with the Graveyard of Dead Electronics: Recycle Electronics

Electronics are all around us, especially in a workplace. So what happens to all of those electronics when they kick the bucket? Electronic waste, also known as e-waste, should be properly recycled with a certified e-waste recycling company. Printers, computers, laptops, fax machines, phones (yes, most offices have landlines) can all be taken to a recycling location or a temporary collection event. Some businesses even offer to pick these items up from your workplace. Start by designating a spot in your workplace to collect electronics that are no longer working and can no longer be repaired (you can search for repair options on ). When you want to recycle the collected e-waste, simply use the search bar on by typing in a specific item, “E-waste Collection Event”, or “Electronic Waste Pick-up”.

Make sure everyone in the office knows where to drop off any electronic waste to be recycled.

Donate Before Ditching: Give Unwanted Office Supplies and Furniture to a Thrift Store

Does your workplace have way too many paper trays or stockpiles of old binders? Did your office go through a remodel and now has a bunch of outdated office decor? Don’t toss these items! Give your supplies and furniture a shot at finding a new home by donating them to a thrift store. Start by letting your colleagues know about the collection of unwanted office supplies, where they should drop off their unwanted supplies, and give them the opportunity to grab something they might need from the collection before it’s donated. Head over to to search “Thrift Stores” if you don’t know your nearest one. You can even find a local thrift store or organization that specializes in just second-hand furniture if you recently upgraded your office furniture.

Recent workplace renovations? Donate your unwanted office furniture or supplies to a nearby thrift store!

Stop Wasting Half the Paper Supply: Print Double-sided

A staple in almost any office is a large industrial printer. And chances are your office goes through a ton of paper. Remember to recycle that paper first off! Ensure that each cubicle, office, and room has a recycling bin and clear signage indicating the types of items that should be placed in it. But there is also another option to cut down on wasted paper: printing double-sided. Change your printer’s default setting to printing on both sides to reduce the amount of paper used. Another option is to have a pile of “previously printed on paper” that has an unused side. Utilize paper from this pile to manually feed into your printer for one-sided print jobs or for scratch paper!

Set those printer default settings to print on both sides of the paper!

Keep Up the Recycling Momentum

Don’t let your recycling efforts fade after America Recycles Day ends. Keep the conversation going! Each workplace should have a designated recycling champion…that can be you! Kindly remind your co-workers about recycling guidelines, reward anyone you catch “green-handed” (recycling correctly or contributing to the donation pile), and celebrate your workplace achievements with all of the staff. Don’t wait until the next America Recycles Day to implement a new practice and remember to provide your team with resources that make recycling crystal clear.

For more information regarding recycling, visit the Resources Page at or register for an upcoming workshop.


A New Look is Coming to WasteFreeSD

There is some exciting news in store for I Love A Clean San Diego’s Recycling and Household Hazardous Waste database, For those who have not visited the site, is an online database full of recycling resources and utilizes a search bar to generate results that are organized by priority and then by proximity to your zip code. Residents and businesses in San Diego County have instant recycling information at their fingertips 24/7.

WFSD before
Currently, provides recycling information, but more resources are coming soon!

So what’s the exciting news you ask? is getting a much needed makeover! The database is about 10 years old and although we have grown to love it for the services it provides, the functionality of the website needed an upgrade. In addition to the functionality of the website, the message had to take an innovative turn as well. has been San Diego County’s recycling database, the newly redesigned site is going to be a zero waste database. That’s huge! That means that when you complete a search for more information about a certain item, options to Reduce, Repurpose, Repair, Donate, and Recycle will populate. As San Diego County strives to send less to the landfill, we’re excited  to help local residents and businesses do their part through

Newly redesigned features to include:

  • User friendly search bar
  • Results follow the zero waste hierarchy: Repair, Repurpose, Donate, Recycle, Dispose
  • Showcases more of I Love A Clean San Diego’s blogs
  • will be housed under one website (no need for two separate searches!)
WFSD after
Sneak peek at the newly redesigned!!

The newly designed WasteFreeSD will be a more interactive and overall easier for San Diegans to use and conserve resources. The main page will highlight helpful articles, blogs, and infographics. Most importantly it will highlight our partners who help keep San Diego looking beautiful! One of our first featured spots will be SDG&E’s Marketplace, an interactive search tool that helps you find energy efficient products. SDG&E’s Marketplace allows for residents and businesses to shop around for products that are energy efficient, qualify for rebates, and are cost effective. WasteFreeSD will be released late-August but users can visit SDG&E’s Marketplace now!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest for the latest news about WasteFreeSD.orgJoin us as San Diego leads the way to truly waste-free landfills!

Closing the Loop on Food & Plastics

An important conversation is buzzing right now locally and nationally about food waste. This past April a mandatory organics recycling law went into effect in California, requiring businesses generating 8 cubic yards of organic waste per week to divert it from the landfill. The nationwide campaign supported by the Ad Council is a call to action to end the 300 lbs. of food the average person tosses away each year. But what about the hard plastics most of this food is packaged in?

Bulk Food and Produce 1
Plastic free grocery shopping.

Unfortunately, plastics and food go hand in hand. Walk down any grocery store aisle and most food is accompanied with some form of plastic. Some plastics take the form of a container to hold butter or coffee grounds; others might be the tags keeping bread bags closed. The concept of the zero-waste grocery store is just beginning to make strides here in the United States. Here are some different ways to apply the zero waste hierarchy to the plastics that might accompany the food you buy.

The Fillery via Kickstart
Photo Credit: The Fillery via Kickstart


One of the simplest steps to closing the loop with food products is purchasing in bulk or at your local farmer’s market. I love to bring my own cloth bags and the farmers market is a great way to avoid the plastic containers that a lot of produce comes in.


Small plastic containers that hold candies like tic-tacs can be reused to hold spices to take camping. K-cups can even be used as starts for seedlings! Try using plastic bread tags as identifiers for different keys or a holder for hair ties.

Repurposed TicTac Containers via pinterest


Take on a small art project and repurpose that plastic container into something useful! I decided to turn a container that once held oats into one that holds plastic trash bags.

Repurposed Bag Container_Leila
Repurposed oatmeal container that now holds trash bags. I had fun decorating the outside of it!


Recycle when you can! Hard, rigid plastic containers can be placed in your blue bin, as well as items in tetra-pak containers like almond milk.

If you are curious about other plastics that can be recycled or how you can take steps to reduce your food waste footprint, visit

Can recycle: milk cartons, juice boxes, and broth boxes
Recyclable: milk cartons, juice boxes, and broth boxes



Spring Cleaning in SD

Spring is here which means many of us will be cleaning out our closets to make room for our summer clothes. For others it means that a much needed home cleaning will be underway, as well. What better way to enjoy Earth Month than by donating your unwanted items to local organizations that keep items out of the landfill.

If you have furniture in good shape, workable appliances or electronics that you would like see find a good home, consider posting them on websites like CraigslistFreecycle and the Buy Nothing Project. These sites offer a method of landfill diversion and provide items in good condition with a second home. This is also the hassle-free way to donate items without having to physically move the items yourself.Freecycle

Looking to donate something smaller? ArtForm at the Rare Hare Studios will accept household items that can be reused for art projects. Items such as buttons, ribbons, bottle caps and yarn are just a few things in the long list of items that they accept as donations. To find what else they will accept check out their wish list online. Donations need to be pre-approved so give them a ring before dropping anything off – they’d love to hear from you!


Looking to donate something bigger? If your spring cleaning involves some home renovations, places like Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore locations will accept things like doors, windows, and cabinets that are in good condition. To read more about donating construction and demolition debris to organizations that provide great services for people check out this blog.reduce-reuse-restore2Remember to check with each location before dropping-off donations to ensure that your items will be accepted and to confirm drop-off times.

Lastly, if you have items that cannot be donated such as broken electronics or appliances, household hazardous waste, or old/unwanted medications, be sure to search for recycling options near you!


Zero Waste Home Decor

Grace- 131x172Today’s blog comes from Grace, one of our Education Specialists! If you want to create less waste in 2016 get started today with one of our tried and true zero waste crafts! If you like what you find here, be sure to come to our next free workshop this Saturday, February 20th to learn first-hand from our educators like Grace! 

The average person in San Diego County makes 1,825 pounds of trash in just one year – that’s 5 pounds a day! This abundance of trash can have a variety of consequences, including filling up our landfills and harming animals if this trash makes its way into our environment. In an effort to inspire San Diegans to kick-start a zero waste lifestyle, I Love A Clean San Diego has incorporated the following DIY repurposing projects into our Sustainable Living Series workshops. Repurposing projects not only save items from the landfill, but also reduce the amount of new resources that need to be purchased by upcycling the resources we already have.

10.7.15 - SLS (22)
Toy trucks, shoes, tea cups, you name it! Any common item can be transformed into a succulent planter with a little creativity.

Planting succulents in repurposed containers: This project utilizes drought resistant succulents that are perfect for our dry Southern California climate. Your succulent “pot” can be anything from an antique tea cup to a shoe.


  • Repurposed container
  • Drill (optional)
  • Charcoal (optional)
  • Rocks
  • Succulents
  • Soil
10.7.15 - SLS (40)
Who knew a gravy boat could be transformed into such a beautiful planter?


  1. Select your repurposed container.
  2. Some drainage in the container is preferred. If possible drill a hole in the bottom of the container. A diamond drill bit may be needed depending on the material OR cover the bottom of the container with a thin layer of charcoal to absorb excess water.
  3. Add a layer of river rocks at the bottom of the container.
  4. Fill container ¾ with soil.
  5. Arrange succulents to your liking.
    • For indoor arrangements, widely space plants in the same container for maximum exposure to sunlight.
  6. Once complete, give your succulents a soak with a spray bottle.
Zero Waste Home - Jan 2016 (40)
Finished pieces from our Zero Waste Home Workshop.

Repurposing glass bottles:
This project takes your empty glass bottles from one party and upcycles them into decorations for your next! Any sized bottle can be transformed into a vase or centerpiece.


  • Glass beverage bottles
  • Goo Gone
  • Paint or Spray Paint
  • Twine

Zero Waste Home - Jan 2016 (85)Instructions:

  1. Remove labels and clean residual glue from bottles with Goo Gone.
  2. Swirl the inside of the bottle with paint OR Spray paint the outside of the bottle.
  3. Wrap selected areas of the bottle in twine.
  4. Variations can include using newspaper, old book pages, metallic markers, tissue paper and ribbon.

Try your hand at a DIY project at our next Zero Waste workshop! Register for our Zero Waste Shopping workshop on February 20th at Ocean Knoll Farm.



ILACSD Debuts Zero Waste Workshops

Emily Nelson, Education Manager

Thanks to the generous support of the City of Encinitas and Healthy Day Partners, I Love A Clean San Diego is currently providing free adult workshops as part of our Sustainable Living Series. After a successful kick-off in November, we’re looking forward to our upcoming workshops in January and February. Read on to learn more!

As a San Diego native, I’ve always taken pride in how our community members rally together during a time of need. Most recently, San Diegans responded impressively to our drought crisis. Between June and August of this year, San Diego county residents decreased their water usage by 27%. We’ve all worked together to take shorter showers and limit our irrigation frequency, but is there more we could be doing?

10.7.15 - SLS (33)At our first Sustainable Living Series workshop – What to Know about H2O – I Love A Clean San Diego staff set out to tackle that very question. After reviewing the history of water in San Diego, participants rolled up their sleeves and dug into our repurposed planter activity. Using items salvaged from Goodwill as pots, we planted succulents, saving water and saving items from the landfill in one fell swoop.

Following a tour of the Ocean Knoll Farm, the site of the Sustainable Living Series workshops, our educators discussed the benefits of selecting native plants as part of your outdoor landscape design. We demonstrated water-wise irrigation options, exploring the benefits of backyard rain barrels and detailing the process of installing a Laundry to Landscape greywater system. Our youngest participants got to “bling their bucket” with reminders of how to conserve water in their home.

Thanks to generous donations from Walter Andersen Nursery in Point Loma and Home Depot in Encinitas, we raffled off a rain barrel and 10 native plants, among other items. Everyone walked away with something to set them on the path to living more a more sustainable life.

Join us for our upcoming zero waste workshops: Zero Waste Home on Saturday January 9th and Zero Waste Lifestyle on February 20th, offered at no cost to you!  

Click the image to register!

Visit for more information and to register.



Reclaim and re-imagine to reduce construction waste

amanda-2-photoshopToday’s blog comes from our Hotline Manager, Amanda! You may remember her from one of our most popular blogs, “Curbing Food Waste by Gleaning” which was all about reducing food waste. Now, she’s focused on reducing another common landfill item – construction and demolition debris.  Whether you’re knocking down walls or swapping out home embellishments, you’ll be surprised how much can be recycled and repurposed! Read on to learn more about how you, too can help give these items a second life! 

Are doing some remodeling around your home?  According to the County of San Diego’s Public Works Department, each year 20% to 35% of the waste that goes to landfills in San Diego is generated from construction and demolition. This amounts to more than 1 million tons countywide. You probably already know a lot about recycling, so today we suggest thinking of a different “R” for your materials; reclaim and reimagine! You will keep valuable materials out of the landfill and make your home dazzling at the same time.

If the building materials you have are in good condition, consider donating them to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, which has locations in Mission Valley and Escondido. Items sold at these locations help to support Habitat for Humanity’s programs in San Diego County. Also, if you’re looking for materials to use for projects around your home, you can shop at ReStore too!

Construction Blog pic 1 (Habitat for Humanity ReStore)
Habitat for Humanity ReStore not only accepts donated home materials, you can shop as well!


Reconstruction Warehouse is a local company that is also available to accept your reusable construction related materials and offers a place to shop for these materials. Reconstruction Warehouse builds custom furniture from reclaimed wood, and it’s quite beautiful!  Click here to find out more about their pick-up program, plus you can also find them on Etsy!

Construction Blog pic 2 (Reco Warehouse Pallet Wall)
Reconstruction Warehouse makes beautiful custom pieces out of reclaimed wood. Visit their website to learn more!


If you are lucky enough to come across some unique and/or antique items in your home remodel, Architectural Salvage is a great option to consider. They specialize in period building materials; from vintage doorknobs to stained art glass windows, and eclectic one-of-a-kind treasures. If you aren’t sure if your materials of value, give them a call and they will be able to lend a helping hand! Learn more about Architectural Salvage here.

If you would like a little help in your home remodel project, The ReUse People of America provide deconstruction services in San Diego County. They assist with deconstructing a building, rather than demolishing it. In doing so they are able to salvage up to 80% of the buildings materials. They can assist with both full and partial deconstruction, and they are a nonprofit organization which allows you to make tax-deductive donations to them by allowing them to keep your valuable deconstructed materials. More information about the ReUse People can be found here.

Lastly, other items you may end up with after a home remodel include Asphalt & Concrete, Brick/Masonry/Tile, Dirt and scrap metal. These are all items that can be recycled! You can find a location for these items, along with info on the companies listed above, by visiting!

Construction Blog pic 3 (general C&D recycling)
Our friends at EDCO also operate SANCO, a recycling center in Lemon Grove specifically for construction and demolition debris. Click here to learn more!