Posts Tagged 'wastefreesd'

The Right Way to Recycle: Aerosol Cans

As many of us at ILACSD know, one of the biggest barriers to getting folks to recycle is a lack of education on what is recyclable and how easy it can be! What might seem like constant changes to the items that can or cannot go into a blue bin often leave residents feeling a little confused. So today, let’s take a moment to talk about the right way to recycle a common household item… aerosol cans!

Open one of the cabinets in your kitchen, bathroom, or garage and chances are you’ll find an aerosol can. Though hairspray might be the first thing to pop into your head when you think of aerosols (I can’t be the only one picturing big 80s hair and an Aqua Net can?), the list of products that come in aerosol form is quite extensive. Here are just a few examples of products that are contained within the cylinder walls of an aerosol can:

Kitchen

Bathroom

Garage

Cooking Oil

Shaving Cream Gardening Chemicals

Whipped Cream

Hair Spray

Spray Paint

Cleaning Products

Dry Shampoo

Auto Maintenance
Products

 Air Freshener

Sunscreen

Insect Repellants

Deodorant

Shower/Toilet
Cleaners

Aerosol containers are composed of steel and aluminum. Steel is very similar to aluminum when it comes to its sustainable recycling capabilities according to our friends at Ball Corporation. You can check out our post on can growlers where we reviewed the benefits of materials like steel and aluminum for packaging. Because of its composition, aerosol cans are begging to be recycled. So how do you recycle them?

Well, when recycling an aerosol can, you first need to answer the question: “Is it completely empty?”

If you answered yes:

Awesome! Way to be aware of your needs, use up your products completely, and create less waste. Still, it is important that ensure that aerosol cans are completely empty. A quick way to be certain that the can is empty is to listen closely. Give the can a shake or spray (listen for any remaining fluid inside and verify that the product is no longer coming out of the nozzle). Once you know the can is empty, you can toss it in your blue bin for curbside recycling! No other steps are necessary. Make sure you never puncture aerosol can as it can be dangerous. There is no need to remove the nozzle before placing it in your recycling bin.

If you answered no:

Aerosol cans that still contain fluids are considered hazardous waste. You can still recycle these cans though! First, try offering the remaining contents to a friend or neighbor who might want it. Put the item on your local “Buy Nothing” page or see if it is able to be donated (unused spray paint can be donated Habitat for Humanity if it is in good enough condition). If you cannot donate or give the remaining product, you’ll want to treat it like any other household hazardous waste. Use the search bar on WasteFreeSD.org to find the closest location for recycling your hazardous waste.

So that’s it! Empty aerosol cans go directly in your blue bin to be recycled. Be sure to only buy as much of a product as you need and use it until it is depleted. Not only will that help you waste less, but it will make your recycling as easy as can be!

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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 WasteFreeSD.org ). When you want to recycle the collected e-waste, simply use the search bar on WasteFreeSD.org 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 WasteFreeSD.org 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 WasteFreeSD.org 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, WasteFreeSD.org. For those who have not visited the site, WasteFreeSD.org 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, WasteFreeSD.org provides recycling information, but more resources are coming soon!

So what’s the exciting news you ask? WasteFreeSD.org 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. WasteFreeSD.org 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 WasteFreeSD.org.

Newly redesigned features to WasteFreeSD.org 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
  • RepairSD.org will be housed under one website (no need for two separate searches!)
WFSD after

Sneak peek at the newly redesigned WasteFreeSD.org!!

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!

The moment that inspired Leila to create less waste

“We generate enough trash to fill Qualcomm Stadium each year…”

The words spoken by my Conservation Science and Policy professor sent an unsettling feeling straight to the pit of my stomach. That is an insane amount of trash. Buried right here in the City? No way. Yet, there I was sitting in a desk learning about waste management policies and how they impact our environment. I learned that the Miramar Landfill is San Diego’s only active landfill. San Diego’s trash is buried in a site that opened in 1959 and is projected to close between 2020 – 2025! That got me thinking. Where will the trash go? How does that much even exist here in the City? Enough to fill Qualcomm? Is recycling not enough to reduce landfill input?

Miramar Landfill KPBS

photo credit: KPBS; Katie Orr

 All of these questions echoed in my head when I found myself sitting in a bus on a field trip, in the middle of the current open “pit” at the Miramar Landfill. There I was in a crater of trash, an eyesore of waste piled multiple feet high. The view unearthed the ugly truth that waste is a huge issue that is usually out of site, out of mind. Sitting in the middle of the trash I had the same unsettling feeling and I felt compelled to act.

bench

Toothbrushes made from recycled yogurt cups and benches constructed out of milk jugs serve as proof that we can do more with our resources.

From that day on I decided to embrace the zero waste lifestyle. I started by reflecting on the trash I produced and looking into organizations that were helping to combat the waste issues in San Diego. Research led me to stumble upon I Love A Clean San Diego. I was inspired by the cleanups and the passion for sustainability the organization embodied. I became more impressed when I found WasteFreeSD.org and how it is a resource for residents like me who want to divert their waste in an environmentally friendly manner.

WhatToRecycleMagnet

Start with the basics!

I feel fortunate to now be a part of the team! Assisting the Call Center allows me to direct residents to proper disposal facilities, help keep hazardous waste out of the landfill, and provide repair and reuse options to those who are also waste conscious. My journey with zero waste all started with the pit, both literally and figuratively. Think back to a time that really impacted you, maybe you acted on it, maybe you didn’t but the impact it had is still just as important. Grasp that feeling; it can change your life and the planet’s.

c2b16 mountain view park (200)

Leila (far left) and two of our interns checking out cleanup supplies at our annual Creek to Bay Cleanup!

Visit CleanSD.org to learn how you can get involved in making a lasting impact on our environment!

Food Waste: Impact beyond the Plate

My faceHi I’m Shannon and as one of the marketing interns for ILACSD I am excited to have the opportunity to explore the effects of food waste . My interest in food deserts and the lack of healthy food options in America led me to investigate how food waste affects our community and ways we can prevent it all together.

When I think about wasted food I imagine feeling guilty about leaving those last pieces of broccoli on my plate after dinner, however, food waste is much more serious than wasting a few good veggies. Food waste refers to the massive quantity of quality food that is wasted annually instead of being given to those in need. According to the National Resources Defense Council, “Forty percent of the food produced in the United States never gets eaten.” So what does food waste really do?

Don’t worry there are ways to fight back against food waste!

The San Diego Department of Public Works has some great solutions to help you minimize food waste in the future. They rely upon the Environmental Protection Agency’s food recovery strategy to most efficiently and cost effectively reduce San Diego’s food waste. Based on this hierarchy, San Diego’s DPW established a food waste system based on 3 simple steps: Reduce, Donate and Compost.

Food Recovery Hierachy

To best implement waste reduction in our personal lives the DPW suggests re-considering portion sizes, limiting the number of menu items you order when you go out to eat and planning all the week’s meals so your grocery list only consists of what you need to make those meals. According to the DPW it is important to be conscious of the volume of food you eat in comparison to the volume of food you waste.

Donating leftover food is another great way to reduce food waste! There are a lot of local organizations that lead San Diego’s effort to feed hungry San Diegans. Check out Feeding America and San Diego Food Bank for local options to donate your leftover quality food. Reducing food waste also means giving those without the means to feed themselves the food they need to survive.

CV_AfterSchool_compost (4)

Kids think composting is fun too!

The final step is using spoiled and leftover food for composting in your own backyard or neighborhood! Check out our previous blogs on composting to see how easy and fun it really is.

It’s important to remember that food waste is a serious national issue so let’s work together to help make San Diego even better than it already is and improve the lives of thousands in the process!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

IMG_5570blog

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 WasteFreeSD.org for recycling options near you!

Zero Waste 101

What is zero waste? First, let’s define what zero waste is to better understand how it affects you and what it means for our communities.

Zero waste is the process of eliminating reusable or repairable materials from ending up in the landfill. Zero waste encourages manufacturers, municipalities, and consumers to evaluate current consumption patterns and minimize single-use items. In order to divert materials from the landfill we must share the responsibility of producing and consuming sustainable products while limiting our use of disposable items.

Zero Waste Alternatives

Now that we know what zero waste means, let’s explore why this practice impacts San Diegans. Currently, the Miramar Landfill is composed of reusable substances; yes that is right REUSABLE substances. The top 3 reusable substances in our landfill are:

Organics (food scraps, yard waste) 39%

Construction and Demolition (building materials) 25%

Paper 17%

When we choose to send these items to the landfill, large amounts of methane gas are released which pose serious public and environmental health concerns. On the positive side,  all of this can either be recycled, reused or composted, which means, we can do something about it! ZW blog landfill

In response to the amount of reusable materials in the landfill (or should we say landFULL) the City of San Diego adopted a zero waste plan to focus on reusing rather than disposing items. Currently, the City of San Diego diversion rate has been consistent around 67%. Here is an outline of upcoming benchmarks for the city’s waste diversion plan:

  • 75%  by 2020
  • 90%  2035
  • 100% diversion rate by 2040.

The plan’s primary focus is on organics diversion. There are several resources available to help you reduce food waste through planning and composting. Learn more at by reading about some of our past food waste blogs and WasteFreeSD.org!

Even I Love A Clean San Diego’s Recycling and Household Hazardous Waste database is getting a zero waste makeover! Stay tuned for the redesign release of WasteFreeSD.org this summer! The new database will include a easy to use search bar that will help you find convenient ways to divert waste from the landfill!

Goodwill or should we say Greenwill?

SONY DSCToday’s blog comes from our Hotline Assistant, Ani! As our Hotline Assistant, she is always on the hunt for great recycling resources to recommend to hotline callers as well as those who use our database, www.WasteFreeSD.org. Recently, she took a tour of Goodwill’s different locations to see exactly what the life of a donated item looks like. What if no one buys it? Where does it go? At the end of the tour, Ani was surprised to learn about all the different initiatives that Goodwill is taking to benefit the environment and keep items out of our landfills. Read on – we bet you’ll learn something new!

I had the great pleasure of going on a Goodwill Tour alongside city officials from Escondido, Oceanside, Poway, and Encinitas. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Goodwill goes above and beyond to find every donated item a home! 

My portion of the tour started at a local retail store where I witnessed Goodwill employees receiving donations on the back-end of the store. I saw how they carefully cleaned and priced items, this location alone receives donations from up to 150 donors a day! If you are looking to donate some unwanted items, find a Goodwill or second-hand store near you by searching our database, www.WasteFreeSD.org!

IMG_0361

Forget what you know about Goodwill – check out the Clairemont Retail Store’s trendy boutique style display!

I also learned about the rotation process. If an item does not get sold, it is relocated to another store in hopes that a special someone will notice its uniqueness and purchase it.

Our next stop was the Kearny Mesa Bookstore, a new location centered in a lively shopping center next to coffee shops and restaurants. There I learned that books are organized by genre and author to offer customers a better experience when browsing.

IMG_0374

Check out their E-business Warehouse and much more online!

The last 2 stops are where I learned just how dedicated Goodwill Industries is to diverting waste from the landfill. At their E-Business Warehouse donations are maximized by increasing their value online. Customers can browse through over 22,000 items listed online and bid on unique, lightly used items.

The last stop of the tour is a spot where donated items end up if they are not sold in any of their stores and are auctioned off in bulk. If not auctioned after several attempts, Goodwill AfterMarket separates the items, then recycles ALL donation items.

Do you have items that are well past their prime and can’t be used it their current state? Our database also has plenty of recycling resources for odd items including shoes, clothing, and more!

IMG_0372

Goodwill will take your single shoes and recycle them! Find a location near you at www.WasteFreeSD.org

It truly was an informative tour! Waste diversion is possible and Goodwill is contributing to San Diego’s zero waste plans in an immense way. Thanks for the great tour, Goodwill!

IMG_0376

Our knowledgeable tour guide (far right) along with all the tour attendees including city officials from Escondido, Oceanside, Poway and Encinitas!

Do you have items at your home or office that are in need of a new home or perhaps need just a little T.L.C? Check out our online recycling and repair databases, WasteFreeSD.org and RepairSD.org, to find landfill alternatives near you!

 

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 WasteFreeSD.org!

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!

 

 

Green Up Your Spring Cleaning!

Amanda, ILACSD Hotline ManagerAlthough the groundhog saw its shadow and predicted six more weeks of winter last month, it sure feels like spring has taken hold in San Diego! For today’s blog, Amanda, our Hotline Manager, has put together a variety of useful tips to help jumpstart your eco-friendly spring cleaning!

Some may argue that San Diego only has two seasons – summer and a slightly cooler and rainier version of summer. Nevertheless, it is officially spring! Along with visions of bunnies, tulips and warmer weather – you’ll probably think of (and dread!) spring cleaning when you hear the word “spring”.

Eco-friendly products are now more popular than ever, but how do you know if what you’re purchasing is really helping to protect the environment? The EPA is rolling out a new program this spring/summer, it is called the Safer Choice Label. These labels will not only help you choose products that are safer for our environment, they will also help you choose products that are safer for your family, children and pets. More information on the EPA’s program can be found here

Per the EPA  – “Only products that meet our Safer Choice Standard, which includes stringent human health and environmental criteria, are allowed to carry the label.”

If you aren’t able to find a product with the Safer Choice Label, there are a few things you can look for when choosing an eco-friendly cleaner on your own. Here is a list of harmful ingredients to avoid:

  • Phosphates and EDTA, or ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid
  • Butyl or 2-butoxyethanol and oxalatesgreen cleaning alternatives

In place of these harsh chemicals, look for sodium citrate, sodium bicarbonate alkyl polyglycoside, isopropanol and glycerol on the ingredients list.  For more information, check out this article from Washington Post!

If you have a little more time to invest, DIY cleaning products are great alternatives as well! You can make anything from glass cleaner to furniture polish to carpet cleaner with some basic products you may already have at home. You can clean your toilet bowl with vinegar and baking soda – yes, just like the volcanoes you made as a kid! Find more tips on our Pinterest board “Clean and Green” including this great Buzzfeed article about DIY household products!

After your house is spick and span, remember to repair, recycle, donate, reuse and/or properly dispose of the excess items, putting things in their place. If you need a refresher on what is considered trash, recyclable, and household hazardous waste turn to www.WasteFreeSD.org! Our database also has lots of information about donation and recycling centers to help you get rid of unwanted items!

Find this handy resource on wastefreesd.org!

Find this handy resource on WasteFreeSD.org!

 


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