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 Did your office go through a remodel and now has a bunch of outdated office decor?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.

Join the conversation #AmericaRecyclesDay

Ani_team15Ani has written another amazing blog for this week! If you follow us on social media, you know that we’re gearing up for America Recycles Day, the one day a year that is dedicated to making the most of our resources through recycling and upcycling! By the end of this blog, not only will you know what ARD is all about, but we hope you’ll be inspired to celebrate with us by boosting our recycling efforts here in San Diego!  

The 8th annual America Recycles Day is November 15th so be sure to mark your calendar! The goal of America Recycles Day, an initiative led by Keep America Beautiful, is to acknowledge our recycling efforts and stir up a conversation about what more can be done to ensure our communities stay litter-free. This is ever so important in San Diego as the city is moving towards a 75% waste diversion rate by 2020, an ambitious goal that will engage the community to think twice about what is thrown out. That means that in addition to beefing up our recycling efforts, the city is also encouraging upcycling and repairing many things that would have otherwise been thrown away.

End of campaign infographic
Click here to see the full infographic highlighting last year’s results!

Last year during our campaign, an estimated 1,015 gallons of paint, 255 gallons of motor oil, and 980 gallons of other household hazardous waste was properly disposed of thanks to the help of Waste Free SD, the County of San Diego’s Recycling and Household Hazardous Waste database lead by yours truly, I Love A Clean San Diego.

What’s new this year?

  • GLEANERS! Don’t know what a “gleaner” is? Not to worry, we’ll get you up to speed!
  • Test your blue bin knowledge. Let us know how much you know about curbside recycling.
  • In need of a fast way to recycle your old cell phone and make some cash? You’ll learn more about one of my favorite tried and true options!

This year we would also like to recognize Sony for supporting our America Recycles Day campaign and allowing us to share important recycling information with all of you through social media. Sony is one of our longest standing supporters, helping us achieve our mission year round by volunteering at cleanups and supporting our environmental education programs. Thank you, Sony!

Sony is our America Recycles Day sponsor! Thanks for investing in a clean and sustainable SD, Sony!

Be sure to connect with I Love A Clean San Diego on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep the conversation going during our 2-week long campaign. We want to congratulate your efforts and encourage everyone to recycle! Let’s keep San Diego clean, together #AmericaRecyclesDay


ILACSD Kicks Off America Recycles Day Campaign!

Today’s blog comes from our Hotline Program Assistant, Barbara and Hotline Manager, Amanda! Our hotline team is gearing up for America Recycles Day and they want to make sure you’re up-to-date on the latest and greatest tips for waste reduction, while having a little fun! Read more below about what you can look forward to leading up to America Recycles day.

America Recycles Day is the nation's one and only day dedicated solely to recycling, so get ready for 1 month of recycling tips and tricks from ILACSD to get you geared up for the BIG DAY!
America Recycles Day is the nation’s one and only day dedicated solely to recycling, so get ready for 1 month of recycling tips and tricks from ILACSD to get you geared up for the BIG DAY!

Mark your calendar for America Recycles Day on November 15th! This year marks the 7th Annual America Recycles Day- the only nationally-recognized day to celebrate our waste reduction milestones and to share ideas with one another. The goal of America Recycles Day, an initiative of Keep America Beautiful, is to inspire communities to recycle more and correctly all year long. On that note, starting today, I Love A Clean San Diego kicks off its own America Recycles Day campaign! From now until November 15th, ILACSD will share with you tips and tricks to help minimize your impact on local landfills!

sorted recycling
Thankfully, in SD most recyclable items can commingle in one bin! Paper, rigid plastics, glass, aluminum, and cartons.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest to receive our helpful tips. You can look forward to posts about –

  • #DIY upcycling tips – give old items a second life!
  • #TransformationTuesday
  • Recycling humor – yes, it does exist!
  • Tips for hard to recycle items

I Love A Clean San Diego started as an organization to combat San Diego’s litter problem, and has quickly evolved to address residents’ recycling needs, as well. ILACSD first started its recycling hotline in 1972, focusing on keeping thousands of Christmas trees out of landfills. Today, we continue to run our one-stop recycling resource,, and our newest addition,!

Christmas Tree Recycling, 1972
Challenges in finding out where to recycle Christmas trees spurred ILACSD to start a recycling hotline in 1972…more than 40 years later, it’s still going strong. Give us a call today, 1-800-237-BLUE!

As San Diego moves towards a 75% diversion rate by 2020 and a zero waste goal by 2040, we are dedicated to be your go-to resource to help reach these goals. Although this may appear to be a lofty goal, ILACSD is here to help inform fellow San Diegans and ultimately, keep valuable resources out of local landfills.

More than 51,000 Americans have already taken the America Recycles Day pledge on Keep America Beautiful’s webpage. By taking it, you pledge to learn more about the materials that can be recycled, reduce your waste by recycling, and encourage others to do the same. Click here to take the pledge today!

For more information on all of your recycling, reuse, and repair needs, visit and!


Pledge to Give Your Garbage Another Life!

One day to educate and motivate. One day to get our neighbors, friends and colleagues excited about what can be accomplished when we all work together. One day to make recycling bigger and better 365 days a year!  Help  the County of San Diego and ILACSD celebrate America Recycles Day  by joining us for an after-school cleanup in Alpine! We’ll be teaming up with students, parents and teachers from Boulder Oaks Elementary School to clean up the neighborhood. We would love your help in spreading the message about the importance of recycling year-round!

America Recycles Day

Why is this day so important? Let’s look at the numbers: the average American produces 4.4 pounds of trash a day, and on the whole the United States produces more than 250 million tons of trash a year. San Diegans produce more than the national average, at 5.4 pounds a day! However, only about 35 percent is currently recycled, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

 Recycling provides many benefits including:

  • Conserving natural resources: Recycling conserves trees, water, and minerals – preserving the environment for future generations.
  • Reduction of the need for landfills: Recycling allows material to re-enter the marketplace as new products instead of taking up space in landfills.
  • Pollution prevention: Recycling avoids greenhouse gas emissions (caused by processing and  extraction of raw materials) equivalent to removing more than 34 million cars from the road each  year.
  • Energy savings: Recycling reduces the need to extract and process raw materials.
  • Job creation: Recycling helps create new jobs in the United States for both the recycling industry and manufacturing.

 How can you help? Here’s our call to action!

  • Sign up to volunteer at our after-school cleanup
  • Learn about what is recycled in your community through our website, WasteFreeSD
  • Take the “I Recycle” pledge:  whether at home or at the office, commit to recycle more and give your garbage another life!

Take the Green Business Pledge this America Recycles Day!

America Recycles Day happens once a year, and it serves as a great opportunity to recognize big things happening in recycling and waste reduction, as well as to motivate others to take action!

The 3 R’s – recycle, reduce, reuse – are inherently connected.  To be a successful business, you must have all three.

Case in point: Take Sony Electronics. Their North America headquarters are here in San Diego, and they have been taking strides to reduce the strain that their facility and its hundreds of employees put on our local waste stream.

Sony employees volunteering for our Creek to Bay cleanup
Sony employees volunteering for our Creek to Bay cleanup

How do they do this?

  1. Food waste composting: Their campus includes a cafe where many employees enjoy all sorts of lunch options from a salad bar to sushi. Instead of throwing away the food waste, facilities teams now compost it.The bins are picked up weekly and taken to Miramar for composting. They are on track to divert 10 tons of waste annually, as a result of their composting program.
  2. Single stream recycling: The easier you make things, the more participation you’ll get. Placing all types of recycling in one container isn’t the most innovative practice, but how about having centralized recycling containers on each floor that serve as visible reminders to recycle? Perhaps water cooler chat will  relocate to  to the recycling station.
  3. Employee engagement: Engaging employees in environmental education and volunteer efforts surrounding conservation is another key way that Sony drives home the message that each of our actions has an effect on the local environment. By picking up litter at canyon cleanups or attending an education session at the office, environmental conservation is top of mind. This then transitions into employees’ ownership and support of in-house  recycling programs and the adoption of sustainable behaviors.   Furthermore employees are encouraged to join Sony’s Green Workspace Certification program.  This program outlines simple yet effective every day actions that make a real difference in waste, water and energy reduction.  Rewards and incentives are available for achievers in the program.  All of these initiatives (and many more) are helping Sony along the path to their global “Road to Zero” long term environmental goal.

Any waste is a waste of resources.” says Eric Johnson, Sustainability Manager at Sony.  “By changing some of our internal processes and giving our employees some tools to reduce the waste they generate at work we are aiming to divert at least 15 tons of garbage from the Miramar landfill and increase our recycling rate by 10% over the next year.”


Whether your business has 50 employees or 500, there are always ways to lessen the impact your office has on the environment. Here are a few easy-to-implement suggestions:

-Purchase paper that has, minimum, 30 percent recycled content

-Change the settings on all employee computers so that printing defaults to double-sided copies

– Ensure that each employee has convenient recycling options for common office items like paper and cardboard

– Utilize natural light, when possible, to cut down on energy;  keeping the blinds open and opting for low-walled cubicles will help to spread light throughout the office

America Recycles Day 2011!

Every year on November 15th communities across the country come together to celebrate America Recycles Day, a day dedicated to educating and motivating our neighbors, friends and community leaders to recycle!  

America Recycles Day logoThis year, over 800 students at Los Coches Creek Middle School participated in an EnviroFair in celebration of America Recycles Day her in San Diego. I Love A Clean San Diego and The County of San Diego worked together to educate 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students about recycling and the importance of conserving the environment.

Activities included a lesson on recycling rules  and a fast and furious Recycle Relay by I Love A Clean San Diego educators, a composting discussion and demonstration by the Solana Center, watershed model presentations and water quality testing from the Splash Science Mobile Lab, and informational booths and recycled giveaways from Allied Waste, the County of San Diego, and I Love A Clean San Diego.

Greg Bledsoe of NBC San Diego caught some great action shots during the day, click here to view the video!

Los Coches Creek Middle School already has their own recycling program in place, with bins in classrooms and around campus. Shauna Stueve, a teacher at the school, gets help from students to ensure that the program runs effectively and that all recyclable items are placed in the correct bins. The EnviroFair showed students why their recycling efforts are so important. According to Robert Wade, a science teacher at Los Coches Creek Middle School, “Students were engaged and challenged by your staff and they all came away with global ideas they could implement in their daily lives.”

Immediately after school, many of the students and teachers joined I Love A Clean San Diego in a community cleanup in the area surrounding the school. Trash and recyclable materials were collected separately, and many students were surprised at how much litter they found in their community. Sonja Washer, a math and science teacher at Los Coches Creek middle school thanked I Love A Clean San Diego after the event, saying, “Thank you again for your concern for our environment and for educating our students so our futures are cleaner.”

One-Stop Recycling Resource

Have old paint cans, batteries, or electronics lying around the house? I Love A Clean San Diego provides San Diegans with an online recycling database,, plus a bilingual hotline (1-877-R-1-EARTH) that offer useful tips for safe disposal of paints and other household waste. This information about waste disposal and recycling helps to prevent illegal dumping, and prevents hazardous materials from entering our landfills, stopping serious environmental problems before they happen. In 2011, we provided referrals to keep 19,000 items out of local landfills!

Recycling from Past to Present

This week was a big one for the environmental community. Monday we celebrated America Recycles Day across the country with a proclamation from President Obama himself. While it was long and a bit dry, there were a few parts that really resonated with us, and reassured us of the importance of our work.

Each small act of conservation, when combined with other innumerable deeds across the country, can have an enormous impact on the health of our environment.  On America Recycles Day, we celebrate the individuals, communities, local governments, and businesses that work together to recycle waste and develop innovative ways to manage our resources more sustainably.

Recycling is important, and for some it’s easier than others. When I Love A Clean San Diego made the commitment to serve the community in 1954, recycling was term rarely used. Through phone book recycling drives, Christmas tree recycling programs, electronic waste collection events and our Disposal Solution Center,, I Love A Clean San Diego has always been first to tackle a recycling challenge.

We were especially happy to hear the report out on Monday from the City of San Diego which announced that the 2010 recycling diversion rate is their highest ever, at 66%. While we don’t want to strain a muscle patting ourselves on the back for this accomplishment, we know that I Love A Clean San Diego’s efforts over the past 56 years may have something to do with this recycling success. But, as a city and a county, there is still room for improvement. Why not shoot for 75% diversion from our landfills? But how?

Good news for those of you living in within the City of San Diego. The City of San Diego also announced on Monday that they will be accepting many more “rigid plastics” in the blue curbside bins. These items include clean plastic food packaging, plant pots, toys, even lawn furniture. The complete press release with all the new rigid plastic rules can be found on the City of San Diego’s website.

And to provide some inspiration for all of us who sometimes struggle with recycling, here’s another excerpt from Obama’s proclamation.

On America Recycles Day, let us respond to our collective responsibility as a people and a Nation to be better stewards of our global environment, and to pass down a planet to future generations that is better than we found it.

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!