ENCINITAS — A workshop to help businesses make their workplace more sustainable and help reduce waste to our nearing-capacity landfill will take place next Dec. 10 in Encinitas.
The Green Business Solutions Workshop will be held from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at the Encinitas Library. Presenters from I Love a Clean San Diego will identify the importance of a zero-waste lifestyle, how to implement these practices in your business, and the economic benefits of going green.
“Here in San Diego, each person sends about 5.6 pounds of trash to the landfill every day. That is higher than the state average of 5.3 pounds per capita per day,” Tasha Dewey, an adult education specialist with I Love A Clean San Diego, said, citing data from CalRecycle from 2017. “At this rate, the Miramar Landfill is set to close in 2030, at which time the city will need to find another, natural, space to dig another landfill, displacing the plants and animals that reside there — not to mention the impacts on the human communities that live nearby. This rate of disposal is completely unnecessary and absolutely avoidable, with some simple changes to our daily habits.”
Dewey said a great place for businesses to start is to build a “green team,” which is a group of people who are committed to making their workplace more sustainable. The group would meet regularly to identify the sustainability needs of the workplace, and then take the initiative to meet those needs as best they can.
Dewey said identifying a business’ starting place and sustainability needs are the first step toward a zero-waste workplace. She suggests starting with smaller, easier to accomplish tasks, like starting a recycling or compost bin if none exists, or updating signage on landfill/recycle bins, and building up to larger changes, for example changing to more sustainable suppliers, or eliminating single-use plastics.
Dewey said some of the economic impacts for a business going green include reduced costs associated with less frequent waste hauling; reduced costs from no longer supplying single-use items in common areas, like disposable coffee/water cups, napkins, k-cups, or plastic water bottles; reduced utilities costs when switching to more energy- and water-efficient fixtures; and tax write-offs for donating food or items no longer in use.
Dewey said that this issue is not one-sided, it will take a combination of efforts — from individuals who are the consumers, businesses who are the producers and governments who are the regulators — to effectively tackle our waste problem.
“However, the time has passed when we can comfortably wait for someone else, another sector, to take these necessary steps,” she said. “If we are to extend the life of our landfill past the next ten years, we must start working now.”
Dewey said since 2015, I Love A Clean San Diego has held a total of 40 community workshops, helping to educate more than 1,500 individuals about waste reduction, composting, and general sustainability.
Dewey said the Dec. 10 Green Business Solutions Workshop marks the eighth the nonprofit has offered to businesses. She said the information is valuable for all business models, whether you work in an office, a restaurant, or in retail.
She said during the workshop, attendees separate into three breakout discussion groups, choosing which group to join based on what they feel is their company’s biggest challenge to going green — economic impact, support from leadership or employee engagement. From there, attendees will have the opportunity to troubleshoot solutions with each other, share best practices and challenges they may have faced within their individual organizations, and come up with creative solutions.
Dewey said each group will share highlights from their breakout discussion with the room at large at the end. There will also be appetizers served and a few zero waste-themed raffle prizes.
“By attending this workshop, each person is helping to collectively move us forward, toward a more sustainable future, with more natural spaces and less trash,” Dewey said.
Tawny McCray is a native San Diegan and graduate of San Diego State University. She has known she wanted to be a journalist since writing for her Jr. High School newspaper in 1991. She has worked at The Star News in Chula Vista, The San Diego Union Tribune and ABC 10News San Diego. She has recently freelanced for Scripps Ranch News and The Poway Eagle and is a longtime freelancer with creators.com. She is working on authoring books with her twin sister, Nyla. She and her husband have two kids and live in South Park.