San Diego Business Journal

The city of San Diego has recognized 10 businesses and institutions that have implemented or expanded innovative waste reduction and recycling programs.

The programs honored included everything from establishing a cigarette butt collection and recycling program, to creating a system to track solid waste tonnage to identify diversion opportunities.

Those honored were: LJ Crafted Wines where they have had wine membership utilizing reusable bottles with swing tops that are returned and exchanged. The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority for establishing a cigarette butt collection and recycling program. The butts are shipped TerraCycle which composts the cigarette paper and tobacco. The plastic filters are recycled and turned into outdoor benches and tables. San Diego Mesa College composted 16.34 tons of pre-consumer food scraps from campus cafeterias and coffee shops for the on-campus garden. UC San Diego had all construction and demolition projects be required to divert 75% of debris from landfills. San Diego State University implemented the SkySpark solid waste tracking system which is an online interactive waste dashboard that tracks tonnages specific to buildings on campus to help analyze and identify diversion opportunities. Johnson R&D made efforts to become a paperless facility, switching to digital signage to reduce the number of posters and flyers. The Hazard Center hosted an annual recycle and spring clean up event for tenants to properly dispose of items that normally are not recycled. The San Diego Zoo was honored for recycling electricity via a one-megawatt energy battery that stores and discharges energy during peak hours to assist with park operations. Sharp Healthcare diverted 4.2 million pounds of material from being dumped in the landfill. This included composting 500,000 pounds of food waste and reprocessing 106,000 pounds of surgical instruments. The San Diego Food Bank used a “Turbo Separator” to take unopened but damaged and inedible cans, boxes, and jars of food and separate the food from the packaging for compost and recycling.

“By reducing their carbon footprint in our communities, these workplaces are showing the community they care about the city’s future,” said Gene Matter, the city’s environmental services interim director.


In this era of COVID-19, bringing holiday cheer to those less fortunate has never been more important. Two local companies, Allen Matkins Law Firm and San Diego Fluid Systems Technologies joined Father Joe’s Villages’ Thanksgiving Day 5K to give back to their communities in a special way.

With social distancing being the norm the event could not be held in Balboa Park as it has for 18 years, so things looked a little different with each teammate being required to complete the “5K Your Way” remotely –from a location of their choice.

A great idea, not only did it allow for employees to bond while maintaining social distancing, but it opened up the event to more people who could participate at their own speed.


Don’t forget to register for the San Diego Business Journal’s 2020 Corporate & Social Responsibility Diversity & Inclusion Awards which will be held virtually at 2 p.m. on Dec. 10. More information may be found at