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Waste and recycling

At Sempra Energy, we work to reduce our waste, reuse materials and equipment when feasible and expand our recycling programs.

In 2015, Sempra Energy and subsidiary operations generated and disposed of 115,129 metric tons of waste. Our waste and recycling programs diverted nearly 14,300 metric tons of material from landfills, generating more than $4 million in revenue. Electric transformers, meters and other metals constituted 81 percent of this total by weight.

Sempra Energy subsidiaries encourage customers to switch to paperless billing (e-billing) to reduce the amount of paper we use. Today, 2.9 million or 32 percent of our customers use these services.

Sempra Energy subsidiaries seek to extend the useful life of equipment and materials when possible, reducing costs and operational impact.

Sempra Energy generated 5,073 tons of hazardous waste in 2015 and managed and disposed of it according to applicable laws.

Good gloving

The gloves that protect SDG&E’s frontline employees cost $80-$150 per pair – they provide a crucial first line of defense for those who work with high voltage. If there is even a pinhole in a glove, there is the potential for harm.

Standard practice was when one glove failed a test in the SDG&E Protective Testing Lab, both gloves in the pair would be destroyed. When former Substation Supervisor Al Bunge learned other utilities would re-mate the good glove, he proposed a change. Today, SDG&E saves the good glove, and matches it with a new mate of like manufacturer and vintage. Since implementation in summer of 2014, this process improvement has saved the company about $3,000 per month and reduced waste, while maintaining the same high safety standards.

Since implementation last summer, this effort has saved the company $3,000 per month on average.
Leo Fuentes ensures there are no microscopic tears in this protective glove.

Old computers get new homes

It’s a normal part of the technology lifecycle: older computers are sent to an electronic waste facility to make way for newer ones.

But Joe Foster, client services manager for Sempra U.S. Gas & Power, thought there might be another, better use for these digital discards.

Joe identified Computers 2 SD Kids, a San Diego nonprofit that places computers in the homes of low-income families who can use the technology to help their children in school. Since 2014, the Global IT department has donated 150 refurbished computers, more than 100 monitors and 90 printers to the organization.

It’s an altruistic effort that not only reduces waste, but is also aligned with Sempra Energy’s core value of being a responsible partner.

Donate the best, compost the rest

Erica Sparks, public affairs advisor for SDG&E, was concerned at the amount of food being discarded in company cafeterias. She suggested food service managers look into options for donating unused portions. And in 2015, Sempra Energy and SDG&E donated more than 2,500 pounds of food to the San Diego Rescue Mission, a local nonprofit organization focused on helping the homeless transition out of poverty. That’s enough to provide more than 2,100 meals!

Sempra Energy and SDG&E also composted over 100,000 pounds of food waste in 2015 through the City of San Diego’s food waste program. The compost created is free for City of San Diego residents, meaning SDG&E customers are able to reuse the utility’s food waste as fertilizer.