Monday, February 12, 2018

Binational Bench Project Serves Hundreds in Mexico

Sometimes practicing sustainability requires us to think outside the box. 

When local nonprofit Sustainable Surplus was approached by colleagues at the City of San Diego about finding a home for 150 used bus-stop benches, CEO Sue Prelozni had to put on her thinking cap.  After she exhausted her “green network” in San Diego County, she reached out to her friends at the Binational Coalition of Nonprofits (BCN) in Mexico.

BCN partner, Adolfo Delgado, Executive Director of the Comité Binacional Unidos por la Niñez (CBUN) was able to give her an unequivocal “yes.”  He made a few calls to nonprofit and charitable organizations they serve in Mexico and he committed to taking all the benches.

There was a resounding sense of relief and satisfaction with all parties involved.

The benches are made of a fiberglass material which is very difficult to recycle and will not naturally
decompose.  “Their footprint in the landfill would have been huge – about 19 cubic yards,” explained Steve Weihe, Recycling Specialist with the City of San Diego Environmental Services Department.

“The City of San Diego’s Environmental Services Department (ESD) staff identified a potential reuse opportunity to divert the bus benches from the Miramar Landfill,” said ESD Director, Mario Sierra. “With assistance from Sustainable Surplus and the Bi-national Coalition of Non-profits, the benches were refurbished and repurposed. Examples like this highlight ESD’s commitment to the City’s Zero Waste Plan.”

Prelozni added, “Our participation in the Binational Coalition, especially our work with Mr. Delgado’s organization, has resulted in a dozen cross-border donations this year.” The coalition was formed in 2017 to facilitate the handling of donated items that cannot be reused or repurposed locally.

According to Delgado, the benches are being distributed in the state of Sinaloa, the cities of Mazatlan and Culiacan; Loreto in Baja California Sur, and in Tijuana, Tecate, Rosarito and Ensenada in Baja California.  “They will be used in parks, churches, schools, and community centers,” he added.

“When we learned that the owner of the old benches was planning to dispose of them in the landfill, we were grateful that Sustainable Surplus stepped up and found new homes for them,” said Rob Schupp Director of Marketing and Communications for the Metropolitan Transit System. “Sustainability is a core value of public transportation and this is a great example of agencies coming together to find solutions that are good for the planet.”

Key to the project is the goal of ongoing sustainability.  Everyone from the City of San Diego, MTS, SSE and BCN agreed that this program should continue as a solution for future redistribution of benches and serve to be an example of environmental awareness to other communities.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Back-to-School BYOB a Great Success

You know summer is ending when the Back to School BYOB is happening!
And it was a great success!
We had 175 people register and we went through 8 palettes of office supplies -
THANKS to Milton's Bakery, we had organic chips to give out, along with super nice reusable shopping bags.  Many teachers used them to fill up with supplies.
Thanks to all our terrific volunteers - BYOB continues to be a winner!

September 17 for  Lab supplies BYOB

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

SSE Adds Two Students to Success Program

Sustainable Surplus aided two more students in its Success 4 Students program by giving them computer set ups including a PCU, monitor, keyboard and mouse.
"We chose two students who are enrolled in the TRIO program at Palomar College," said executive director, Sue Prelozni.Students are chosen based upon their need and status in school.
One recipient, Autumn, is in her first year in college, and is financially on her own. "Having access to a reliable computer will help me spend less time on campus and give me a stable means to complete my assignments," she mentioned.
Danielle Guerra,TRIO specialist, Autumn, and Sue of SSE
The other recipient, Eric, will be working on his third Associates degree in Fall 2017 with plans to attend UC Riverside next year. He participates in many campus clubs including the Native America club, MECHA, Muslim student Alliance and the Associated student government where he was a delegate since 2011.

TRIO Supervisor, Juan , Eric, and Sue Prelozni, ED SSE
For more information on the Success 4 Students program contact

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Sustainable Surplus Launches New Website

New website - new look - new store
Please check out our new website.  We invite your feedback!  
Remember:  The "Exchange" is now ReUse 4 Good.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

SSE Opens ReUse 4 Good Resale Shop

Sustainable Surplus (SSE) announced the opening of its first resale shop, called ReUse 4 Good, in Escondido.  SSE repurposes donated commercial surplus, everything from office supplies and furniture, to computers and lab equipment, to community organizations.

Until now, SSE has focused on repurposing items to educational, charitable, military and start-up organizations via its online store by the same name.  “This is our first time opening the doors to the general public,” noted CEO Sue Prelozni.  “This expansion supports our mission to divert still useful items from the landfill and make them available for reuse.”

The new ReUse 4 Good shop is located at 302 W El Norte Parkway.  It is a membership thrift shop.  While membership continues to be free for teachers, nonprofit and military families, it is $25 per year for individuals and $35 for small enterprises, giving them access to very inexpensive items. For example, a task chair which resells for $200-$350 only costs $25-$35 at ReUse 4 Good.

The shop will be open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and alternate Saturdays.  SSE is seeks volunteers to help with customer service during shop hours.  To apply, volunteers can contact the office directly at 888.780.4416.

SSE has served close to 900 organizations throughout San Diego County.  Through its reuse program, $3.2 million of items have been redistributed to those organizations, diverting more than 650,000 pounds of solid waste from the landfill.  Companies interested in participating in the program should contact the director at the number listed above.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

SSE Launches New Program: Success 4 Students

June 1, 2017 – San Diego – Inspired by outreach from a Student Services Coordinator at Mira Costa College, Sustainable Surplus (SSE) announced a new program, “Success 4 Students,” to support students in need at local high schools, community colleges and universities.

Each month SSE will collaborate with local educational entities to identify a student in need and provide them with items to help them succeed on their educational journey. Items range from computers to office supplies to desks.  The program will accommodate up to four students a month to start.

“Recently we helped a single mom, Sofia, who is a student at Mira Costa and is struggling to make ends meet,” said SSE’s CEO Sue Prelozni.  Apparently, Sofia could not afford to buy a computer and was doing her homework on her cell phone.  SSE provided her a computer; the Mira Costa services coordinator, Beatriz Palmer, bought the necessary software program out of her own personal funds.

Sofia commented, “Now that I have my computer I am able to finish my projects from home and can spend more time with my two-year-old daughter.”

Recently SSE learned that Sofia needed a small desk for her apartment.  She offered to buy one, but Ms. Prelozni refused the offer and had a computer desk delivered to Sofia’s home. “We pay it forward in furniture.”

To learn more about the Success 4 Students program, please inquire at SSE – 888.780.4416, ext 2.