Sycuan Casino.

Sycuan Casino has a long-standing tradition of having a positive impact on the community, and helping the planet is top of mind not only for staff, but also for guests. Since 2008, Sycuan’s Green Team has lead the charge to educate, elevate and consecrate its mission to its employees by developing a proactive recycling program with its employees and visitors.

Since its inception, the Green Team has strived to show how a small organizational change can have a huge impact. The group of 14 dedicated volunteer members have given their personal time and energy to continue what the original team started in motion. Now in its eighth year, the Casino is pulling its weight in recycling well beyond all expectations, in fact, it has become a profitable endeavor!

One of the original team members, Mary Meier, who is still with Sycuan, shared her fervor with Giving Back Magazine as to why this is an important task not only for the Casino staff, but also for its patrons. She comments, “the success of this Green Team is directly related to the dedication of our committee volunteers. Many organizations have dedicated departments responsible for these tasks. We do it because we care, we are able to communicate with and engage our team effectively, without any impact to payroll but with a major impact to our environment”

This great task of reducing, reusing and recycling are at the cornerstone of the Green Team’s mission. What started off with one recycle bin for aluminum cans in the employee dining room is now a full featured effort around the Casino grounds. Slowly but surely, different departments began engaging themselves with their own ideas for conservation. The Bingo Department was one of the first to get involved after discovering that they could recycle players’ bingo cards, even after being colored with the daubers which in turn can be recycled. The food and beverage staff also hopped on board and decided to have a filtered-water cooler to eliminate the use of bottled water. Now, employees have their own reusable water bottle, which gets distributed every year during Earth Day.

Realizing that Sycuan Casino’s guests also are environmentally conscious, those visiting the grounds can now count with eight charging stations ready to plug in their hybrid vehicles. To further their commitment, The Green Team has stepped up its mission and has even initiated their Cell Phones for Soldiers. Acknowledging the high-cost of international calls for military families to their loved ones in service, the Green Team came to action and began turning old cell phones into phone cards for veteran and active-duty military members.

Angela Loop, Green Team Volunteer Committee Member tells Giving Back Magazine, “My favorite green team initiative is the Cell Phones for Soldiers program, which is why I volunteered to take over the program when I joined the Green Team a few years ago. It is personal to me because I am a Navy Wife, and I know how much it means to the families of Deployed Military to be able to have that contact with them.”

To date, nearly 1,500 phones have been converted for military families use. Since 2012, 2.6 million pounds of recyclable materials have been processed through the Green Team’s approved program including nearly 800 tons of cardboard, 180 tons of PET bottles and over 10 tons of electronic waste/E-waste and monies made are fed back into the program turning trash into cash, making our region a better place, TOGETHER!

Sycuan Casino continues to pull its environmental conservationist weight and this month is no exception. In partnership with Secure E-Waste Solutions the Sycuan Green Team will be hosting an e-waste event on April 22 from 10 am – 2 pm at Sycuan Casino at 5469 Casino Way, El Cajon 92019 (please no light bulbs or batteries). Secure Hard Drive Destruction – usually $20 – will be FREE!