Promising Pages (1st Place Winner)
This revolutionary nonprofit uses donated books to turn ordinary kids into enthusiastic bookworms! Their unique programs and corresponding books help promote a life-long love of reading which in turn improves reading scores, self esteem and our community as a whole.
Promising Pages upcycles used children's books. Volunteers holistically clean and process donated books, which go back into the community to tens of thousands of kids who have few, if any books at to call their own. The used books are offered for self-selection by children, including 1,500 Title One “bookworms” and 400 YMCA “Y-Readers” throughout the summer. Since 2012, Promising Pages has processed more than 350,000 books to help children in need develop the pure joy of reading while providing high-interest personal libraries. Approximately 80% of the books they collect are from kids in the community who have simply outgrown them. Promising Pages not only promotes childhood literacy, but also keeps tons of useful books out of our landfills!
Crown Town Compost (2nd Place Winner)
Instead of sending food waste to landfills,they work with local, professional composers to turn it into nutrient-rich soils. With the help of specially-designed trailers, their team bikes around the Queen City to collect food waste from homes and businesses.
Not sure there is anyone else doing this kind of work in Charlotte. Especially, a group that is trying to use bike power to accomplish their goals.
Treecycle America (3rd Place Winner)
Treecycle America has a totally new concept to keep the thousands of tons of urban lumber produced each year out of landfills. TA converts trees that have to come down due to disease, accident, age, development or other factors and turns them into usable architectural (e.g., beams, paneling, cabinetry), functional (furniture) or decorative (jewelry boxes, vases, sculpture) products. This organization is establishing a network of certified tree service companies, sawmills and product makers that track every tree from its harvest (i.e., when it comes down) to its end product. The benefits include carbon sequestration, reduction of landfill volume, providing a low-cost source of wood for designers and craftspeople, and satisfaction among owners who recognize the value of products from locally sourced wood. The long-range plan is to take this concept nationwide, so winning this recognition from Sustain Charlotte would be a significant boost to that effort!
No other organization is doing anything remotely similar to what TreeCycle America is doing. Most waste reduction organizations focus on household or commercial waste, but TA focuses on a little recognized but huge source of landfill waste.
Boingo was directly, along with our partners, responsible for a recent save for the environment that had far reaching impact. We worked creatively through our local network of resources focused on sustainability to successfully keep more than six truckloads of plastic and glass picture frames from the landfill. We had a customer that ended a project leaving 30k picture frames, an entire warehouse full, headed for the landfill. To us it was an unacceptable solution. We looked at every possible option. We even allowed the client leeway in paying storage fees while we researched alternatives. Thankfully, after a referral from Sustain Charlotte, Goodwill came to our rescue. Now these frames are not taking up space in a landfill. Instead, they are benefiting the community by being 100% re-purposed and sold in their retail stores. It was rewarding on many levels. As customers began to buy these frames in use them in a variety of art projects, Goodwill was kind enough to share some pictures!
Boingo Graphics has served Charlotte area business for 36 years. We work continuously to reduce waste and stay committed to adopting new processes for improvement. We work to eliminate practices that were common in our industry, but were bad for the community in which we do business.
Book Buyers/The Greener Apple
Book Buyers has existed as a locally-owned, used bookstore since 1999, and essentially has operated as a major Charlotte channel whereby hundreds of thousands of good books are able to be 'reused' by those in the bibliophile community in a much more eco-friendly way compared with the online marketplace(s) and their shipping & handling footprint(s).
In 2011 a co-owner of Book Buyers launched an eco-friendly general store, called The Greener Apple, in the front of the bookstore that sells reusable items, personal care, and vegan food products - including locally-made soaps, candles, and art - all focused on the eco-conscious market.
At Belk’s corporate office building there are approximately 2,500 employees, including contractors and other tenants in the space. In 2014 the building began offering single stream recycling deskside and throughout the office’s common areas. Part of this new program included removing the trash bins from each desk, replacing them with a recycling bin and a small trash can that hangs on the recycling bin. The desired effect of the small trash can is associates would be encouraged to recycle more and throw less in the trash. The new program also included educational presentations open to all associates to learn how to recycle more and new signage throughout the building. These efforts have resulted in a diversion rate of 32% for the building, no including cardboard recycling. Additionally, the corporate office is working to reduce its transportation footprint, and has cut the number of compactor hauls needed in half – from once per week to once every two weeks.
This is most inspiring because the office has increased from a diversion rate of 0% prior to 2014, to 32% in 2016. The most difficult change achieved is the cultural change required among associates to go from convenience (trash only) to caring (self-sorting recyclables).
S&D Coffee & Tea
S&D Coffee & Tea elevates strategies and champions efforts in waste reduction within local operations and exemplifies leadership within the local community of Concord and Cabarrus County. Emphasizing environmental efficiency is a top business priority at S&D Coffee & Tea. Through their many initiatives, S&D reduced waste to landfill at their manufacturing operations by 27% and increased composting activities by 121% over the past 3 years. S&D conducts audits of their waste streams to identify reduction opportunities, improved collection systems for compostable coffee byproducts, added containers to aid in the ease and adoption of recycling behaviors, and focuses on educating and creating awareness of waste reduction and recycling actions. S&D continually explores optimal diversion approaches and is committed to finding new opportunities of upcycling that reinforces their dedication to positive environmental impacts of their business.
The recycling market was very challenging and the cost effectiveness for recycling was greatly hurt by falling oil prices. In spite of these challenges S&D pushed forward further reducing their waste to landfill and this is a tribute to the dedication for sustainability.
All Green Recycling
All Green Recycling Inc. deserves this award due to the commitment to provide employment opportunities to individuals with physical challenges and its technical innovations for recycling electronic scrap. AGR is a women-owned business that employs disadvantaged individuals through the All Green Foundation and programs with the state of North Carolina. AGR is also a member of the CyclePoint recycling network; a group of 50 non-profits providing employment opportunities to disadvantaged individuals. AGR has also developed proprietary technology to improve the efficiency of recovering precious metals from electronic circuit boards and recycling televisions and cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors
All Greens achievements provide opportunities to disadvantaged who learn valuable skills that are useful in a growing industry. Our precious metal recovery technology that helps keep jobs in the U.S. since most scrap circuit boards are currently sent overseas to Europe and Japan for recycling.
Charlotte Area Hotel Association
Recycled Soap: You know those little bars of soap you only use once in a hotel? These usually go into the landfill. But CAHA members collect those bars & we send them to Global Soap, a charity that reprocesses it; repackages it; & ships it all around the world to places that have little or no sanitation.
Donated Furniture: CAHA has partnered with Crisis Assistance Ministry’s Furniture Bank to pick up & reuse furniture & mattresses that hotels throw out when they redecorate and are given to the Furniture Bank for free distribution to people in need locally. The Furniture Bank sanitizes these mattresses & then donates them & furniture to needy families. All of these items would have gone into the landfill. We've shipped 1,000's of items to the Furniture Bank.