Two companies work to manage waste more sustainably in Charlotte

Did you know Mecklenburg County processed 130,000 tons of wood waste in 2017? That’s the weight of 22,000 African elephants!

How about the fact that between each November and January, the County picks up 10,000 tons of leaves (as much as 5,000 cars)? In a city growing as quickly as Charlotte, waste management is a challenge. That’s why our January Monthly Mixer featured speakers from our partners TreeCycle America and Leaf Burrito, two companies working to shift the mindset of residents to managing our waste more sustainably. In case you missed it, over 100 Charlotteans joined us at Resident Culture Brewing to learn more about the topic.

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Photo courtesy of TreeCycle America

Damon Barron, founder of TreeCycle America, believes that by connecting residents with the story of the trees in our community, we can redirect much of that 130,000 tons of wasted wood from the landfill back into our community. TreeCycle America certifies businesses that will use urban trees to their fullest potential and tracks individual trees through its TreeID program. The company encourages a shift in our urban tree systems, from what species we plant, all the way through how that tree is used at the end of its life. Upcycling otherwise wasted trees is one sustainable way to reduce waste and connects the community back to urban trees.

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Photo courtsey of Leaf Burrito

Leaf Burrito owner and inventor Marc Mataya demonstrated his sustainable yard waste product, which allows many bags worth of leaves to be captured in one large tarp-like “burrito”. This mesh zip-up bag holds many times more leaves than a standard garbage bag and keeps those single-use plastic bags out of the landfill. The City of Charlotte now allows the use of Leaf Burritos and Marc is looking for a neighborhood willing to test them for a year, going totally plastic bag free! (Are you interested in getting a Leaf Burrito? Become a Sustain Charlotte member and get $10 off the price!)

As advocates for sustainable living, we love these innovative ways to reduce waste. If you want to do more to be sustainable with your waste, check out this guide from Mecklenburg County’s recycling program. You can also contact your City Councilor to let them know this issue is important to you!

Do you have a business that’s making strides in sustainability? We’d love to have you as a Partner!

Here are some other great local resources to check out!

Damon Barron (TreeCycle America) TEDxCharlotte talk

City of Charlotte Solid Waste Services

Carolina Recycling Association

Earth Farms Organics (waste diversion and composting)  

Crown Town Compost


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Foundation Supporters:

Our work is generously supported by the foundations and businesses below.

John S. and James L. Knight Foundation • Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation • Wells Fargo • TransitCenter  • OrthoCarolina • Duke Energy Foundation • Parsec Financial • Charlotte Mecklenburg Community Foundation • People For Bikes  • Blumenthal Foundation


We are a proud member of the 1% for the Planet Network.

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