Charlotte's recycling 'is broken'. Could your plastic, paper be headed for a landfill?

By: Steve Harrison (Charlotte Observer) Last month, the city of Lincolnton near Charlotte stopped its recycling program, and residents began throwing their glass, plastic bottles and cardboard into their garbage. The city's recycling contractor, Sonoco, could no longer find a home for the reusable waste — a problem seen nationwide, and in Charlotte, because the market for recyclables has collapsed. Read more here: Continue reading

Stakeholder process led to unanimous vote on sustainability resolution

By: Rhiannon Fionn (Creative Loafing) When Shannon Binns launched Sustain Charlotte in 2009, like many activists who've come before and after him, he felt unheard by local government. For him, the path forward for any city wishing to sustain itself is clear, and it's built upon three pillars: economic, environmental and social. "They must be in balance," Binns said. On June 25, the city of Charlotte took a step toward the balance that Binns has preached about for nearly a decade. By unanimous vote, the "Sustainable and Resilient Charlotte by 2050 Resolution" was adopted.   Continue reading

Charlotte Talks: City Sets Climate Change Goals. Are They Doable?

By: Mike Collins (WFAE) Can Charlotte city reduce its carbon emissions from 12 tons a year to just 2 by 2050? That's the goal set this week by the City Council. Mike Collins talks with those involved in the city's climate change fight. When President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement last June, mayors of Charlotte and other major cities vowed to pick up the mantle. Now, the city has set a goal for drastically scaling backing its carbon footprint.   Continue reading

Durham-Orange Light Rail Survives GOP Assassination Attempt in State Budget

By: Angie Schmidt (Streetsblog USA) An 11th-hour attempt to kill light rail in North Carolina’s Research Triangle has been defeated. A rider in the state budget, crafted behind closed doors by Republican leadership, would have cut off funding for the project. Advocates mobilized a response that convinced legislators to remove the rider. Continue reading

In sprawling Charlotte, traffic jams point to climate solutions

By: Sarah Wesseler (Yale Climate Connections) For Shannon Binns, fighting climate change means not talking about climate change. Binns is executive director of Sustain Charlotte, a nonprofit that advocates for smart growth in booming Charlotte, North Carolina. Since founding the organization in 2010, he’s led initiatives ranging from an annual sustainability awards program to a popular competition promoting alternatives to solo driving. But although the ideas he champions – less sprawl, fewer cars – mirror those recommended by climate experts, carbon is not one of his talking points. “It’s not something that’s talked about in Charlotte, because it’s so politicized,” he said. “We’ve just learned over the years that we can impact climate change without having to talk about climate change.”     Continue reading

'I've almost been hit': Walking in Charlotte is becoming more dangerous

By Steve Harrison and Gavin Off (Charlotte Observer) Shannon Binns is the executive director of Sustain Charlotte, which lobbies the city for more spending on sidewalks and bike lanes. He said it's good that CDOT will respond directly to people asking for crosswalks and that his organization has taken advantage of that by mobilizing residents so they are heard. "But the process also needs to be data-driven," he said. "Neighborhoods shouldn't be forgotten." Though the city said it tries to be equitable, some thoroughfares and neighborhoods are missed. The city's pedestrian program receives $7.5 million a year, which has been unchanged for at least a decade, even as the city has grown by 150,000 people. Continue reading

Local Entrepreneur Mass Producing Unique Environmental Product to Combat Plastic Waste Contamination through Public Support

Marc Mataya, Charlotte resident and serial inventor, created the Leaf Burrito®, a reusable yard waste removal bag, which is designed to help eliminate detrimental single-purpose plastic bags. Currently in use in Charlotte, the Leaf Burrito® won the 2017 Sustain Charlotte Award in the Waste Reduction category. "Leaf Burrito won the Sustain Charlotte Award for a reason. Great product, easy to use, making where we live a better place for us and generations after us. It is a cutting edge leader in the Sustainability arena," stated Shannon Binns, executive director of Sustain Charlotte. Read full article here.

Charlotte's parks are consistently ranked worst in the country. Here's why.

Meg Fencil is a program director at Sustain Charlotte, a nonprofit that addresses sustainability issues arising from Charlotte’s growth. Charlotte is one of the fastest growing cities in the country — about 60 people move to the city every day. “The population growth is just so high that the current budget is not allowing Park and Recreation to acquire land quickly enough,” she said. Research has shown that living close to parks is related to higher physical activity and healthier weights, said Fencil of Sustain Charlotte. Read the full article here.

The secret to attracting more transit riders in Charlotte

(By Shannon Binns) Although Charlotte tops the list of U.S. cities losing riders, there’s an overall downward trend in ridership in 31 of the 35 largest metro areas. But the few cities bucking the trend - Seattle, Phoenix, Houston - have one thing in common: They’re strategically improving their transit networks with a focus on providing fast, reliable, frequent, and walkable bus service. Read the full article here.

Pedestrian dangers along Independence Boulevard

(By WSOC TV) A Channel 9 investigation reveals a serious danger along East Independence Boulevard in East Charlotte and it’s getting the attention of city leaders. After months of monitoring the area from Sharon Amity to WT Harris, Chanel 9 cameras caught dozens of people darting across the 10-lane road in front of traffic. People ran, walked, jumped over the tall median wall, and one even road a hoverboard in traffic going faster than 60 mph. “It has become, really a barrier for walkability,” said Meg Fencil, of Sustain Charlotte. Her organization has been pushing for safer pedestrian crossing throughout the city. The group has been more vocal after 2017 was so deadly. A record 27 pedestrians were killed in Charlotte. “We have to start designing our streets to account for human behavior and not just for the needs of people in cars,” said Fencil. Read the full article here.