We’re excited that Charlotte has launched two pilot projects in the North End Smart District, with the goal of reducing waste. The programs are funded through a Neighborhood Matching Grant.
Photo credit: Leaf BurritoRead more
This is the fifth article in our 8-part series of weekly blog posts called "The Good, the Bad, the Possibilities". For this series, we are asking local experts three questions to give you a quick overview of recent local trends and solutions with respect to a range of important issues that affect our community's sustainability. This week’s topic is solid waste, and our featured experts are Victoria O. Johnson, Director of Solid Waste Services for the City of Charlotte, and Jeffrey Smithberger, Director of Solid Waste Management for Mecklenburg County.Read more
Did you know that the average American household spends $1,500 on food that ends up uneaten? Sustain Charlotte recently partnered with Livable Meck to co-host a workshop on the topic of food waste and sustainability.
Our program director Meg Fencil explains the connection between food waste, sustainability, and equity.
Household expenses, health, and environment
The median Charlotte household spends 29% of their income on housing and another 22% on transportation. For many households, food is their third-highest expense. When a large percentage of that food is wasted, it places an extra financial strain on the household. That means less money is available for other household needs.
Denada Jackson from Solid Waste Services and David Valder from Crown Town Compost educated the audience about the environmental and health impacts of excessive food waste. When food and other organic material decomposes in the landfill, it generates methane, which is 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. However, when food is composted and decomposes in the presence of oxygen, it generates carbon dioxide instead of methane. In other words: a composted banana has a much smaller carbon footprint than a landfilled banana.Read more
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.
Photo courtesy of TreeCycle America
Charlotte is known as a city of trees, but did you know that 100,000 pounds of lumber from them ends up in area landfills every day? This fact shocked the attendees at our May monthly mixer. And it's the reason that Damon Barron, founder of Treecycle America, is passionate about rescuing those trees and giving them new life as lumber or furniture. Treecycle America is a collaborative network of certified architects, designers, developers, municipalities, arborists, sawmills, woodworkers, and makers embracing the common goal of using urban trees to their fullest potential.
Damon Barron views Charlotte's downed trees as a very underutilized resource!Read more
The City Council Environment Committee's conversation about whether or not to continue providing trash and recycling pickup at multi-family properties began several months ago. Since then, there has been a lot of discussion about what "multi-family" really means. During two public input sessions, many residents of apartments, condos, and townhomes have shared their concerns about rising costs, equity, and environmental impact.
The City's ultimate goal is to divert 100% of waste from landfills.Read more
Ever wonder how Charlotte City Council splits up the work of governing a city of over 800,000 people? Committees, of course! There are five committees, or "Focus Areas", that council members serve on. Here's what the Environment Committee is up to as they kick off 2016.
Before the commitee's first meeting of the year, Mayor Jennifer Roberts shuffled the membership to include two returning committee members, John Autry (Chair) and Claire Fallon. Newly elected council member James Mitchell will serve as Vice-Chair, with Al Austin and Patsy Kinsey also joining the committee. Meet them here.Read more
This past Saturday, Sustain Charlotte's Board of Directors and staff gathered for our annual strategic planning retreat. Although this is a busy time of year, we place a very high priority on the planning process because it will guide our impact and growth over the next 12 months!
Following a review of 2015's achievements and challenges, board members met in committees to discuss 2016 goals for fundraising, marketing, governance, and fulfilling Sustain Charlotte's mission. We're grateful to OrthoCarolina and Hygge for donating a beautiful retreat space for us to plan and dream!
We'll be sharing more of our goals in the upcoming months, but here's just a sample of the impact we intend to have in 2016:
- Expand our partnership with a low-income Charlotte neighborhood currently in our Sustainable Neighborhoods Program to engage residents and our Community Corps volunteers on sustainability projects that meet the neighborhood's needs.
- Welcome an additional low-income Charlotte neighborhood to our Sustainable Neighborhoods Program thanks to funding from the Duke Energy Foundation.
- Make it easier, safer, and more fun for Charlotteans of all ages and abilities to walk, ride a bike, or ride transit to their daily destinations. We're doing this through the activities of our Bicycle Program and Transportation Choices Alliance. More specifically, we're planning to bring you some very exciting new opportunities to ride a bike around Charlotte, planning Biketoberfest 2016, and continuing to work with other bicycle organizations.
- Bring you our biggest and best Sustain Charlotte awards yet! For the fifth consecutive year, we'll celebrate the amazing sustainability work being done throughout the area. Mark your calendar for the evening of Earth Day, April 22 and stay tuned for our announcements. We have an incredible sponsorship package this year that includes marketing benefits in a special Charlotte Business Journal Supplement. Click here to learn more.
Here's a short video of our board members sharing why they support Sustain Charlotte.
Want to read their biographies? Click here to learn more about our incredible board members who volunteer their time, expertise, and passion to Sustain Charlotte.
We need YOUR help to make these goals a reality for 2016. Find out how easy it is to support us as a member for as little as $3 per month!
Would you like to live in a city that diverts ALL of its waste from the landfill and has a neutral carbon footprint? Would you like your children or grandchildren to inherit a city where 100% of creeks are fishable and swimmable and the tree canopy is growing? This is the vision for Charlotte in 2050 that city staff and elected officials are working towards and refining. We're excited to see bold community indicators and tangible metrics in the draft plan!
Charlotte City Council's Environment Committee is moving closer to adopting a FY16 Strategic Focus Area Plan for the environment. In response to councilmembers' requests for tangible indicators of progress, Assistant City Manager Hyong Yi presented a revised version of the plan. A draft of the plan is available in the April 6 meeting agenda.
The plan includes different indicators and metrics for the city and for the community. City indicators can be achieved internal to the City's operations. Community indicators will require involvement and support from residents and businesses throughout Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.
Let's take a look at the draft City Indicators and Metrics:
How did a partnership between Sustain Charlotte and Charlotte-based printing company Boingo Graphics help to keep 30,000 picture frames out of the landfill? Boingo's Executive Vice President Linda Kirby ended her presentation to last night's mixer attendees by telling that story.
Boingo's Executive VP, Linda Kirby, spoke to over 50 mixer attendees.Read more