Charlotte aka the “Queen City” is the state’s largest municipality and has an active recycling program in conjunction with Mecklenburg County, for its residents and businesses through its Solid Waste Services Department. In April, Charlotte sponsored a week-long series of special events designed to educate citizens about the many programs currently underway in various neighborhoods.
One program at Winget Elementary School allowed fifth graders to explore recycling topics in depth, and to participate in a variety of recycling activities. What a great way to gets kids involved at a young age! The LYNX light rail system has been in place for a while now and aims to get people out of their cars and onto the light rail when traveling around Charlotte. With fees just around $2.00, its not a bad way to travel!
Another great and advanced effort targeting pedestrians and others in the Uptown area, particularly South End are the “BigBelly” Solar Bins. Pictured below, these bins will have technology installed in them that will the city services see exactly how full they are and if they need to be recycled. Some of them will even have a compact feature that will reduce the amount of times they bins will need to be emptied. This initiative will reduce the congestion on the street with unneeded garbage trucks as well as the fuel costs of driving the trucks.
Charlotte has made it easy for homeowners to recycle by providing 96-gallon rollout containers to every household requesting one. “ReCycle It!” bins are collected on alternate weeks on the same day as regular household trash and yard waste. In addition, Charlotte actively works with area businesses and schools to reduce waste and promote recycling efforts. The city maintains four full-service recycling centers and a number of self-service locations to assist residents and commercial users in their efforts to live green.
Charlotte Clean and Green
Charlotte Clean and Green was canceled this year due to decreased funding, but the city of Charlotte, N.C. remains committed to its efforts to make the city a model for environmental awareness and action through its municipal programs and its commitment to recycling. Planners of Charlotte Clean and Green, however, hope it will be back in 2014, bigger and better than before.
County-wide Effort to Involve All Residents
As part of a county-wide program to promote recycling, and conforming to state law regarding recyclable materials, the city has made a concerted effort to increase awareness, beginning at the grade school level. The awareness of the benefits is promoted in numerous ways by community-action groups and concerned citizens. According to information supplied by Mecklenburg County, last year 37,708 tons of cardboard were recycled, enough to “keep 17 trees growing and power two apartments for one year,” and “conserve enough drinking water for 30 people for one year.”
Under North Carolina state law, some items, including certain plastics and all aluminum cans, must be recycled and never placed in ordinary trash containers. A new list of acceptable recyclables includes aerosol cans, additional plastics and milk and juice cartons. Many other items which may not be placed in public collection containers or the household rolling carts may still be brought to neighborhood facilities for collection.
A number of private companies also are engaged in recycling in Mecklenburg County, allowing serious recyclers to not only “green” the earth, but to earn a little “green” as well.
There are, however, restrictions on what is and is not recyclable. Food containers must be rinsed, lids must be removed from containers, and cardboard boxes must be cut up. But the restrictions are easy to follow, and the city maintains a full website with all the particulars. A Mecklenburg County “Wipe Out Waste” program website is aimed at business and commercial users.
Does your city have a good recycling program? Take the time to learn about your city and the efforts it is taking to reduce its carbon foot print, be informed!