2022 Recycling Excellence Award

Award crafted with reclaimed wood by Carolina Urban Lumber.

Award crafted with reclaimed wood by Carolina Urban Lumber.

Each year on Earth Day Sustain Charlotte hosts an awards ceremony to celebrate the work that is being done in the community to advance smart growth and sustainability. For the first time in two years the celebration was held in person and 250 sustainability enthusiasts gathered at the Extravaganza Depot.

Sustain Charlotte’s Gold Partner, Mecklenburg County Solid Waste, sponsored a special Recycling Excellence Award to recognize outstanding waste reduction and recycling efforts that resulted in significant landfill waste diversion. The projects submitted were impressive and the judges had to tally the points carefully to determine the winner.


Fierce Competition

There was a broad spectrum of nominees for this award that included individuals, non-profits, businesses, and a commercial building development. The submitted projects had vastly different levels of project resources available and, thus, the final outcomes differed greatly in scale. Scoring diverse submissions was a challenge. The judging criteria included:

  • Creative/Innovative solutions to waste reduction and/or recycling
  • Inspires/Educates others
  • Benefits the broader community
  • Approach can be scaled up
  • Strengthens the local economy

Ultimately, the project submitted by Trips For Kids Charlotte (TFKC) rose above the rest!

Trips for Kids logo

The mission of Trips For Kids Charlotte (TFKC) is to transform lives, communities, and landscapes through cycling. TFKC is a less than 10-person nonprofit organization that focuses on youth and community cycling programming in the “crescent” of Charlotte (West and far East) as well as being a resource for bicycle maintenance education and accessible bicycles to the greater Charlotte community for recreation and transportation.

Kids playing with tires

Every year, Trips For Kids Charlotte collects (on average) 3000 discarded, unwanted, and donated bikes and transforms them into educational opportunities and refurbished, reliable bikes for the youth and communities of Charlotte. TFKC is able to put close to 60% of the bikes back into the community through youth and community programs such as: Earn-A-Bike Program, Learn to Ride Program, Ride Program, and a community bike shop, The Charlotte Re-Cyclery. The remaining 40% of donated bikes are disassembled into reusable parts, metal for recycling, and rubber to be either shredded (to prevent the build-up of methane in landfills) or reused.

Given the average bike weighs 25 pounds, every year the organization diverts approximately 75,000 pounds of waste from area landfills. More importantly, TFKC restores and distributes about 1,800 bikes back into the community and teaches bike repair skills and safe riding best practices.


Reuse is key. The group promotes the circular economy by transforming waste into transportation, recreation and educational tools. TFKC is shifting mindsets by empowering and educating the community. “We educate the community through our programs and community bike shop to repair and reuse first!”

Mecklenburg County Solid Waste would like to congratulate Trips for Kids Charlotte for their outstanding efforts to reuse, recycle, educate, inspire, and improve our community.

Sustain Charlotte's 2022 Sustainability Awards.

Sustain Charlotte’s 2022 Sustainability Awards. April 22, 2022.

Recycling Excellence Award Runners-Up (in alphabetical order)

Blue Line Technologies, Inc (Business)

Blue Line Technologies serves over 350 small businesses in the Carolinas. The company installs, upgrades, maintains and protects against cyber threats their clients’ computers, servers, and network equipment. Old equipment is responsibly and securely recycled in partnership with a local electronics recycling company. The free service also serves as an educational opportunity for their clients to learn about the security risks and environmental impacts of improper disposal. Monthly, an average 1-2 tons of electronic waste is diverted from area landfills. Blue Line recycled over 20 tons of e-waste in 2021.

Bosch Rexroth (Business)

Bosch Rexroth has maintained Zero Waste to Landfill status since 2015.  In 2021, the Charlotte warehouse purchased and is in the process of implementing a cardboard shredder that will enable the reuse of cardboard as packaging material. This will minimize packing paper currently used. The company also partners with school STEM programs and Cooperative Education to educate others on manufacturing operations that minimize environmental impacts for a more sustainable future.

Charlotte Independent Brewers Alliance (Non-profit)

The Charlotte Independent Brewers Alliance (CIBA) showcases and improves the brewing industry in our community. The 43 CIBA brewery members contribute to the community by providing gathering places and donations to local non-profit. In partnership with Envision Charlotte, CIBA members serve as community waste reduction promoters and plastic can carrier collection centers. The landfill-diverted plastics are delivered to the Innovation Barn to be transformed into plastic filament for 3D printers to be transformed into new products.

Margaret Burton Inc. (Non-profit)

Margaret Burton Inc. upcycles clothing by disassembling and re-creating new designs to reduce fashion industry waste. Margaret is a Greater Charlotte community advocate who focuses on educating the community. She stresses the importance of be mindful of our clothing purchase decision and the resulting labor, manufacturing, and environmental consequences. She teaches interns the process and all profits are donated.

Tim Teter (Individual)

Mr. Teter is a plumber by trade who currently serves as a manager at Atrium Health, one of the largest employers in the area, which produces significant medical and other waste. For 10 years Tim spearheaded the recycling of metal, pipe, cables, and old medical equipment for the organization. He is responsible for capturing and selling hundreds of tons of metal, resulting in donations to Levine Children’s Hospital. The efforts of Tim’s team have prevented 1 million tons of metals materials from being landfilled, while benefiting patients with over $300,000 in donations, and educating his peers on waste diversion in the medical industry.

Vantage South End (Building Project)

Vantage South End is a joint venture between The Spectrum Companies and Invesco Real Estate offering a LEED Silver certified sustainable office experience. Tenants are provided with a full-service, co-mingled recycling program with an on-site compactor to ensure paper, corrugated cardboard, glass, plastics, and metals are properly recycled. In addition, areas are dedicated to properly collect, store, & dispose of batteries and electronic equipment. Management holds annual electronic drives, as well as paper shredding events, and tenants, are encouraged to participate. Everyone involved with the development has access to sustainable living education in several areas throughout the year.

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