Charlotte piloting waste reduction methods in the north end smart district

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.

Leaf Burrito with leaves and rake

In the Brightwalk neighborhood, Leaf Burrito (one of our Gold Partners) is piloting a program to replace plastic yard waste bags with their reusable Leaf Burritos. We love that this option reduces the need for single-use plastics, while providing residents with a more sustainable solution to yard waste pick-up. You can read more about this innovative project, here.

The second exciting component of the Neighborhood Matching Grant is that Solid Waste Services will be collecting food waste from the curb throughout several neighborhoods in the Smart District. Solid Waste Services described the program in their newsletter:

“Thanks to a grant awarded to the department by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, Solid Waste Services is now collecting food waste curbside from 100 homes in the North End Smart District (NESD), an area composed of eight numbers that includes Genesis Park, Park at Oaklawn, Greenville, Brightwalk, Druid Hills, Lockwood, Optimist Park and Graham Heights.

The pilot began August 24 and runs through December 21.

Throughout the pilot, Solid Waste Services hopes to reduce landfilled garbage by 30 to 50 percent.

All participants in the pilot were given two special receptacles (one countertop and one curbside) to collect all food waste, including meats, bones and dairy (which typically can’t be thrown in backyard compost).The contents are then collected by the city on each family’s normal trash-collection day.

The food waste collected from the homes will be turned into compost by Earth Farms Organic, a composting facility in Dallas, N.C.

To determine whether the program is worth expanding, specific data will be collected throughout the 16-week pilot. Data collection includes:

  • A weekly waste characterization in an effort to understand what food items are thrown away the most.
  • Weekly garbage and food waste tonnage.

The NESD is just the beginning for the composting pilot. Solid Waste Services plans to expand to 500 homes before the end of the grant cycle and, if successful with the pilot, citywide.”

We’ll keep you posted as these projects progress.

You can learn more about local trends around waste and food on our blog!

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