MECKLENBURG COUNTY LAND USE AND ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES
June 5, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MECKLENBURG COUNTY ‘WIPE OUT WASTE’ AWARDS HONOR BUSINESSES, INDIVIDUALS
Charlotte, NC -- The awards ceremony for Mecklenburg County's "Wipe Out Waste" Business Recognition Program is an annual event honoring local businesses and schools that have implemented successful and innovative recycling programs.
At the June 4, 2008, ceremony, Mecklenburg County Solid Waste and Recycling recognized businesses for best Debut Recycling Program, Most Integrated Program, Outstanding Environmental Leadership, Outstanding Waste Reduction and Recycling Education Program, and Recycling Advocate of the Year. Also recognized were three outstanding Charlotte Mecklenburg School recycling programs, construction and demolition businesses for their waste reduction and recycling accomplishments, and organizations and individuals for their Keep Mecklenburg Beautiful litter prevention efforts.
DEBUT AWARD – Brightest Emerging Program: Wing Haven Garden & Bird Sanctuary
This award honors a business with an up-and-coming program (in place for at least two years) that has shown solid dedication to waste reduction.
Wing Haven Garden & Bird Sanctuary has long been known as a special garden designed for wildlife, offering educational programs and a strong commitment to environmental stewardship. Since spring 2005, they have hosted Mecklenburg County’s 40-hour Master Composter training every year.
For years, Wing Haven staff and volunteers have reused their leaves as mulch to improve the soil and hold in moisture. In addition to using all the leaves from their three-acre site, they also collect bags of leaves from the neighborhood (170 last year) to use as mulch or for composting. Waste diversion through mulching and composting kept tons of organic material out of our landfill, and saved Wing Haven funds which would have been spent on mulch and other commercial soil amendments. They recycle their paper, cans and bottles, and recently added rain barrels to collect water from downspouts to use on the gardens.
Wing Haven staff and volunteers also teach the community about waste reduction and other environmental practices, such as natural methods for pest control to help keep harmful chemicals out of the environment. About 11,000 people were served by Wing Haven last year.
MOST INTEGRATED PROGRAM AWARD: Adams Group Architects
This award honors a business with the most comprehensive waste reduction and recycling program.
Adams Group Architects’ “Zero Waste Goal” was established 11 years ago. Since then, Adams recycles all paper and reduces paper by keeping a library of common documents rather than producing multiple copies, and, whenever possible, uses electronic files for communicating with customers.
Adams also recycles old CDs, electronics, jewel cases and cell phones. Building material samples, used notebooks and other unwanted supplies are donated to Classroom Central for re-use by CMS. In Adams’ break room, reusable silverware, plates and mugs are used. Cans, glass and plastic containers, cardboard and magazines are collected and taken to a recycling facility by a volunteer employee.
Although Adams pays for their paper and electronics recycling services, they have realized a large cost savings from reduced cleaning service fees, as trash is collected weekly rather than daily. They also promote recycling in their construction-specification manuals, requiring that all items which can be recycled on the construction site must be recycled.
The Adams Group company car is a hybrid chosen for its low negative impact on the environment, and the company is also in the process of having all employees become LEED Certified so that they can better serve their clients through the promotion of environmental sustainability.
OUTSTANDING ENVIRONMENTAL LEADERSHIP AWARD: Wachovia Customer Information Center
This award honors a business which has successfully promoted recycling and waste reduction within the Mecklenburg County community.
Wachovia’s Customer Information Center is a 2.1 million square-foot high tech facility located on 157 acres with 10,000 employees. Childress Klein, the on-site property management company for the facility, has an aggressive program that recycles, reclaims or reuses paper, cardboard, aluminum, plastic, glass, telephone books, wooden pallets, used cooking oil, used car oil, computer components, toner cartridges, carpet, construction materials, florescent light bulbs, and furniture.
Of the 2,465 tons of food, office paper, cardboard, aluminum, plastic and glass generated at the site, 1,504 tons were diverted from the landfill through recycling last year. About 1,200 toner cartridges were recycled, 2,200 hundred IT assets were redeployed and 8,000 assets were resold. During the last three years, 10,500 yards of carpet was sent to a reclamation center where it is mechanically processed to make a number of products such as packaging materials, automotive parts, carpet cushion and backing, as well as filtration and piping.
In addition to recycling, Wachovia’s Customer Information Center purchases recycled content and green products; 95 percent of reoccurring janitorial paper and soap supplies meet the USGBC and GreenSeal standards for recycled content. They also use recycled content paper for all copy and printing requirements, and 91 percent of their printed marketing materials contain recycled paper products. Through these sustainable practices, Wachovia has also realized economic benefits by diverting waste from landfills (paper, cardboard, plastics, aluminum and glass) -- resulting in a savings of $73,799. Through carpeting diverted from landfills, they have saved $69,425.
OUTSTANDING WASTE REDUCTION AND RECYCLING CUSTOMER EDUCATION PROGRAM AWARD: FCR Inc.
This award honors a business which has excelled in educating employees and/or customers.
For the past 18 years, FCR Inc. has planned, scheduled and directed tours at the FCR/Mecklenburg County Education Center and recycling material recovery facility. The center opened in 1990 and was one of the first recycling facilities in the United States to host an education center.
The center is open to the public and educates a diverse audience including elementary, secondary and private schools, preschools, senior citizens groups, Scouts and college students. The Metrolina Recycling Facility (MRF) provides tours and allows visitors a firsthand opportunity to see what happens to their curbside recyclables. There are presentations and educational films in the amphitheater, and an exhibit area displays end-use products made from recycled material and other creative exhibits. Educational activity books are provided to teachers and students.
This outreach program has grown steadily over the years. In 2007, nearly 10,000 visitors toured the recycling facility. With an innovative approach to educating the community on recycling and other solid waste issues, the FCR/Mecklenburg County MRF and Education Center has proven to be a pioneer in education and a successful recycling program in the community.
Other businesses recognized for their recycling efforts include Pull-A-Part, Holden Properties, and Hartford Insurance.
RECYCLING ADVOCATE OF THE YEAR AWARD: Elaine Powell
This new award honors an individual who has been an outspoken advocate for recycling and waste reduction within the Mecklenburg County community, and has provided leadership and advocacy for recycling within their realm of influence.
Elaine Powell is the Recycling Advocate of the Year. Powell has worked to reduce waste of every kind at work, and in every aspect of her life. In 1989, she worked to decrease food waste and began recycling cans at a local hospital. At her family business, Recreational Equipment Inc., all employees are required to recycle everything possible. Although some employees may have started out recycling with reluctance, as they moved on with their careers, they took the learned theme of environmental responsibility and stewardship with them.
Powell actively seeks partnerships with other businesses to reuse byproducts that would otherwise be destined for the landfill. Recreational Equipment encourages all their customers to recycle at their special events, providing bins and recycling services free of charge whenever possible.
At home, Powell composts yard waste and brings recycling bins to neighbors who do not have one. Before the County began the pilot project for can and bottle recycling at some CMS schools, Powell had already recycled the beverage containers at her son’s school for six years.
Powell also attends citizen committee meetings advocating environmental responsibility, especially in public spaces. One of her goals is to see can and bottle recycling at County parks. She has played a vital role in the community as a member of the Mecklenburg Waste Management Advisory Board for the last seven years.
This past year, the Charlotte Coliseum was taken down to make room for a new development. Before the building was imploded, as much of the building as possible was salvaged. The 24,000 seats along with the basketball court and other items were either sold or donated to various other sports facilities, including Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The team of CST Environmental then began removing as much as possible of the masonry brick and block exterior as well as a large quantity of metal.
In the end, 90 percent of the Coliseum was recycled, with 80 percent of the waste reused on-site, saving transportation costs and associated pollution.
Choate Construction has been working with clients to design and develop Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified buildings for more than five years. Choate Construction’s expansion into a new office space in Charlotte was the perfect opportunity to demonstrate the company’s commitment by constructing a LEED Gold, 18,000 square foot interior of their own.
Banister Homes is building two homes on Lyndhurst Avenue, and is seeking green home certification for both homes; one is registered as LEED for Homes™ and the other with North Carolina Solar Center’s Healthy Built Homes™ program. Both homes are also being built as Energy Star™ homes.
Gensler renovated the 11th and 12th floors of the 525 N. Tryon Building for their client Bank of America and earned the project a LEED Silver certification. In so doing, a little over 97 percent of the waste was either reused or recycled.
Three CMS schools – North Mecklenburg High School, Community House Middle School, and Sterling Paidea Elementary School have maintained their waste reduction and recycling program for three consecutive years and have demonstrated dramatic program improvement. Each will receive a $500 gift certificate to the store of their choice.
SPECIAL RECOGNITIONS: KEEP MECKLENBURG BEAUTIFUL
Since her retirement five years ago, Nancy has cleaned Clanton Park almost every day. She has relied on the Keep Mecklenburg Beautiful Campaign to supply her with litter bags. She has also managed to mobilize 38 members of her community to help out. During the Great American Clean up from March 1 to May 31, the Clanton Park community collected 301 bags of trash.
Maudia Melendez and her board at Jesus Ministries have committed to an annual clean-up event in Charlotte that attracts several hundred volunteers. They have also committed to adopt a fragile neighborhood, at Farm Pond in east Charlotte, for one year. They will be conducting ongoing clean-ups and beautification projects throughout the year, and will assess the success of the program of community commitment at the end this period.
Homeless Helping Homeless
Members of Homeless Helping Homeless (HHH), a group of currently and formerly homeless people, had grown tired of the stereotypes that surround homelessness. To challenge these negative stereotypes, members of HHH began to lead by example by cleaning up the property of the Urban Ministry Center. The clean-up effort soon expanded to Tryon St. and the surrounding area. In the course of the Great American Clean-Up, 14 different HHH members worked 156 hours to pick up 184 bags of litter.
Media contact: Gail Thomas, 704-336-3777, or