GreenWorks Blog

Thursday, February 16, 2017
Dispose of you E-Waste Responsibly

According to the Consumer Electronics Association, Americans now own approximately 24 electronic products per household, and annual electronics sales in the U.S. are greater than $206 billion. Unfortunately, when it comes to disposing of unwanted electronics, many consumers are unaware of proper disposal methods and electronics either collect dust or end up in landfills.

As much as you may want to deny it, I’m assuming you have at least two unused electronics in your home. So how can you get rid of those items?

Sure, you could just throw it in the trash, but then you are putting hazardous materials like lead, arsenic and mercury into landfills. If these items are thrown out with regular trash, they will be crushed, burned and recycled along with other materials that may be reused, but in the process, the mishandled electronic waste can release very harmful gases resulting in air and water pollution. Carelessly disposing of electronics can do a real number on the environment.

In order to save space in your home and protect the environment, you should properly recycle your e-waste. Below are five easy tips to help you recycle your electronics responsibly.


E-waste comes in many forms, so you need to be aware of the type of electronic you have in order to recycle it properly. Generally speaking, e-waste includes computer hardware, wires, video cameras, TVs, DVD players, cell phones, and more. E-waste can also include household items like vacuums, irons, electric shavers, and electric fans.


Most cities have laws in place banning certain electronics from landfills. Under a state law that took effect July 1, 2011, televisions, computers and related computer equipment are banned from landfills in North Carolina.


This tip is especially important for all computers, tablets, and cell phones. Before you recycle your electronics, be sure to wipe the hardware clear of all information. Some recycling centers will do that for you, but it’s as easy as backing up your data, and then clearing the hard drive of information.


Donating your unwanted electronics is easy. All you need to do is find an organization or company that will dispose of your e-waste for you. In some instances, these companies will pay you for your unwanted items! Charlotte has many donation centers, including:


What’s more convenient than having someone remove your unwanted e-waste for you? At The Junkluggers, we bring your e-waste to facilities that strictly adhere to EPA regulations.

Posted by: Bryan Rainey, Owner of Junkluggers of North Charlotte @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Year-End Sentiments from 2016 Chair, GreenWorks Council, Dan Fogel

It has been a pleasure to serve as Chair of the Charlotte Chamber’s GreenWorks Council. This council fosters sustainable practices within the local business community by connecting like-minded Charlotte Chamber members and sharing information and best practices. We have been fortunate to gain the support of our sponsors: Gold: Sealed Air Corporation; Silver: Coca-Cola Consolidated and Husqvarna Group; Bronze: Carolinas HealthCare System & Duke Energy Corporation. Our Green Award Sponsor continues to be Wells Fargo.

We Connect – Learn – Sustain

Connect: Connect like-minded chamber members to share information and best practices; attract a broad range of participants including many local and small businesses, educational institutions, and nonprofits. Activities included attending events, being part of a subcommittee, and joining our social media campaigns.
Learn: Promote sustainability ideas, continuous improvements, and best practices through site visits, newsletters, speakers and case study discussions. The Green Resources page on our website, the GreenWorks Blog, and our Newsletter are learning opportunities for everyone.
Sustain: Nurture local businesses (and newcomers to the sustainability realm) in adopting sustainability practices through resources and support; recognize excellence through the Wells Fargo Green Awards and member spotlights.

This year has been a year of firsts; we

  1. redefined our mission and three-part byline: Connect, Learn and Sustain. We based this redefinition on a member survey and the diligent board work;
  2. created partnerships to enhance our impact and combine competencies to offer programs and information to everyone. Among the more active partnerships are E4, SustainCharlotte, Envision Charlotte, and CPCC.
  3. held a set of unique events: Beyond the Car was a review of our local transportation system held in downtown Charlotte including rides on the CATS Light Rail and on bicycles. Meritage Homes hosted an event to review their building ideas and vision of the future of housing that includes sustainability practices.
  4. held the first GreenWorks Webinar on Waste Management as a Source of Competitiveness. We had speakers from the City of Charlotte (Rob Phocus) and Coca-Cola (Ray Fuentes) and several interactions with over 50 participants.
  5. have a robust blog site with all sorts of helpful hints and compelling challenges to create a sustainable world.
  6. instituted a tweet moment during our board meetings – one of my proudest accomplishments. We take two minutes to send tweets and use #CLTGreen and #Sustainability.

Thank you so much to the GreenWorks board for their excellent work:

Immediate Past Chair – Bert Lynn, Mecklenburg County
Awards Chair – Wendy Bell, Avison Young
Communication Chair – Cheale Villa, Visual Caffeine
Events Chair – Lexin Murphy, Mecklenburg County
Amy Aussieker, ‎Envision Charlotte
Kymberly Brantigan, The Charlotte Destination Group
Kady Cowan, Carolinas HealthCare System
Hilary Davidson, Duke Energy
Al Desciscio, Husqvarna Professional Products Inc.
David Favre, CPCC
Margaret Frontera, Sealed Air Corporation
Ray Fuentes, Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated
Will Kolodziej, Republic Services
Michael Lizotte, UNC Charlotte
Derrick Pratt, Global Recycling, LLC

I’d like to welcome our incoming leadership: Lexin Murphy as the new GreenWorks chair; Hilary Davidson as the Vice-Chair; Cheale Villa for Engagement, a new committee that includes communication and events; and Megan Green as the Green Awards chair. Stay tuned for other innovations for our committees and Council work.

A special thanks to Ashley Hedrick of the Chamber. Her tireless work, informed mind, and kind manner have made this Council successful in its impact and in its adherence to mission. We could not have accomplished most of our work without her.

My sustainability vision is embodied in two major ideas (1) that sustainability is defined as satisfying current needs without sacrificing future well-being through the balanced pursuit of ecological health and resiliency and social well-being including positive economic outcomes; and (2) as focusing on how we use Earth’s resources. It is an effort that examines the history of human behavior and existing unsustainable practices and develops the vision and the means to change those practices. This envisioning the future makes our work so important. We can decide how we want to live in the future and what kind of legacy we want to leave our children and grandchildren.

I ask my colleagues carrying on the work of Greenworks to keep this larger vision in mind and to think of the work we are doing as creating the future.

Thank you for the opportunity to be involved in the Chamber and GreenWorks.

Daniel S. Fogel

Posted by: Daniel S. Fogel @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Monday, December 12, 2016
Money isn’t the only “green” part of their business!

October was a great time for green initiatives in Charlotte: not only do we get to see the leaves changing and gain a renewed zeal for life in the Queen City, we get to start a celebration of those who are making energy-saving changes and advances in the most unlikely of places through the Chamber’s Greenworks Council.

The Chamber’s Greenworks Council: Green Tank on October 21 was part of that celebration. Not only did members visit with each other and hear about the absolutely marvelous green initiatives from local establishments that are finalists for the 2016 Wells Fargo Green Awards, but they also heard from two other community staples: UNC Charlotte is making learning green by incorporating solar initiatives for classroom processes including solar-powered phone-charging stations. And Real School Gardens is promoting green living and green eating with its programs to help teachers and students learn about the positive impacts they can have on the earth by growing within it.

Both of these entities have humbly and unknowingly vaulted themselves onto a pedestal that other companies and green thinkers can learn from and admire. But that’s not why they do what they do: it’s their passion for preserving what makes our communities great and changing what’s not working that continues to inspire their desire for positive change.

If you couldn’t attend October’s Green Tank, you missed an opportunity to vote for the finalists including Autobell Car Wash (concentrating on surpassing clients’ expectations while recycling and conserving water), Carolinas HealthCare System (using green chemistry, among other elements, to reduce its footprint), and Olde Mecklenburg Brewery (using water-efficient processes in creating craft beers for the Queen City). That’s not all: Springhill Suites (using “smart” technology in its conservation efforts and Cousins Properties (developing green spaces and promoting green learning through local outreach programs) are also finalists. This year even sees a dentist practice finalist! Belevdere Family Dentistry revamped its paperwork processes to allow for less use of paper and happier clients.

Though there will be only one winner (per category), the truth is that through these initiatives, we are all benefactors of a healthier and happier life in the Queen City. We’re excited to have announced the winners’ at this year’s Energy Summit. We also invite you to learn more about GreenWorks initiatives and the finalists here.

Posted by: Joelle Glover "Mad Hatter," Visual Caffeine @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Getting ready for the Next Million: Charlotte is Born Anew

There is Austin. There is Seattle. There is Denver. And now there is Charlotte. It is America’s new hot spot and darling city. The place to be. The new #1. The only such city in the South. The challenge now: stay on top and grow the lead. Here are three ways to get it done.

The excitement is palpable. Inescapable. Thrilling, even. For all the growth Charlotte has had since 1990, more than doubling its metro-area population to 2.5 million, North Carolina’s largest city will welcome another million by 2035, according to U.S. Census projections. That’s just two decades from now. The pace during the last two decades (keep in mind, that takes us back only to 1996) moved the city’s planners and developers to focus on building a full Uptown (downtown) from virtually nothing to accommodate its Fortune 500 corporations and all the service companies coming in, create mass transit and light-rail lines from scratch, expand the Douglas International Airport (now the 6th busiest in all the world) and build new housing like mad. That was the rule book then, really up until this year. The one for the next 20 years and beyond is being written…now, today, as we speak.

Continue reading this blog here.

Posted by: Alex Díaz, Integra Design @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Monday, October 31, 2016
Healthier. Cleaner. More Efficient.

Greenworks members and guests recently visited Meritage Homes in South Carolina. We had 30 people attend from various organizations such as universities, NGOs, for-profit businesses and even from our partners at USGBC, Sustain Charlotte and Keep Mecklenburg Beautiful.

The visit's purpose was to show how Meritage builds into its homes (pun intended) sustainability practices. The presenter, CR Herro, Vice President - Energy Efficiency and Sustainability joined Meritage in 2009. He earned a Bachelor’s of Science at Arizona State University in Physical and Life Science, Masters in Environmental Policy from Governors State, and Doctorate in Environmental Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology. Paul Berardi, a member of Greenworks, arranged the visit.

We learned where the largest waste occurs in homes (heating; refrigeration; appliances, lighting) - especially phantom electricity use like leaving on your computer and not controlling heating and cooling times); what we can do about waste (change technologies; build better homes using environmentally friendly materials); and how to consider post-sale behaviors (teaching home owners sustainable practices; using legislative incentives in mortgages for home-owners to care for the environment).

An interesting fact from a 2013 survey by the National Home Builders Association was that females are the critical decision makers in family home buying. This makes home buying an interesting cultural event. The importance of this information is that we can discover other cultural artifacts that may be used to influence sustainability practices. For example, how can we get home buyers to realize that when they buy a house in a location they are taking on responsibility for the sustainability of that location?

Home builders have a large opportunity to influence individual behavior. They can build communities with a sustainability lens. This lens leads to analyzing every aspect of building and the home ownership experience – including living in the community after purchase. Home builders are finally realizing that sustainability practices are good business. For example, homeowners who are sensitive to their energy bills are evaluating home builders on their practices and how those practices influence post-sale energy bills. Home builders also can educate homeowners. The daunting language of CFLs; KwH; etc. confuse people. So home builders have an opportunity – they can make an impact!

If you want to learn more, you can watch this video or visit Meritage online.

Food for thought: The most sustainable idea about buying homes is not to buy. Do you think we can create a culture where people are willing to adopt new behaviors to create better environmental outcomes? Are we willing to downsize your home, live more communally, and purchase based on dual outcomes of personal interest and environmental outcomes?

Posted by: Daniel S. Fogel, Wake Forest University @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
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