GreenWorks Blog

Friday, February 5, 2016
We Are All Winners – Panther’s Tailgate Recycling

Regardless of the outcome of this Sunday’s game, the Carolina Panthers, fans of the team and Keep Mecklenburg Beautiful are all winners this season.

We do have some tremendous results to share from a sustainability perspective too. We collected 4.45 tons of tailgate recycling in our Divisional win over the Cardinals January 24th.

So our tailgate tonnage total for the season was a record 50.36 tons which surpasses last season's total of 45.35!

With that being said, I now want to thank all the participants who make it happen:

The volunteer groups that came out each game, a season total of 144 volunteers without whom, this program wouldn't succeed! A special mention to Bank of America for their continued support of the volunteer program and a special mention also for Rosa Hernandez from Mecklenburg County who made it to double digits for tailgate participation!

A special thanks to Kerry McCray our volunteer leader who is there rain or shine, for seven years now!

The City of Charlotte Solid Waste team led by Eric De La Pena, who are always there to provide transportation, support and enthusiasm for the program.

The Parking Lot consortium; Preferred Parking, West Parking, Spectrum Parking, E Z Parking, and all the independent parking lots that participate in getting the recycling bags to the tailgaters.

Center City Partners for their stewardship and media outreach.

Bojangles for sponsoring the yellow recycling bags, and gift cards given to the tailgate winners who are 'caught' recycling the right way and their parking lot attendant's.

And last but by no means least the Carolina Panthers who have been a tremendously supportive partner in the 7 years the program has been in effect. The Panthers continued their tremendous recycling program inside the Stadium utilizing the 40 yard roll offs provided by Mecklenburg County.

This season 92.72 tons of recycling! To add to this, the food waste program diverted an additional 10.69 tons.

The Panther also donate caps for the program which are greatly appreciated by the volunteers.

With a total of 103.41 tons being collected inside the Stadium, combined with the 50.36 tailgate tons, we have a total of 153.77 tons diverted from the landfill guessed it, a record season!

Posted by: Jake Wilson, Executive Director, Keep Mecklenburg Beautiful @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Thursday, January 14, 2016
From Paris to Charlotte: Now What?

Now What?

The twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) and the eleventh session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP) took place from November 30 to 11 December 2015, in Paris, France. This is popularly called “the climate talks.” The United Nations has been holding climate meetings since March 21 1994. This last meeting had 195 countries participating. The goal of all of the meeting is preventing dangerous human interference with the climate system.

Why should you care? Why should our Charlotte leaders care? What if you don’t even think climate change is an important issue for our world to address?

You should care for at least three reasons. The private sector can impact change. Also, governments, businesses, customers, cities, and many in the general public care.

  • First, companies can help and be more competitive. Climate change is a source of competitive advantage. A number of businesses around the world are seeing all sorts of opportunities in the increased attention toward climate change. Investors are looking for companies that take action and for investments in such companies. New businesses opportunities abound such as renewable energy, risk management, and adaptations to cities and neighborhoods.
  • Second, while a world-wide problem, climate changes will be local – they can impact your business location, your customers, and the costs of doing business. For example, insurance companies will price their risk into your insurance.
  • Third, you live and work in a vibrant, growing city. The mayors of 21 cities, including Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City, Rotterdam and New Orleans, have pledged to commit 10 percent of their city's budget to resilience-building. This is more than $5 billion. The pledges will directly benefit 33 million people worldwide. Mexico City Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera alone has promised to devote over $1 billion to build its resilience to shocks and stresses related to climate change. So businesses looking for places to locate will certainly take into account how cities are addressing important environmental challenges. If Charlotte does not act then it will not be as attractive for new businesses.

So, are you ready to act? Take at least three actions now. Inform yourself about what public policies are being developed in Charlotte to address environmental issues. Second, systematically measure your environmental impact – you can find cost savings, new business opportunities and increased sources of competitive advantage. A natural environmental lens on your business will be a new way to see opportunity. Third, join with others to take actions. Climate change and other environmental challenges have no borders or party affiliations.

Posted by: Dan Fogel, Sustainability Graduate Programs Director; Graduate Research Professor in Sustainability @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Recycle and Reuse Holiday Packaging Materials

As you ho, ho, ho this holiday season just say no, no, no to throwing away some of the packaging materials that will arrive inside most shipments over the next couple of weeks.

surge in online shopping this year means there will be a mega amount of deliveries, which could mean an overflow of packaging material in your home. Many of the packages you receive from retailers will contain cushioning materials from Sealed Air, including our Bubble Wrap® sheets and Fill-Air® pillows, which are designed to protect the items you ordered without increasing freight weight.

After opening your boxes, don’t rush to the trash with this type of packaging material. Why? Because Bubble Wrap® and Fill-Air® pillows are recyclable.   

Once deflated (And who doesn’t love popping those air bubbles? Instant holiday stress relief!), these pieces of thin plastic can be recycled at locations that accept grocery and other types of plastic such as bread, dry cleaning and newspaper bags – the kind of plastic that stretches. Many grocery stores provide a bin near the front of the store to collect bags and films that are marked with resin identification codes #2 and #4. Store drop-off locations can be found here.

Do keep in mind that that Bubble Wrap® and Fill-Air® products cannot be placed into curbside recycling bins. Most mixed-use recycling facilities are not equipped to handle flexible materials with the same processes that manage harder goods. These materials can only dropped off at sites that accept thin polyethylene plastic used for packaging, wraps or commercial/retail bags.

From the drop-off location, Bubble Wrap® and Fill-Air® packing materials will be ground up and re-pelletized to make a variety of products from trash bags to automotive parts, which can also be recycled.

The easiest way, of course, to reuse Bubble Wrap® and the Fill-Air® pillows is to place the cushioning materials inside the packages you plan to send out to friends and family this holiday season. Sealed Air products will ensure that your thoughtful gift arrives exactly as intended.

Learn more about Sealed Air’s sustainability efforts in the company’s 2014report.  

Posted by: Ken Chrisman, President, Product Care Division, Sealed Air @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
5 Ways To Go Green In the Office

If you’re like most environmentally aware folks, you’ve probably already implemented a lot of “green” in your life. You and your family recycle, you use sustainable and energy-efficient lighting, you buy organic food--some of you might even drive a hybrid car!

It’s easy enough to go green at home, but what about at the office? Offices typically have a specific type of white-collar waste that seems difficult to alleviate--heaps of paper trash, fluorescent lighting, used coffee filters and the like. It seems almost insurmountable to implement any sustainability in the workplace besides simple acts like recycling--and people even resist that!

For many, the hardest part about going green in the office is getting started. Luckily, there are easy and meaningful ways to “green” your office, from changing your lighting to buying fair-trade and recycled products--and that’s just the beginning! Here’s five simples ways to “green” your office without breaking the bank.

Eliminate disposables

Many businesses and individuals have eliminated the use of paper plates and cups in the office, instead keeping enough eating and drinking utensils for everyone to use. While it seems like a simple step, implementing this strategy can have a huge effect on waste reduction--an often-cited statistic says that if an office of 15 people replaced three paper cups a day each with a reusable mug, they would save 11,250 paper cups. If you factor in how many disposable plates and utensils offices use, the effect can be staggering.

Buy fair-trade coffee and tea

“Fair trade” goods are some of the most ethical and healthy products on the market. Meaning that those who picked and processed the goods receive a living wage working for ethical facilities, fair trade products go beyond taking care of the physical environment and focus on the world’s most important natural resource--people.

With great stores like Earth Fare, Healthy Home Market, Whole Foods and even parts of Harris Teeter, it’s easier than ever to know that the caffeinated (and non-caffeinated) beverages your office consumes. They’re even easy to spot--check the Equal Exchange Fair Trade products or look for the Fair Trade USA or Fair-trade Labeling Organization logos.

Spring for energy-efficient lighting

The environmental and financial effects of office energy waste are staggering--according to the US Energy Information Administration, a 10,000 square foot office will spend roughly $15,000 a year on energy costs, and an Environmental Protection Agency study found that overall, the amount of greenhouse gases emitted each year by offices in the US equals that of 8,000 gallons of gasoline or 28 tons of garbage in a landfill.

While those numbers can be scary, there are easy ways to help reduce your business’s carbon footprint--replace your lighting with ENERGY STAR-certified and other energy-efficient lighting products such as LED (Light Emitting Diode) or CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lights) lights. These can reduce your energy costs and emissions by up to 60%.

Use “green” cleaning products

There are ways to keep your office clean and sanitary without exposing you and your employees to harmful toxins and reduce your part in the manufacturing effects on the environment of conventional cleaning products. While searching for a green cleaning service is the most thorough option, business owners can take matters into their own hands by purchasing eco-conscious cleaning products. Green Works, the environmentally friendly branch of Clorox cleaning products, sells many all-purpose cleaning products, as does Seventh Generation, both found easily in any supermarket.  

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

One of the easiest and least time and money-consuming ways to green your office is to reduce paper usage, reuse paper products as much as possible, and recycle anything and everything that can be recycled. This can look like everything from keeping the extra pages that come out of the printer for scratch paper to going paperless to making sure you have enough recycling receptacles around the office. Just be sure to follow the city’s Source Separation Ordinance and separate paper and cardboard recyclables!  

Feeling inspired? You can embark on the path of sustainability and potentially get press for it, too with Greenworks’ 30-Day Going Green Challenge. Taking the challenge is simple: apply via the Greenworks website, decide what three strategies you plan on implementing and post to your business’s Facebook and Twitter about taking the challenge, including the hashtag #30daygreenpledge.

from Visual Caffeine Creative Group,

Posted by: Visual Caffeine Creative Group @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Thursday, June 11, 2015
Neo-Nascar: How The Sport is Gaining New Fans and Going ‘Green’

Two weeks ago, on May 15th 2015, Nascar opened its doors to several attendees for an informative, and fun, look at the inner workings of the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Those present were able to view practice runs on the world famous track and were also able to hear from Tim Hagler regarding Nascar's commitment to sustainability following the "Nascar Green" tour. It was a unique look at the inside world of the Charlotte Motor Speedway in a fashion that many are not able to see. As attendees to the event, our team members at Visual Caffeine were immensely stunned at the sheer size and volume of one of Charlotte’s most traditional city staple, the dedication of the Nascar team and their new commitment to going ‘green’ for the environment.

Dubbed “the best racing in the world” by the representative from Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (the company who owns and operates Charlotte Motor Speedway), Nascar is a world all its own. For many it’s a religion--along the same lines as Sunday football, and the fans are a devoted, eclectic crowd that ranges in age, nationalities and region. It’s not just for the blue collar, southern fan anymore—Nascar is for everyone. It’s easy even for an outsider, who knows little to nothing about the sport, to catch the infectious energy of those who work at the Speedway.

The day before a big race, the speedway was teeming with activity; each driver accompanied by nearly a dozen team members, along with vendors, managers of every facet of the race, and other busy-seeming folks all striding in every direction with the aim of making sure that the experience is as safe and entertaining as possible for fans and drivers alike. It’s a busy, tall order and the Nascar team successfully delivers each time, in the epic ally large epicenter of the speedway.

Even more surprising than the size and activity of Charlotte Motor Speedway, however, is their concerted effort to be as ‘green’ as possible when powering what is arguably one of the most energy-consuming sports around. Speedway Motorsports and NASCAR itself have numerous approaches to going and staying green--more so than most other corporations, sports related or otherwise. They range from the truly surprising--such as Charlotte Motor Speedway’s use of biogas for backup energy from the landfill near the premises of the speedway, geothermal energy used at speedways in Las Vegas and Bristol, TN, and the NASCAR-wide use of biofuels and ethanol for all racing cars--to the more widely-known usage of recycled materials (22 million pounds of metal, concrete and plastic repurposed throughout NASCAR speedways) low-impact LEED lighting at NASCAR facilities.

The kicker (or driving force) that truly solidified NASCAR’s commitment to reducing their carbon footprint was the discovery of information about what their fans (known affectionately as “NASCAR nation”) think about climate change and their responsibility towards the matter. Evidently, ⅘ NASCAR fans believe in climate change (more than the national average); and ⅔ of those fans believe they have a personal responsibility to help reverse its effects. Most surprisingly, information showed that NASCAR fans are 75% more likely to support ethanol use in their daily lives. The numbers are surprising for many.

The presentations by Speedway Motorsports and NASCAR Green showcased not just the sometimes loftily-labeled ideals of environmentalism and reducing one’s carbon footprint--they showed NASCAR’s commitment to sustainability through action, through figures in pounds of recycled materials and megawatts of renewable energy. This commitment is not regulated at the level of government, but rather by the organization’s sense of personal responsibility. That these ideals and actions were presented as part and parcel of NASCAR’s culture, and not at odds with it or their fans, was perhaps the most illuminating note of all.

Nascar is a staple of the city for many reasons and now, instead of being a respected relic that can be successful on its tradition and fan support, Charlotte Motor Speedway is successfully tackling an important issue, voluntarily. It’s a great example of what makes Nascar such an amazing entity and it’s a great reminder that there can still be heart and caring from big business. Nascar, no doubt hopes to inspire other corporations to go a little greener, and as with every step Nascar takes, we know that will be a successful one.

- from Visual Caffeine Creative Group,

Posted by: Visual Caffeine Creative Group @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
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