Sustainability

Lucy Perkins / WFAE

A new energy project in Charlotte will use food scraps to power 3,000 homes in the Charlotte area. A Nevada company called Bluesphere will convert organic waste into electricity. 

Think banana peels. That’s basically what organic waste is, along with other food we throw out. The bio-gas plant will take the leftovers we don’t use, and accelerate the fermentation process.

"What happens normally in six months we concentrate in 30 days," says Alex Massone, the CEO of Austep -- an Italian company behind the technology.

WasteZero

There’s been a lot of trash talk in Charlotte recently. And no, we don’t mean college basketball. The city is studying pay-as-you-throw garbage service as a way to reduce the amount of trash we send to the landfill.


Colin Delaney / Flickr

The city of Charlotte is looking at changing the way its residents pay for trash collection, from a flat fee to a “pay-as-you-throw” system. 

Charlotte's Sustainability Report Card

Aug 21, 2014
bobistraveling / Flickr/https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Thursday, August 21, 2014

We've talked a lot about sustainability - the state and quality of Charlotte's air, water, energy use and more - and whether or not Charlotte is headed for a sustainable future. But now, the non-profit Sustain Charlotte has used the power of data to compile and compare nine different categories into one study, the first of its kind. The group rates our local sustainability trends, and compares them to national trends in air quality, energy use, equality and empowerment, food, jobs and income, land use, transportation, waste and water use. So, how are we doing? The report shows we're making progress on energy use, and the area's water use per household is lower than the national average. But we're lagging behind when it comes to transportation and land use. And food insecurity and childhood poverty are on the rise.

Exploring Local Farms And Local Food

May 15, 2014
anathea / Flickr/https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

We've all seen the bumper sticker - 'No Farms. No Food.' While agriculture remains North Carolina's largest industry, a new census from the U.S. Department of Agriculture reveals that farmers in the state are getting older and scarcer. Experts say we need more growers and more attention on building the local and regional food economies. Eating local isn’t just the hip thing to do anymore; many see it as vital for environmental sustainability as well. Farmers markets are growing in popularity, more restaurants are locally-sourcing their ingredients and we're seeing the rise of agritourism that connects the eaters with the growers. Ahead of the 'Know Your Farms' tour this weekend, we meet some of our local farmers and food systems experts to find out about their challenges and discuss the future of food and farming in the Charlotte region.

Michael Pollan has been called "an ethical-eating guru," "high priest of food," even a "food god." The food writer and journalist has authored several best sellers including Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food and now he's coming to Charlotte to talk about his latest passion - cooking. His latest book Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation encourages us to put down the take-out menu and pick up a spatula and reclaim the precious art of cooking for our health and for the sake of our food system. We'll talk with him about eating, farming, cooking, what he calls "edible foodlike substances," agribusiness and some of his famous food rules, like - "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

When we first met Carbon Nation director Peter Byck last year, we learned about his cross country journey to meet people who were trying to reduce their carbon footprint whether they believed in global warming or not. He'll join us again on the next Charlotte Talks to talk about why getting the message out about climate change is still such a challenge and about initiatives being made by companies around the country (some that might come as a surprise to you!) to change the way we think about energy and the environment.

DoYourPart.com

Well-known former TV meteorologist Terri Bennett has traded the camera and studio for the betterment of the environment, with the founding of her company, called Do Your Part. She's the author of a book by the same name, and in it, gives practical tips that she says help "to remove the roadblocks that currently prevent many Americans from taking steps toward adopting more sustainable lifestyles."  She'll share her expertise with us, and will give us some tips on how to reduce our eco-footprint. (Originally Aired 9/13/2011)