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​Mecklenburg County Recognizes Local Nonprofit for Recycling Excellence


Mecklenburg County's Solid Waste Program recognized Trips for Kids Charlotte as the winner of the annual Recycling Excellence Award on Earth Day, April 22, 2022. Jeff Smithberger, the Director of Solid Waste Management, presented the award at the Sustain Charlotte Sustainability Awards.

"We would like to congratulate Trips for Kids Charlotte for their outstanding efforts to reuse, recycle, educate, and improve our community," said Smithberger.

Each year on Earth Day, Sustain Charlotte hosts an awards ceremony to celebrate the work that is being done in the community to advance smart growth and sustainability. For the first time in two years, the celebration was held in person and 250 sustainability enthusiasts gathered at the Extravaganza Depot.

Mecklenburg County Solid Waste Management Program partners with Sustain Charlotte and presented a special Recycling Excellence Award to recognize outstanding efforts that result in landfill waste diversion. The judging criteria includes: Innovative solutions to waste reduction; Educate and benefit the broader community; Approach can be scaled up and strengthens the local economy.

All projects submitted were impressive and the judges had to tally the points carefully to determine the winner. Ultimately, the project submitted by Trips For Kids Charlotte (TFKC) rose above the rest.

"We educate the community through our programs and community bike shop to repair and reuse first!" said Eric Supil, TFKC Executive Director.

The nonprofit's mission is to transform lives, communities, and landscapes through cycling. The small organization focuses on access to cycling and bike maintenance training in the "crescent" of Charlotte. Every year the group collects an average 3,000 discarded or donated bikes and transforms them into educational opportunities and refurbished, reliable bikes primarily for local youth. TFKC is able to put back close to 60% of the bikes collected back into the community through their various programs (Earn-A-Bike Program, Learn to Ride Program, Ride Program, and a community bike shop, The Charlotte Re-Cyclery.) The remaining bikes are disassembled into reusable and recyclable pieces. Given the average child's bike weighs 25 pounds, the organization diverts approximately 75,000 pounds of waste from area landfills annually.

TFKC believes reuse is key and promotes the circular economy by transforming waste into transportation, recreation, and educational tools.