- Charlotte, NC's Solid Waste Services department has announced a plan aimed at getting 16,000 homes in majority-minority and low-income areas to reduce their waste by half. Some residents of these communities generate almost three times more waste than the city average, as reported by Next City.
- The city will spend an estimated $75,000 on a program called Healthy Communities centered around food education. Additional personnel support will come from multiple local organizations.
- This three-year program will provide workshops on accessing fresh food, hosting community dinner parties and saving money by reducing food waste.
Like many cities, Charlotte has set big reduction goals — zero waste by 2050 in this case — that necessitate a wide range of approaches. City officials plan to use this as an opportunity to promote their participation in the Environmental Protection Agency's "Food: Too Good to Waste" campaign. This is funded by a federal grant and intended to educate residents about waste reduction.
The types of communities targeted by Charlotte's program are often more affected by environmental justice issues related to waste disposal and other industrial activities. This has been seen in cities across the country from Los Angeles to New York and many in between.
Finding ways to engage these populations in waste reduction, which will in turn help improve the environment where they live, is a smart approach. Increasing awareness about the best ways to shop and cook food is an important part of that. As has become increasingly clear, the correlation between food waste, hunger and nutrition cannot be ignored.