SPC Advance to take on the “Queen City”

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With SPC Advance 2015 right around the corner we wanted to highlight what the host city, Charlotte, North Carolina, has to offer the environmentally-conscious visitor. We are excited to be hosting the conference in a city committed to sustainability.

Recently ranked by CNN Money and The Seattle Times as one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S., Charlotte saw a 64% growth rate between 2000-2010, and will continue to grow due to its position as the second largest financial center in the nation after New York. Such growth provides the city with tremendous opportunity for sustainable development.

The city has pledged to improve ten areas they have identified as “key aspects of urban sustainability.” One of these key aspects is waste, and Charlotte “walks the talk” with their waste reduction initiatives, including the city’s partnership with SPC on the “Scaling up Composting in Charlotte” initiative. A diversity of organizations such as Mecklenburg School District and Mecklenburg County, U.S. EPA Region IV, and the Carolina Panthers are collaborating to demonstrate the economic viability of composting food scraps and appropriate packaging. This project will act as a pioneer for other cities looking to adopt composting and accelerate sustainable materials management. Over the past five years the city has made significant strides toward expanding recycling practices in the metro area and implementing food waste collection, and is nationally recognized for its Zero waste practices and policies. Attendees at SPC Advance can experience first hand the waste reduction efforts the city is undertaking via the tour of the ReCommunity Mecklenburg MRF which features advanced sorting technology. Or you can attend the session “The Local Perspective On Packaging Recovery” by Mecklenburg County’s Director of Solid Waste Management, Jeffrey Smithberger, to question how the city’s vision to adopt extended producer responsibility might affect waste management.

While at SPC Advance you can also take part in the city’s sustainable transportation efforts by hopping on one of the city’s bike shares, one of which will be located right outside the conference location at the Omni Hotel.  The city’s offerings, including some of their seasonal restaurants, are at your fingertips with bike transportation.

In addition to the city’s improvements toward their Charlotte 2030 Sustainable Vision, visitors will find a variety of socially conscious restaurants who loyally serve seasonal, and/or organic foods.  It’s clear the region’s restaurants take advantage of their close proximity to farms. While at SPC Advance you can consider Good Food on Montford, whose philosophy is seasonally-driven cuisine, or indulge at Mimosa Grill who features farm to fork ingredients. If you are looking for beverages Amelies French Bakery serves locally roasted Magnolia Coffee or the Lenny Boy Brewing Company crafting local brews and organic kombucha.

Be sure to take advantage of the pleasant fall temperatures in Charlotte, typically ranging from mids 70s to mid 50s. You can take a jog on one of the city’s trails and greenways or join the SPC Advance tour to a local family-owned forest. We are taking advantage of SPC Advance being located in the hotbed for responsible forest management; get a firsthand look at one of the most important sources of fiber in North America and learn about management practices from a family forest owner himself.

There is a plethora of activities happening as part of SPC Advance 2015 that allow you to explore the city. On the last day of the conference, attendees can elect to visit the Mint Museum which  houses an expansive collection including a craft and design collection on design excellence in the areas of glass, fiber art, metal, and wood. This trip could very well spur your next idea for a sustainable packaging design!

As you have learned thus far, Charlotte has much to offer in addition to NASCAR. Join SPC Advance and come explore the lively, growing, southern City of Charlotte, North Carolina while working together to achieve sustainable packaging goals.

– Shea Zwerver, Executive Assistant