What every newcomer needs to know about the Charlottesville Green Scene

by Betty on August 24, 2012

(photo Teri Kent, founder, serving up Better World Bread from Albemarle Baking Company)

1.  We are not as green as we think we are

Don’t get me wrong.  I love Cville and we are doing a lot of amazing and innovative sustainability-minded things AND we have a lot of work to do.  Especially at the county level.  I would like to see the County adopt a green city vision similar to what Charlottesville city has.  The truth is we ALL could be doing more.  Including myself.

2.  “Single stream recycling” has been messy of late.

When you see this sign on trucks that say single stream recycling and that the friend at your party says, “Go ahead put that in the trash.  It all gets recycled.”  Follow your intuition.  YES – it is too good to be true.   The recycling rate for this method is 25% at best. We advocate QUALITY vs. QUANTITY recycling.  They both have a place, which is why I think the City has best of both worlds (they use AWS single stream and VDL for trash).  Check out this helpful recycling pamphlet to clear up the confusion. County residents are “on your own” which means bringing it in to McIntire or call Evergreen Recycling or Allied Waste (see Betty’s directory)

3-      Cville loves local food!

Markets abound.  City market runs through October Sat 7-noon (across from Mono Loco near the downtown mall).  The Market at Pen Park runs through September Tuesdays 3-7pm.  Farmers in the Park (in the Belmont area on Meade Ave) runs through September Wednesdays 3-7pm.  Don’t forget locally-owned markets like IY (or integral yoga) , Kathy’s Market.  And yes, we do have a Whole Foods.  As far as restaurants serving local, first check out Better Business Challenge participants.  These guys took the “Challenge” to implement sustainable business practices last year:  Zinc, Blue Moon Diner, Maya, Orzo, Beer Run, Wild Wing Café, Slice, Greenberry’s, Hotcakes for a full list go to www.cvillebetterbiz.com

4-      Cville is Energywise.

We are tackling energy efficiency on a wide scale thanks to LEAP – the Local Energy Alliance Program and we have a thriving green building community here with JRGBC  – the James River Green Building Council.  LEAP is the local expert on all things home energy wise – they can also handle commercial properties. Take advantage of an amazing deal to celebrate Cville 250.  LEAP wants to do home energy assessments on 250 homes in 250 days!  Get a home energy review for $25.00 – total steal!  Go to www.leap-va.org or www.energize250.com!

5-      Cville is Waterwise.

We have lots of great organizations who tend our most precious resource:  WATER and work to keep it clean. We are in the Chesapeake Bay area so the Chesapeake Bay Foundation plays an important role in bringing the bay back to a healthy state (have you seen the unfortunate pictures of the “red tide” in the Bay?) .  Do your part to save the bay by use little or no pesticides, conserving water, watch what you throw down the drain, and or join the Rivanna Conservation Society, Streamwatch, and/or Piedmont Environmental Council

6-      Alternative Transportation continues to grow!

We have a thriving bike community here.  Last weekend ‘s Open Streets Event:  Bike Walk Play JPA was a blast.  (Sorry you missed the big hit:  Betty’s trash bowling, which we are renaming to Recyclabowl).  New bike safety lanes have gone in recently.  We have a free trolley from the UVA area to the downtown mall.  Rideshare has carpool and schoolpool programs and a  guaranteed ride to work!

7-      And finally, BETTY HAS YOUR BACK!

Betty is your go to resource for all things sustainable.  A local eco-hub for your home, office, school.  Questions about recycling/repurposing items, ask Betty.

8-  Step off the TREES – we love our trees.

Last year, a local hero of mine, was arrested trying to save a 100+ year old tree on Park Street.  We have some amazing trees here in Virginia who deserve protecting!


WE do have a great core group of people who care here…Consider taping into the local green scene by volunteering or donating to one of these non-profit groups and WELCOME TO CVILLE!

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