Message in the music: How the city of Charlotte is hoping a rap song can teach residents about waste management

The song, “Go Green Go Clean,” encourages Charlotte-Mecklenburg residents to think twice about the amount of waste they generate.

Glenn H. Burkins

It’s not often that a U.S. city releases its own rap tune. But here in Charlotte, the department of Solid Waste Services has done just that.

“Go Green Go Clean” was recorded by Winston-Salem-born musician Ricky Ruckus and is meant to encourage Charlotte residents to think twice before trashing items that will eventually find their way into the county-run landfill. The song was released Tuesday night to a small audience at Recess Charlotte, a bar near Plaza Midwood.

You can here the song here.

Solid Waste Services Director Victoria O. Johnson said she hopes the song will get some airtime on local radio stations.

“One thing we know is that, if the kids pick it up, it doesn’t go away,” she said. “They remember it. If you want to change something, go to the schools and start with kids, because they will go home and police their parents, if they know it’s the right thing to do.”

Behind the music is a simple message: Charlotte-Mecklenburg residents must reduce the amount of food and household waste that is picked up by the city’s sanitation workers. In addition to the waste filling up landfills, it also carries the potential to cause environmental and health concerns once buried in the ground.

As part of its Healthy Communities initiative, Solid Waste Services is encouraging residents to be more mindful of what they throw out. The campaign also has emphasized the need to “upcycle” by finding new uses for old items such as clothing, furniture and houseware.

The Healthy Communities initiative has especially focused on a handful of high-poverty zip codes where residents, on average, discard more waste.

“Let’s think about it; if I’m in a challenged community and I’m worrying about my lights being cut off, do I really care about where I’m throwing something away? No, I don’t, because I have bigger worries,” Johnson said.

For that reason, Healthy Communities has emphasized how families can save money by discarding less, planning meals to reduce waste and even planting small vegetable gardens.

“Unfortunately, the United States is a throw-away society, so we’re trying to dial that back,” Johnson said. “That song helps start the conversation about waste in a different way. I believe it’s the beginning of what we are building on.”

Song Lyrics:

Go Green Go Clean
By  Ricky Ruckus

We gotta stack up the green
We just improving our health
I do it and you do it like me
Now watch how I do it
We getting to it
And it’s a movement
Improving our health, by reducing our waste
Yeah, that’s what we doing
Go Green Go Clean (Repeat 8x)

City of Charlotte, Go Green Go Clean
Solid Waste Department, Go Green Go clean
Now show some love, Go Green Go Clean
Get lit to fit, Go Green Go Clean

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