Yep. We’re going to talk recycling. I realize that we’ve been talking (usually as opposed to actually) recycling for decades now. The bad news is that the United States is actually recycling less than it used to. Perhaps we have listened to all of the negativity and don’t believe it works or that we are convinced that the items we carefully place in the blue bins gets tossed anyway or that we, as a species, are so far gone that we’ve come to question “what the hell does it matter anyway?”

So what’s the alternative? Do we willingly toss spent items that could be reused or recycled in the garbage bin to be delivered to the ever growing heaps of trash that we, as Americans, love to create?

I, for one, am choosing the side of optimism. I love to find ways to reuse items in creative ways. Aluminum pie pans become saucers for my planters. Peanut butter and Ball Jars become receptacles for my art supplies. And I am super excited to try some of the suggestions for old light bulbs I saw on Treehugger, including using them to hold air plants, making DIY snow globes, or painting them to become unique tree ornaments. I can see them sparkling in silver and gold already!

But there are always those items that even the most innovative among us just can’t figure out what to do with. In comes CHaRM. I’m guessing that a lot of you already know about CHaRM. If you are like me, you may have known about it but never actually went there. That was me, at least until recently. At first it was a bit overwhelming, trying to figure out where to go, where I should put my car and who to give my discarded goodies to. Now, after several visits, I think it is one of the most magical places in Atlanta. Yes, I am a reduce/reuse/recycle nerd. I’m hoping you might just be a closet nerd yourself. If you aren’t already, a couple visits to CHaRM may take you over that edge. 🙂

I have always had such difficulty throwing things away that I knew could possibly become recycled somewhere. I felt guilty for tossing, but I knew that my tendency to hoard and pile was not going to be a key to a lasting relationship (if you know what I mean). In comes CHaRM!

If you’ve never been, you may be amazed at the items that they will happily take off your hands. Old cans of paint, antifreeze, styrofoam, PCs, appliances, and cooking oil are just a fraction of the trash they will accept. Check out the full list right here.

Until recently, they had only one center that lived on Hill Street in the Grant Park neighborhood, but they have recently opened a second location in Decatur. Before you load up that car though, make sure to schedule a time to visit because they only accept the goods by appointment. Don’t worry, the process is simple. Just visit the scheduler and choose your time. They’ll send you an email with your confirmation, and you show them your QR code on the day of your visit. When you arrive, don’t be intimidated by the size. There are plenty of wonderful people there who are happy to point you in the right direction. 

You may be thinking that recycling is just a drop in the bucket (see what I did there?), but consider the alternative. I, for one, am going to choose to take the next right step, even if it is a small one. Imagine what the steps of 342 million Americans could do. It’s anything but small.

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JOURNEY WITH US: The Climate Action Team is for you because, well, the planet needs your urgent action – and we need each other as we navigate these changing times. Learn all about the group here,  and check out our minutes and take action table, our lending library and the Carbon Offset Fund. You can also request to join the Climate Action Team on Realm. Contact Jon Reese to connect to the CAT and join us for our next in-person meeting on Monday, June 17, at 7:30 PM in rooms 217/219.