Atlanta is severely lacking in CHaRM. Now let me explain before you assail me with messages extolling upon the virtues of Atlanta’s citizens and our friendliness and reputation for hospitality and all those attributes that are extolled upon by Chamber of Commerce types. Or before you describe the physical beauty of our neighborhoods and parks or our interesting buildings and areas of Atlanta, let me tell you a little about CHaRM.
CHaRM is an acronym for Center for Hard to Recycle Materials. And Atlanta does not have one. What are hard to recycle materials? They are those things that will not be picked up by the sanitation department if you put them on the curb on trash day. They include paint, old tires, light bulbs, batteries, mattresses, electronics, building materials, plastic shopping bags and dry cleaning bags as well as expired medications. It also covers household hazardous waste including herbicides, pesticides and other chemicals.
We have local collections a few times a year or one day a month that are sponsored by organizations that will take some of this stuff, but there is no place in the City of Atlanta that will take these things every day.
The Center for Hard to Recycle Materials (CHaRM), a Live Thrive Atlanta initiative, will be an Atlanta-based facility that will serve as a permanent drop-off site for these household materials that cannot be recycled or should not be disposed of through typical waste streams. In addition, CHaRM will be a collection point for items that can be reused or repurposed including shoes and clothes, books, musical instruments and sports equipment.
CHaRM will help Atlanta residents to make easier and better choices about household waste disposal, recycling and reuse. It will provide them an easier way to recycle, reuse or responsibly dispose of household items. CHaRM will help to protect our natural resources by diverting hundreds of thousands of pounds of waste from our landfills and water system.
CHaRM will re-sell the valuable commodities collected at the center to create a revenue stream that sustains the operations of the facility. The center will partner with local organizations, non-profits, and industries that can benefit from use of the collected goods.
CHaRM will also develop community and educational programs to educate residents and to promote a sustainable lifestyle through proper waste disposal.
LiveThrive Atlanta is in the process of raising funds to establish CHaRM and hopes to have it up and running by Fall 2014. Please check out http://livethrive.org/ or http://livethrive.org/charmto find out more and help Atlanta get CHaRM.
Boyd Leake is a Buckhead native and the founder and owner of Community Environmental. Since 1995 he has been an environmental and sustainability consultant with an emphasis on recycling, composting and “green” solid waste management.