Center for HArd to Recycle Materials

Does recycling matter? 

Can’t we just throw everything away and be done with everything? The answer is yes and yes - but that second one’s not a great idea. Recycling does more good than you may realize. The CHARM center, just a few blocks from the Atlanta Zoo, knows this well.

CHARM stands for Center for HArd to Recycle Materials. They are our local partner to the City of Atlanta recycling program but they go a step farther. Where the City accepts newspaper, cardboard, aluminum, plastic, glass, and steel, CHARM takes those and more. Why? Because Peggy Whitlow Ratcliffe realized our City’s citizens could do more. She’s opened an incredible facility that serves us all and makes our Paint, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, styrofoam, carpeting, televisions, mattresses, tires, light bulbs, batteries,electronics, and textiles were being thrown away in huge numbers.

Why does this matter? Because these are not healthy items that biodegrade. You know what they do? They leach various chemicals and elements into our groundwater that can be harmful.

Imagine those folks who pour cleaning products, medicines, and paints down the drains at their homes! That goes right into our water system and then requires extra chemicals and processing to make the water usable again. THEN those items have to be recycled.

CHARM doesn’t take everything that’s not biodegradable but they take an awful lot. This 501(c)3 organization is approved by the City of Atlanta and Ratcliffe hopes that soon they can expand to have CHARM locations in all quadrants of the City. In 2016 alone, they’ve collected over:

4,080   gallons of paint
16,233 gallons of chemicals
75,987 pounds of electronics
953       pounds of styrofoam
7,300    tires
7,123    pounds of batteries

Visit CHARM’s website at and find out how you can recycle some of those “awkward” items that you know shouldn’t go in the trash. We all can do much to improve our city and environment.

Boyd Baker
[email protected]

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