Business, Local News

Gaia’s, HBA partner to make recycling easier in April

Sarah Tozer, owner of Gaia’s Market & Refillery, with the recycling box in her store. She is collecting batteries and used gift cards, and other Homewood businesses are collecting a variety of difficult-to-recycle items during April. (Eric Crump/H-F Chronicle)

Curbside recycling is easy, but what about disposing of material that doesn’t qualify for curbside pickup, like Styrofoam packing peanuts and old computers? Homewood Business Association’s effort being led by Sarah Tozer of Gaia Market & Refillery, is making it easier to get junk to the recycler during April.

The Village of Homewood and 18 HBA members are helping collect difficult-to-recycle items through the Earth Month Challenge.

In addition to the village and Gaia, participants include Art 4 Soul, Art Corner, Homewood Dental Studio, Homewood Public Library, Homewood Science Center, Jonathan Kane Salon & Spa, Lauren Roman’s @Properties, Loulou Belle, Open Access, Redbird Cafe, The Rock Shop, Serendipity Yoga and Wellness Studio, Spotlight Performance Academy, Thomas Photographic Studio, UpsaDaisy Boutique, The Village Door and The Villager Gift Shop.

full list of participating businesses with addresses, hours and type of material they are collecting can be found on Gaia’s website. For example, Art 4 Soul is collecting markers, highlighters and other writing and drawing tools. Homewood Public Library is collecting books, magazines and notebooks. Gaia’s will take batteries and used gift cards.

Everyone who drops off items at a participating business can get a chance to win a wireless charger made from recycled materials. Those who participate can earn an extra chance by posting on social media about their recycling efforts, using the hashtag #RecycleHomewood.

The items collected by HBA businesses will be delivered to the Center for Hard to Recycle Materials  (CHARM) at South Suburban College in South Holland.

“They take the stuff that like you might know can be recycled, but you have no idea where to take it,” Tozer said.

She said the center even takes Styrofoam packing peanuts now, a type of material that can be hard to find places that will accept. She said it’s something the center recycles onsite.

“They melt it down in this machine and it spits out crown molding,” she said.

Although the center is not far away, Tozer said people don’t always want to travel there, especially if they have small amounts to recycle.

“That’s why we take Styrofoam year round, because I would rather people bring me one Styrofoam cup than throw it away.”

She collects items at her store until she has enough for a trip to CHARM, a practice she recommends environment-conscious local residents could do, too, after the Earth Month Challenge is over.

In the meantime, Homewood businesses are ready to help.

Related stories:

Center for Hard to Recycle Materials gets grant to enhance recycling efforts (Sept. 16, 2023).
Cook County, South Suburban College establish Center for Hard to Recycle Materials (April 20, 2023).

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