We need your old books at the CHaRM!
Help Us Collect 25,000 Books to Serve Children in Need
Can you imagine a child not having a single book in her home? How about a child who is so unfamiliar with books he doesn’t even know how to hold one to read it?
We can imagine it because we’ve met these kids. They live right here in Boulder County, and for the past seven years we’ve been working to get books into their homes and hands by supplying local charities that serve them with books collected at Eco-Cycle’s CHaRM (Center for Hard-to-Recycle Materials).
Our book reuse program has been incredibly successful and heartening—since January 2004 we’ve donated nearly 96,500 books to children who now get to enjoy the magic of reading and story.
But we have a problem: The demand for books is increasing, but the supply has dwindled. Please remember the CHaRM the next time you’re clearing your bookshelves of unwanted books.
How to donate books and spread the word about this campaign
From Dr. Seuss to Shakespeare, paperback or hardback, we need books of all sorts for all reading levels. (We will also take your non-reusable books, such as manuals and dated reference texts, for recycling.)
- Bring your old books to the CHaRM in Boulder. There is no fee to drop off books (though recycling fees related to other CHaRM items will still apply).
- Spread the word to your friends and neighbors through your online social networks that the CHaRM is accepting books and donating them to a great cause by "liking" or tweeting this page (see upper right corner).
- Hold a book drive event at your workplace or volunteer to be a collection point on your block for your neighbors’ books. (We’ll pick them up.) Email for more info.
- Help us pay for this program by making a donation.
Some thoughtful words about our program
“Thank you for the books you donated. When I saw them I was jumping for joy. Everybody loved them. I was on top of the world!” - 4th grade ESL student
“Thank you for giving this wonderful gift of words, books and literacy to our patients!” - The staff of Clinica Campesina
Donating books at the CHaRM supports a whole network of those doing good work in our community
- Books are shared with more than 40 local charities that serve families in need and promote literacy efforts, such as Attention Homes, Boulder County Headstart, Casa de la Esperanza, Samaritan House, People’s Clinic and Emergency Family Assistance Association.
- Local Schools: Books are given to preschools and 26 schools that participate in Eco-Cycle's Green Star Schools program.
- Kids Programs: Hardback covers are reused to make creative picture frames and other crafts in schools and through Eco-Cycle’s Party with the Planet Birthday Parties for Kids.
- A Local Book Reuse Company: An expert sorts through the books for valuable text and reference books to sell.
- Eco-Cycle: The book reuse company splits the book sale profits with Eco-Cycle to help support the CHaRM.
Why Recycle Electronics with Eco-Cycle
Televisions, computers and most other electronics can contain a host of toxic substances such as lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic. These toxic substances could contaminate groundwater when landfilled.
Why recycle electronics with Eco-Cycle?
Eco-Cycle requires that our electronics partner be a Certified e-Stewards Recycler to process and recycle all electronic equipment. e-Stewards is the world's most rigorous environmental and social justice criteria for recycling e-scrap. This means we will not work with processors who export hazardous electronic scrap to developing countries. Your electronic scrap (e-scrap) will be safely processed within developed countries and will also be kept out of landfills, incinerators and prison recycling operations.
Why is there a fee?
There is a fee for recycling most electronic items, the exceptions being desktop CPUs, laptops, and mobile phones. Electronics processors must first disassemble all items before they can recycle them, a labor-intensive process that often requires handling toxic substances. The funds are also used to offset the cost of collection, storage and marketing of the materials.
Will the public always have to pay for recycling materials like this?
Not if we can help it. In other countries, manufacturers (including U.S. multinationals) are required to pay for recycling their toxic product rather than putting that burden on customers, government or non-profits.
Eco-Cycle is part of a coalition working to create similar "take-back" programs in the U.S. If U.S. companies participate in Take-Back programs abroad, why not here? Until businesses begin to design products for recycling and disassembly and offer free "take-back" programs, recyclers like you, local governments like the City of Boulder, and nonprofits like Eco-Cycle will continue to bear the cost of doing the right thing.
Watch the Story of Electronics to learn more about how electronics manufacturers need to take greater responsibility for the recovery and greener design of their products.
Map to CHaRM
6400 Arapahoe Rd. (co-located with ReSource)
Monday - Saturday, 9am - 5pm
What happens to your CHaRM materials?
The CHaRM collects books for recycling and reuse. Reused books support a whole network of good in our community through our CHaRM Book Reuse Program.
Children and Charities: Books are shared with more than 40 local charities to promote literacy in at-risk populations. The books are made available for children to take home at locations including Attention Homes, Boulder County Headstart, Casa de la Esperanza, Samaritan House, People’s Clinic and Emergency Family Assistance Association.
Local Schools: Books are given to preschools and 34 schools that participate in Eco-Cycle's Green Star Schools program.
A Local Book Reuse Company: An expert sorts through the books for valuable text and reference books to sell.
Eco-Cycle: The book reuse company splits the book sale profits with Eco-Cycle to help support the CHaRM.
Big Durable #2 Plastics
Big durable #2 plastics are responsibly recycled in the U.S. and made into recycled plastic railroad ties. This very durable, long-lasting product can be used in place of virgin hardwood lumber railroad ties injected with creosote. Hardwood lumber takes a very long time to regrow, and creosote contains several toxic and carcinogenic chemicals, which can leach into the environment through contact with soil or water.
Bike Tires & Tubes
Bike tires and tubes are sent to Green Guru, a Boulder-based company that uses them to make upcycled bags and other gear.
Cooking oil is used by a local manufacturer, Sustainable Oil Service, to create biodiesel.
As of Nov. 15, 2016, electronics and plastic appliances are recycled on-site through a new program from Eco-Cycle and Blue Star Recyclers that employs people with autism and other disAbilities. Trained as recycling technicians, these workers disassemble electronics at the CHaRM Facility in our newly retrofitted warehouse. Learn more at www.ecocycle.org/charm.
Because electronics are being disassembled on-site, we can now guarantee chain of custody and data security on-site. The CHaRM is in progress to be certified to the e-Steward standard, the strictest environmental standard in the industry.
After the retardant is safely discharged, the metal cylinders are recycled.
Ink Jet and Laser Jet Cartridges
Plastic Bags and Plastic Bubble Wrap
Small Plastic Appliances
Textiles and Paired Reusable Shoes
Toilets, Sinks and Urinals
#6 White Block Foam
Here’s the list of our local recycling and reuse partners
Atlas Metals • 303-825-7166
Diversified Imaging Systems • 303-817-9303
Star Industrial Supplies • 303-295-7737
The CHaRM depends upon partnerships with innovative local companies to expand the list of materials we can accept for reuse or recycling. If you have an idea for a recycled product to make out of a new or existing category of materials, please contact us.
CHaRM: Center for Hard-to-Recycle Materials
6400 Arapahoe Rd, Boulder, co-located with ReSource
Monday - Friday: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
CHaRM is closed on Sundays
CHaRM is an outdoor facility. In the event of extreme weather, call us at (303) 444-6634 before you visit to find out if the CHaRM is open. We care about your safety and our employees!
Accepted payment methods
Cash, check, and any credit cards other than Diner's Club
Before you recycle that item... try to fix it at an upcoming U-Fix-It Clinic!
MAP OF CHaRM AND BOULDER'S
What is the CHaRM?
CHaRM opened in 2001 and was the first facility of its kind in the nation. It collects unusual materials like electronics and plastic bags for recycling and reuse.
The CHaRM is funded in part by city of Boulder trash tax dollars.
Cash, check, and any credit cards other than Diner's Club
Free of charge:
ELECTRONICS: New Bulk Pricing
Computer towers (CPUs), laptops, tablets: no charge
CRT (not flatscreen) TVs, rear-projection TVs, Monitors: $0.59/lb
NOTE: Broken CRT glass is classified by the EPA as hazardous waste, and requires extra handling and documentation. Price for broken CRT glass is $1.00/lb.
All other electronics, including audio equipment, mobile phones, fax machines or any other item with a battery or cord: $0.49/lb. (updated 2/1/2018)
Optional Hard-drive Shredding service (please request): $12/hard drive. Bulk hard-drive shredding IS available; please call 303-444-6634 for more information.
Ink Jet and Laser Jet (no charge)
Plate Glass Windows
Includes windows, patio doors, shower doors, picture frame glass, glass tabletops, glass block, tempered glass, insulated glass
Cracked and broken panes are OK
Window without jamb: $3.00/unit
Window with jamb: $8.00/unit
Door without jamb: $12.00/unit
Door with jamb: $20.00/unit
NO glassware (drinking glass, dishes, etc.), mirrors, Pyrex (food containers, microwave dishes, measuring cups), canning jars, or bottles and jars.
Includes plastic shopping and newspaper bags, ziplock bags, dry cleaner bags and bubble wrap
MUST be clean, dry, and empty of all food, receipts, etc. with tape and stickers removed
NO plastic food wrap or packing peanuts
Accepted with plastic bags in plastic bag bin
Must be clean and dry
NO packing peanuts, other foam
#6 White Block Foam
Businesses: $6 per cubic yard
NO shipping labels on foam, packing peanuts, "Styrofoam" (polystyrene) cups, “to-go” boxes, meat trays or any other food-grade styrofoam, moisture or tape
Electric and battery-powered appliances
$0.49/lb. (updated 2/1/2018)
NO vacuum bags, glass (coffee pots, blender carafes, etc.), or food/liquid residue .
Have appliances that are mostly metal? See scrap metal listing.
Please note that we will weigh your materlals on-site and give you a total fee based on weight at that time. The link above is just to give you a rought estimate.
Our flat CHaRM facility entrance fee of $3 applies to plastic appliances, which helps us cover the costs we incur recycling these hard-to-recycle materials.
• Large plastics such as Big Wheels® and plastic play structures, plastic lawn furniture, plastic watering cans, laundry baskets, clean plastic buckets (no residue), crates, rigid backyard kiddie pools and plastic trash containers.
• Must be the size of a five-gallon bucket or larger but must also be less than 3 feet by 3 feet (can be cut to meet these dimensions).
• In some cases, these plastics may not be marked with a #2, so look for them to be opaque with a matte finish and hollow inside. They are made with a mold, so will likely have a seam where two halves were joined.
• Non-plastic parts must be removed, including straps, padding and fabric. Items requiring disassembly will be charged a $5 fee.
• NO flower pots without a #2, inflatable pools or other inflatable plastics, water beds, chew toys, CD jewel cases, small toys such as action figures, etc.
• NO insulated plastic coolers
• $3 facility fee applies
• metal stands can be recycled as scrap metal at the CHaRM at no extra charge
• Standard spring or futon mattress, any size: ($17.50)
• Box spring, any size: ($17.50)
• 100% foam mattress toppers, any size ($8.75)
• Mechanical bed ($36.50)
• NOTE: As of July 2018, we can no longer accept bed bug-infested mattresses at the CHaRM
• NO mattresses or box springs with mold.
• Includes integral parts such as seats, pedals, handlebars, wheels, etc. and metal accessories such as baskets and Pannier racks
• NO other accessories or sporting goods
• $.50 per bike tire
• Puncture-resistant or slime tubes should be kept separately
• NO automotive or other tires
• Computer and Office Manuals
• Hard-Bound Books and Paperbacks
*Call for quantities one pallet and larger
*There is no fee to drop off books. Learn about our Book Reuse Project
• Residential quantities only (maximum 10 gallons); for larger quantities see our A-Z Recycling Guide listing for Cooking Oil
• Includes canola, corn, vegetable, olive, and sesame oils
• NO motor oil or any oil used for purposes other than cooking.
• Boulder Residents with ID: No additional charge
• Non-Boulder Residents: $7
• Paper materials only
• $10 per file box
Eco-Cycle provides a locked bin for residents and businesses to drop off documents for shredding at the CHaRM. A mobile shredding company comes every other Friday to shred the papers. We do not offer certificates of destruction. Vehicles that come to CHaRM are charged $3.00 per visit in addition to any per item fees. Call 303-444-6634 for more information or visit www.ecocycle.org/charm.
Small quantities of paper that is already shredded is also accepted as compost at the CHaRM. The facility fee will apply.
• Toilet, porcelain only (all other non-porcelain materials removed): $6.75/unit
• Toilet, whole (other materials still attached): $12.75/unit
• Sink or urinal, porcelain only: $3.50/unit
• Sink or urinal, plumbing attached: $6.50/unit
• Porcelain with biohazards will NOT be accepted.
• Other ceramics such as ceramic tile and pottery: $.07/lb
• NO glass, rebar, tile backing material, or other non-ceramics.
• Clean concrete -- must be free of aggregate, metal, rocks and dirt -- accepted in small quantities: less than small pickup truck bed size: $.07/lb
• NOTE: Concrete is NOT accepted at local hard-to-recycle events.
• Plastic foam, rubber foam and jute mats: $1/each
• NO badly soiled or smelly mats
• NO Tatami or other grass mats
Items at least 50% metal, including appliances
• Items without Freon®: no charge
• Items WITH Freon®: $15
• Cables and wire
Items that contain Freon® must, by state law, have the Freon chemicals removed by a professional before disposal. The $15 fee helps the CHaRM cover these costs. Items with Freon include refrigerators, air conditioners, dehumidifiers and freezers.
IF YOU HAVE EMPTY TANKS AND CYLINDERS: CHaRM accepts helium tanks. Bring them to the CHaRM but do NOT place them in the scrap metal bin. Please let the person at the CHaRM window know what you have and they will direct you to a special collection area at CHaRM.
NO O2, CO2, or Acetylene tanks. For O2, CO2, and Acetylene tanks, please contact local welding supply stores.
NO oil or fuel in motors
NO TANKS WITH ANY LIQUID OR GAS. Please remove all gas caps from mowers or other related equipment.
NO PROPANE CANISTERS OF ANY KIND. See our A-Z Recycling Guide listing for Propane canisters for more information.
Electronics are not scrap metal but can be recycled at the CHaRM for a fee.
Single-stream recycling is accepted at the CHaRM for no charge. Learn more about what's accepted in single-stream recycling.
CHaRM accepts food scraps, soiled paper and Zero Waste event supplies. Click here for full guidelines.
A small charge helps us offset the cost of the program:
Less than 5 gallons compost, no other CHaRM materials - free with a $1 facility use fee
Less than 5 gallons compost w/other CHaRM materials - compost is free, charge $3 facility use fee
5 gallons to 32 gallons (1/2 toter) compost: $5 + $3 facility use fee
$10 per 64 gallon toter of compost, + $3 facility use fee
$30 per cubic yard + $3 facility use fee