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How to have a green New Year

Now that the red, blue, silver, and gold of the holiday season has faded, it’s time to focus on the best color of all: GREEN! As the color of renewal, green reminds us to make conscious choices to help protect ourselves, our planet, and all of our fellow living things. We’ve pulled together some of our favorite ways to turn our lives just a bit greener, especially now that the holiday season is over. Together, we can make 2021 the greenest year ever! 

  1. Recycle those holiday trees! If you opted for a live tree this year, why not recycle it? There are a variety of options for tree recycling here in Georgia. You can find a local “Bring One for the Chipper” event here: https://www.kgbf.org/bring-one-for-the-chipper, or check with your local Home Depot location, or even look at your county’s website to see if they do curbside pick-up. Many counties and cities, including Atlanta, host their own drop-off or pick-up days. Mulch from recycled holiday trees goes right back into community parks, playgrounds, and gardens, so it’s a great way to help beautify your neighborhood. Just make sure to remove all lights, ornaments, and decorations first! 
  2. Replace those single-use plastics and plastic containers! Plastic pollution is one of the most widespread threats to animal and plant species. Marine life is especially susceptible to micro-plastics, but land species can fare just as badly when they accidentally ingest or get tangled in plastic bags, straws, and other items. Very little of the plastic we use ever makes it into the recycling bin. Even then, most types of plastics can only be recycled a few times before they’re unusable. Consider switching to more sustainable options, like aluminum or glass storage containers. Those can be recycled endlessly without breaking down, so they’re much easier on the planet!  
  3.  Recycle the old! Did you upgrade anything in your homes over the holiday season and aren’t quite sure how to dispose of the old versions? You may be able to recycle more of it than you think! The Center for Hard to Recycle Materials (CHaRM) will take paint, bulbs, mattresses, appliances, propane tanks, tires, bikes, electronics, thermometers, smoke detectors, ink cartridges, textiles, household items, books, musical instruments, and more! They’ll also securely shred papers, and they take all easily-recyclable materials too. Make room for all the new stuff you just got while helping to keep the landfills just a bit clearer. You can learn more and make an appointment for drop-off here: https://livethrive.org/charm/. (As a bonus, CHaRM is just a few minutes away from Zoo Atlanta! Drop off your recycling and then come see the species that your donations are helping to protect!) 
     
    We here at Zoo Atlanta wish you the happiest and safest of New Years! We hope these strategies help you keep the green up all year long. Thank you for your support of our Zoo, our community, and our planet! 

Katie Anderson
Supervisor of Youth Volunteers

Connect With Your Wild Side #onlyzooatl