Thank you to Emil Moffatt with WABE for interviewing our Executive Director and Founder, Peggy Whitlow Ratcliffe! Click here to hear the whole story. 

The Residential Role

On Atlanta’s southside, a steady line of cars streams into the Center for Hard to Recycle Materials — or CHaRM for short. It’s open to the public as well as businesses and universities. A fee is charged to recycle certain items.

Peggy Whitlow Radcliff has been running CHaRM for nearly seven years. She’s the executive director and founder of the nonprofit Live Thrive Inc.

“It’s amazing what has been done to take some of these materials that are so undesirable and they can be made into useful products,” said Radcliffe.

CHaRM can recycle some 40 types of material from electronics to tires to chemicals to paint and glass.

They turn it all over to processors — all of whom are listed on the facility’s website.

“One of the most important things I think about making recycling work is transparency,” said Radcliffe. “When you drop something off with me, where does it go and what do they do with it? Do you really recycle it, or does it get thrown away?”

That approach appears to be working. When CHaRM opened in 2015, Ratcliffe says they served 5,000 customers. This year, that number has grown to 47,000. The center is planning a second facility in DeKalb County.

Atlanta’s professional sports teams are playing a role in recycling too, with the Hawks, Atlanta United, Falcons and Braves all taking steps toward having zero-waste venues.