The leader of the Center for Hard-to-Recycle Materials (CHaRM) said its annual fundraiser, A CHaRM’ing Evening, is not your typical charity benefit.
“It’s more like a celebration than a fundraiser,” said Peggy Whitlow Ratcliffe, executive director of Live Thrive Atlanta, the nonprofit running CHaRM. “I think the atmosphere there is more about celebrating the success and the diversion rates and all the things that the center offers, all the materials we’ve kept out of the watershed and the landfills, and the education we’ve provide to the schools and the residents in the city.”
Set for Oct. 3 at 6:30 p.m. at the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center in DeKalb County, the center’s sixth annual benefit helps sustain the southeast Atlanta facility that accepts items such as electronics, paint and mattresses to be recycled for a year.
The gala will include drinks, heavy hors d’oeuvres, live music from Yacht Rock Revue and a raffle to win a three-year lease on a 2019 BMW i3.
“It’s kind of a fun experience to be with other people who care about sustainability, and that’s always a cool thing,” Live Thrive Atlanta board member Alex Wan said. “Having Yacht Rock Revue is always a fun thing. They’re one of my favorite live bands ever. The car raffle is always exciting as well. It’s a fun evening because it’s all tied together thematically.”
The center has much to celebrate this year.
According to its website, from Jan. 1 through April 15, CHaRM’s original facility has had 7,44 visitors and has collected and recycled 238,048 pounds of paint, 8250 illegally dumped tires, 104,725 pounds of hazardous chemicals, 188,532 pounds of electronics, 1,054 pounds of Styrofoam, 112,236 pounds of metal, 642 mattresses, 56,622 pounds of textiles, 29 tons of single-stream recyclables, 52 gallons of cooking grease and 92 tons of glass.
“I can say that’s since we opened in 2015, the traffic and the (visitors) have increased 600%,” Ratcliffe said. “It’s wonderful, that as the word spreads how many people do care about proper waste disposal and making sure things are being recycled or reused, that it’s their choice to recycle those (items) instead of landfilling everything.”
Also, since CHaRM opened a monthly popup location in Buckhead in June (it runs through November), more residents have caught the recycling bug.
“It’s been extremely successful,” Ratcliffe said. “(At) the first one we had in June, we had about 300 (vehicles dropping off items), and by the third one (in August) we were close to 400.”
The popup location is a temporary way to address CHaRM’s mission to add a second permanent location in Buckhead as part of a long-term plan to have one center in each of the city’s four quadrants.
“We are still searching and exploring opportunities daily,” Ratcliffe said. “We have a lot of people sending us information (on potential sites). It’s about finding the right place. It’s going to a challenge. Anything that’s greenspace has gone to (the) Path400 (Greenway Trail) or different parks, which is good, but it’s difficult to find anything industrial in the Buckhead area. It’s precious property.”
Wan, who served as the District 6 Atlanta City Council member from 2010 through 2017, and District 1 Councilwoman Carla Smith helped secure city property to launch CHaRM four years ago.
“The notion of keeping materials out of landfills as much as we can is what drives my work with Live Thrive,” he said. “The more we can divert, the better our environment will be. It’s not just for us but for future generations as well. Honestly, it’s a habit thing. If we can get people used to diverting, it only increases and improves from there.”
Tickets to A CHaRM’ing Evening are $60 and include food plus two drink tickets. BMW raffle tickets are $100. For more information or to purchase event or raffle tickets, visit www.livethrive.org.