CHaRM 1 Alex Wan Peggy Whitlow-Ratcliffe Nicholas Niespodziani

From left, District 6 Atlanta City Councilman Alex Wan, Live Thrive Atlanta Executive Director Peggy Whitlow-Ratcliffe and board president Nicholas Niespodziani at the April 2015 opening of the Center for Hard-to-Recycle Materials’ first location.

In response to the city of Atlanta last month approving new, higher solid waste fees, the leader of the Center for Hard-to-Recycle Materials (CHaRM) is setting the record straight regarding the city’s fees for services it provides.

At its meeting June 3 at City Hall downtown, the Atlanta City Council voted to approve amending the solid waste fee schedule ordinance based on how it charges certain residential categories.

According to city documents, residents living in multifamily homes (condos and townhouses) would have to pay per unit for bulk collection trips (a $58 bulk rubbish fee and a $4 CHaRM fee) annually, but there will be no CHaRM costs, said Peggy Whitlow Ratcliffe, executive director of Live Thrive, the nonprofit that runs CHaRM.

“CHaRM does not require an access fee,” she said. “Despite information that has been erroneously circulated about the imposition of a new access fee for our operations, Live Thrive remains steadfastly committed to providing this important recycling service to City of Atlanta residents at no access charge.”

Ratcliffe also said the city of Atlanta’s legislation 19-O-1297 as adopted does not include any provisions for an access fee for city of Atlanta residents to use CHaRM facilities.

CHaRM opened in 2015 to give Atlanta residents a place to recycle household chemicals and other hard-to-recycle materials. It is located at 1110 Hill St. in southeast Atlanta and leased from the Atlanta Housing Authority, a nonprofit funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It also opened a monthly popup location at Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Buckhead June 29 as it continues to search for a permanent site in Buckhead as part of its mission to eventually have four locations in each of the city’s four quadrants.

According to a news release, since its opening, CHaRM has not charged an access fee to the facility and accepts materials free of charge with the exception of nominal fees to process certain items. Such items include paint/chemicals (first 50 pounds are free; each additional pound is 25 cents and TVs are $15). Instead, operations are funded by grants, philanthropic donations, sponsorships and an annual fundraiser.

Ratcliffe said one of the main reasons for the facility is to serve the community.

“Live Thrive is dedicated to improving awareness of the importance of proper waste disposal,” she said.

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