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New hard-to-recycle facility coming to Decatur early 2023

Live Thrive plans to open its second hard-to-recycle facility early next year. (Photo by Kelly Jordan.)

By Hannah E. Jones

On Monday, Nov. 14, the Decatur community got one step closer to its new facility for hard-to-recycle materials. Live Thrive broke ground on its second facility this week, the same day as the original location eight years earlier. 

The Atlanta-based nonprofit runs the Center for Hard to Recycle Materials (CHaRM), the city’s only permanent drop-off facility. Live Thrive accepts the materials most folks don’t know what to do with — like tires, mattresses and electronics. 

Situated at 1225 Columbia Dr., the second facility will have similar offerings to the Hill St. location, supplying vital recycling services for hard-to-recycle household materials and odd items. The team expects to open the new space in early 2023. 

Peggy Ratcliffe with DeKalb Commissioner Larry Johnson, who was instrumental in securing the new site. (Photo by Kelly Jordan.)

Local leaders — including Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett and DeKalb Commissioners Larry Johnson and Lorraine Cochran-Johnson — joined to celebrate the Decatur debut. 

“We’re thrilled to share this facility with [the Decatur community,]” Ratcliffe told SaportaReport at the groundbreaking event. “They’re so supportive at our current site and this will make it a little more convenient for them, and hopefully other communities around the area.”

Ratcliffe started Live Thrive in 2009 because she saw a gap in Atlanta’s recycling and waste operations. Today, the City of Atlanta still doesn’t offer its own service, but refers residents to CHaRM for disposal of hazardous waste, like paint and pesticides. In 2021, CHaRM processed over 13 million pounds of materials. 

Live Thrive works with local nonprofits and companies to reuse or recycle 96 percent of items brought to the facility. (Courtesy of Live Thrive.)

With the nonprofit’s second location, Ratcliffe hopes to expand Live Thrive’s impact, while making eco-friendly habits as easy and attainable for folks as possible. Now, the next step is preparing the property, followed by delivering the necessary equipment. 

Once the facility is up and running next year, Ratcliffe plans to convert five acres in the eight-acre plot into a community eco complex with gardens, a fruit forest and bees.

“[The eco complex] is definitely my dream because it allows us to have a learning garden for kids to learn about waste, how it affects the soil and the food they eat,“ she said in an October interview with SaportaReport. “The success of getting people to recycle and become involved [relies] on understanding what causes climate change and what we can do to prevent it going further.”

A rendering of the second site. (Courtesy of Live Thrive.)

With the groundbreaking now in the rearview mirror, the Live Thrive team is already looking ahead to their Earth Day celebration on Saturday, April 22. The event will focus on teaching local kids about the environment and showcase green habits through demonstrations with bees, goats, gardens and a solar car.

Until then, folks can visit the original CHaRM location at 1110 Hill St. NE and look for updates from Live Thrive about the upcoming opening of the Decatur site.

See below for snapshots of the groundbreaking ceremony. Photos by Kelly Jordan.

Hannah E. Jones

Hannah Jones is an Atlanta native and Georgia State University graduate, with a major in journalism and minor in public policy. She began studying journalism in high school and has since served as a reporter and editor for two newspapers. Hannah managed the Arts and Living section of The Signal, Georgia State’s independent award-winning newspaper. She has a passion for environmental issues, urban life and telling a good story. Hannah can be reached at hannah@saportareport.com.


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