“Live with the future in mind,” is the advice that Peggy Whitlow Ratcliff shared when asked how people can easily start doing more for our environment. Peggy is the Founder & Executive Director of Live Thrive, an Atlanta-based nonprofit organization that runs a drop-off facility that diverts trash and materials from the Metro-Atlanta landfills and water systems called The Center for Hard to Recycle Materials (CHaRM). She advises everyone to start making small changes in their lifestyle towards a healthier tomorrow. Her advice reflects the mission of Live Thrive, which is to empower people, organizations, communities, and businesses to make positive, healthy, and sustainable changes to the environment.
Peggy’s inspiration for founding Live Thrive was derived from her experience sorting through her parents’ home after they passed. She realized that there are countless items in our homes that can be reused or require the need to be disposed of in a safe manner. She created the website Living Green Pages as a local resource to improve personal and environmental health. To promote the website, Peggy organized several recycle collections for non-curbside items and learned that many Atlanta residents were pursuing opportunities to preserve their health and community environment. The success of the recycle collections led her to organize the first household hazardous waste collection for the city of Atlanta in 2010, and then, to launch Live Thrive.
Epsten Group had the honor of taking a paid workday to volunteer at the CHaRM facility to learn how it functions and assist with sorting those hard to recycle items. Currently the facility utilizes one volunteer per shift, but the need is apparent for more dedicated helpers. In 2021 the center recycled 19.4 tons of Styrofoam, 223 tons of chemicals, 218 tons of glass, 837 mattresses and much more for a total of 1, 655.55 tons of recycled materials. Our enthusiastic team was thrilled to be a part of the passionate staff and volunteers who help CHaRM run efficiently.
At Epsten Group we practice what we preach as a multi-disciplinary firm that combines sustainable design, consulting, and commissioning services. Similar to Live Thrive, we are working hard to provide sustainable solutions for our partners, clients, and staff. Our headquarters (HQ) was designed for efficiency, sustainability, and occupant health. Our office recycles, composts, and utilizes products with a Living Product Certification and a Declare label for construction. In addition, our designers repurposed 58% of our furniture and materials from our previous office throughout our HQ. These actions, in addition to the encouragement from leadership to continue to educate ourselves on the ever-evolving sustainability trends and technologies, volunteer our time to support our local community, and to be mindful of our mental and physical health, empower us to make positive, healthy, and sustainable changes in our world.
If you are interested in volunteering at CHaRM or scheduling a corporate volunteer day, please check out the volunteer sign up page.
If you are interested in touring our office, please contact Beth Ament (firstname.lastname@example.org)