By Lisa Carolin
Western Washtenaw Recycling Authority (WWRA) has found a market for recycled glass, so you can now recycle it again.
But, there is a change. When recycling glass please take it to one of the WWRA bin sites, and it should be placed in the compartments specifically marked for glass. This includes Chelsea residents.
“It’s important that people use the glass-only bins because that sorts it for us,” said Jason Maciejewski, WWRA board chairman. “Glass that gets mixed with everything else isn’t clean enough for the vendor to buy so it’s treated as trash.”
There is a clearly marked glass-only bin at the WWRA facility located at 8025 Werkner Road, Macielewski said.
The market for glass went away three years ago, but WWRA’s facility manager, Marc Williams, identified a vendor that will take the glass and use it in a recycling process.
“For us, that means glass is not going to a landfill, which is what we’ve been doing because no one would take it, and we have nowhere to store it,” said Macielewski.
“We hope to develop an avenue for the glass in the single stream system and don’t want to discourage people from doing that,” he said.
Construction of a single stream facility occurred in 2012 and was installed that summer at Werkner Road.
“It’s much more efficient and requires less labor to do sorting because it presorts a lot,” said Macielewski. “It means you don’t have to sort everything yourselves, which means bins can hold more material because it’s all in one space rather than in compartments.”
He said that in 2009, WWRA processed 3,400 tons of recycling a year, and now that number has more than doubled to 7,000 tons a year.
“The credit goes to the people who work at the facility because they do the day to day work,” said Macielewski.
Current members of WWRA are the City of Chelsea, Lima Township, Lyndon Township, Dexter Township, Manchester Township, and Bridgewater Township is an associate member.
“All members except Bridgewater Township pay a bond assessment, which goes toward the single stream system,” said Macielewski. “In exchange, they own the assets of the authority.”
Residents of the city and townships that belong to WWRA pay an annual rate of $26 as part of their winter tax bill.
“We’re fortunate that the cost is only a fraction of what it costs to operate the facility,” said Macielewski, who adds that the recycling market is at a historic low in terms of prices. “My personal hope is that as time goes on, we can increase recycling rates, that prices rebound, and that we can reduce the $26 rate.”
For a list of what can and can’t be recycled, go to http://www.wwrarecycles.org/what-can-i-recycle/.
WWRA is looking to hire a part-time employee to serve as an educational outreach specialist who can go to local venues and do presentations about recycling. The job description can be found at http://www.wwrarecycles.org/job-opening-education-outreach-specialist/.