Slideshow and Story By Shawn Personke
It’s May and that means spring cleaning. And thanks to a county-wide partnership, area residents were able empty garages, basements, and closets last Saturday at the annual Washtenaw County Clean-Up Day.
Western Washtenaw Recycling Authority was a major player in the project, helping to coordinate the collection of old appliances, tires, glass, electronics, paint, scrap metal, and other recyclables.
Trucks, carts, bins, and manpower from Detroit-based US Ecology were on hand to handle oil, paint, and other household hazardous materials, and local metal scrap companies collected a potpourri of copper, brass, aluminum, stainless steel, as well as other metals with a resale market.
The Chelsea Athletic Boosters provided the manpower to keep traffic organized and flowing.
Chelsea and the WWRA have been participating in this spring event since 2008. It’s been held at the fairgrounds, the City of Chelsea’s public works compound, as well as onsite at the city’s Solid Waste Department on Werkner Road.
Jason Maciejewski, WWRA board chair, said that annual clean-up day is a great opportunity to dispose of paint, scrap metal, electronics and other materials that can’t go into curbside garbage cans.
“Making sure these materials get into the recycling stream saves it from going into a landfill and insures proper disposal of hazardous household materials,” he said.
Marc Williams, WWRA manager, said that people are just thrilled to have this opportunity. “They save up stuff all year and haul it over here.”
Judging by the turnout – vehicles were backed up on Freer Road past Trinkle Road waiting to enter and unload before the 9 a.m. opening – the event is a major success. They were expecting over 1,000 vehicles this year.
Although there was no charge for county residents, a donation of $10 was encouraged, especially when the donor’s brought multiple items, such as televisions, refrigerators, and/or tires.
The Chelsea Athletic Boosters used the scrap metal drive as one of their primary fundraisers. Board president Gretchen Steele said they raise somewhere between $3,000 and $6,000 each year.
Williams said that 2017 figures will be available later this summer, but they expect to match 2014 numbers, which included 33,000 pounds of electronics, 907 tires, 87 Freon appliances, and close to 40,000 pounds of hazardous household waste.
“The residents of western Washtenaw County have been dedicated to recycling for decades,” said Maciejewski. “We have a strong participation rate at bin site collection and curbside collection. There are always dozens and dozens of people who comment to me at clean-up day how happy they are to dispose of these items properly.”
For more information about the WWRA, visit www.wwrarecycles.org.