By Shawn Personke
Western Washtenaw Recycling Authority (WWRA) will partner with the DART Container Corporation and community volunteers to host a #6 foam recycling weekend on June 4, 5, and 6, 2021.
DART will deliver a trailer to the WWRA Chelsea/Manchester Road bin site. Staff and volunteers will be onsite to help collect and sort items brought in by community members during collection hours.
Marc Williams, WWRA facility manager, is glad to be bringing this opportunity to the community.
“Western Washtenaw residents are great recyclers. People want to recycle as much as they can, so when this opportunity came along, we decided to see how we could make it happen.”
Chelsea residents Bill and Glenna Jo Christen are volunteering to help with the project. Over the past 2 years, the Christens have collected foam from friends, family and neighbors, stored it in their garage, and then delivered it to the DART facility in Mason.
“Glenna Jo and I are very happy to see the foam recycling process being shared with the Chelsea area community,” said Bill Christen.
If this collection goes well, the WWRA hopes to add more collection dates.
DART Container makes food and beverage packaging items and actively collects and promotes foam recycling opportunities throughout the country. After recycling #6 foam, DART sells it to “manufacturers of picture frames, interior molding, pens, rulers and foam packaging,” according to their website. Additionally, they recycle the paper scrap from their line of insulated cups, creating foodservice products made of recycled, recyclable and compostable or renewable materials.
Community recyclers need to know that only EPS #6 foam is acceptable. Examples of acceptable #6 include egg cartons, meat trays, some food take-out containers, medical coolers, and block furniture and electronic packaging.
Items not accepted are building insulation boards and packing peanuts. Packing peanuts can be taken to Recycle Ann Arbor on Ellsworth.
The Christens and other WWRA volunteers will be onsite during collection hours to answer questions and help review foam items. Hours for the event are Friday, June 4, 1 to 7 p.m.; Saturday, June 5, 9 a.m. to 5p.m.; Sunday, June 6, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Christen likes to remind people of what Annie Leonard, executive director of Greenpeace, said. “There is no such thing as ‘away.’ When we throw anything away it must go somewhere.”
“We have seen the enthusiasm grow among the people who faithfully bring their foam to us for recycling,” said Christian. “We feel that with the support of Dart and WWRA more foam products can ‘go somewhere’ that will do less harm to our community.”
Western Washtenaw Recycling Authority (WWRA) is a not-for-profit partnership of and subsidized by five municipalities (Townships of Dexter, Lyndon, Manchester and Lima, and the City of Chelsea) working together to find alternative ways to handle waste and promote reducing, reusing, and recycling. The townships are served by convenient drop-off centers while the City of Chelsea has weekly curbside recycling pick up. For more information, visit www.WWRArecycles.org.