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Reggie the Recycling Raccoon’s Royal Review: Trash Collection and Recycling are Two Very Different Animals

Reggie the Recycling Raccoon.
Reggie the Recycling Raccoon.

(Chelsea Update would like to thank Frank Hammer for the information in this story.)

Publisher’s message: Based on all the suggestions sent to me about WWRA, here is the first in a series of Sunday columns that I hope will answer reader questions.

There seems to be some confusion about the mechanics of Chelsea’s solid waste (trash) collection and Western Washtenaw Recycling Authority’s recycling program, so hopefully, this first column will clear up any confusion.

Trash pick-up in the City of Chelsea is a city service and performed by city employees. Residents buy trash bags, fill them and put them near the curb on Tuesdays and the bags are picked up by city employees.

If residents have large trash items, such as construction materials, old couches and chairs, broken bikes, metals or used tires, people can take them to the transfer station at 8027 Werkner Road and pay a fee to dispose of them.

Residents must pay a fee because the city has to pay to get rid of these items just as they do household garbage. If you have questions about solid waste services or the cost of disposal, please call 475-7955 or check here and here on page 2.

Western Washtenaw Recycling Authority (WWRA) is a separate entity from the city and is comprised of five member municipalities. Each municipality chooses a member to represent it on a board of directors and the recycling operation is run as a business.

Close-up of Reggie the Recycling Racoon's head.
Close-up of Reggie the Recycling Racoon’s head.

Recyclable materials are placed in a bin and picked up curbside by WWRA employees on Wednesday and Thursday. People can also take recyclable materials to the public recycling bins located in the member municipalities, and those materials are picked up by WWRA employees.

The curbside pick-up material and items in the public bins are taken to the WWRA facility on Werkner Road, sorted, and sold to pay for the operations of recycling process. If there is no market for a specific material, WWRA doesn’t accept it. And, because recycling efforts do not yet pay for themselves, there is an assessment that residents and businesses in member municipalities pay to maintain operations.

When trash is included in recycling containers, WWRA must pay to have it disposed of, which then costs the member municipalities money.

So, please keep in mind, trash is trash, but recyclable items are a product with a value. Please don’t combine the two.

(Next week, we’ll look at plastic and explain what’s acceptable for recycling, what’s not and why.)

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2 thoughts on “Reggie the Recycling Raccoon’s Royal Review: Trash Collection and Recycling are Two Very Different Animals”

  1. I love the picture of the Raccoon! Seriously though, thanks for taking the lead for us all to understand this better.

  2. The typical “broken bicycle” is probably 95% recyclable steel. WWRA may not accept it, but putting it in the trash isn’t the best solution, or even a good one. Same for other “metals” mentioned by Mr. Hammer. There are scrapyards that will pay you for those things rather than you paying for them to go into the landfill.

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