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Reggie the Recycling Racoon goes through the Looking Glass for glass

Courtesy photo. Reggie the Recycling Racoon.
Courtesy photo. Reggie the Recycling Racoon.

(Chelsea Update would like to thank Frank Hammer and the Western Washtenaw Recycling Authority (WWRA) for the information in this column.)

Reggie remembers how, in Alice in Wonderland (also known as Through the Looking Glass), Alice found herself in a place where up was down, yes meant no, and cats faded from view even as you watched.

Sometimes, Reggie feels the same way, when it comes to recycling!

Last week, he announced that WWRA can no longer accept glass because of the disappearing marketplace for buying it. But like the Cheshire cat in Wonderland, the marketplace disappearing doesn’t mean the glass disappears, and therein lies the problem.

It cost $40,000 last year for WWRA to manage the disposal of it. This is a big portion, and getting bigger, of WWRA’s operations budget. Homeowners can do this for next to no cost, and save the taxpayer’s money.

WWRA’s operating money comes from a special assessment for operations that is included in the winter property tax bill. That makes it a kind of tax, but it is generated from what is already being collected in the city and participating townships. Thus, spending it wisely is especially important. If WWRA goes away, the money doesn’t revert to the property owner, it simply gets spent in another way.

In many cases, that would likely be on increased pickup of ugly roadside dumping, landfill transport, and the like. Like the Queen of Hearts, solid waste is always there, the question is how to deal with it. WWRA tries to collectively provide, through recapture, resale of materials, and economies of scale, the most efficient way to take care of all the non-disappearing solid waste.

ALICE-IMAGEWhew! Reggie wonders if you are upside down, yet. If so, Reggie has news that can set you right-side up.

All recycling and trash agencies in Washtenaw County have been meeting regularly for about six months, and will continue to meet, to find new answers for the common solid waste challenges. WWRA is actively participating on this committee.

One of the big agenda items is improving glass recycling. The best ideas for this will take planning and some start-up funding, but could be active within the next two years. Meanwhile, WWRA’s operations director continues to seek out interim options, and Reggie is ready to let everyone know, if one is found.

Reggie’s Royal Recycling Review: Break the glass habit—toss it in the trash (until Reggie tells you otherwise.)

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