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WWRA: Trash mixed with recycling is becoming a problem

On average, the WWRA is emptying the bins four-to-five times per day.

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

I was recently out at the Western Washtenaw Recycling Authority (WWRA) site on Werkner Road and I learned some surprising things.

Trash has become a huge problem since single-stream recycling has started. The amount of trash making its way to the site has increased and it is wasting money. On average, the WWRA is emptying the bins four-to-five times per day.

That equals about 50 square yards of trash per week. Since the WWRA is not a waste management facility, we are required to sort it, manage it, load it, ship it, and dump it at the transfer station. This wastes approximately $2,000 a month on costs and labor.

Do not recycle cat food bags like these.

Some of the trash is from honest mistakes. I, personally, have always thought that animal food bags were acceptable and I have included them in my recycling. I learned that this is not the case due to plastic linings both inside (to keep the food fresher) and outside (the printed label) the paper bag. Unless these plastics are removed by the homeowner completely, the bags cannot be recycled.

Another component of the increase in trash seems to be from people just not wanting to put good things into the trash. I saw so many things such as table cloths, pillows, stuffed animals, and clothing, that I felt were put there in the hopes that someone, somewhere, could use them.

There is a clothing drop-off bin at the recycling center on Werkner Road and another one in the parking lot behind the main branch of the Chelsea State Bank. There is also a Goodwill drop-off store on South Main Street near the UPS office. They accept many of the useful, household items we cannot.

So please, take your slightly used treasures there so they can be gifted on to those who need and can appreciate them.

The final category of trash is just plain trash. Food refuse, cigarettes and ash, oils, Styrofoam, foils, oily food-incrusted paper plates, motor oil containers, and plastic bags of any kind cannot be accepted. Apart from the items which cannot be recycled, trash often contaminates other, recyclable items like paper and cardboard and it cannot be separated out; which causes more trash.

Please help us and make recycling as profitable for our community as possible. For a complete list of items that can be recycled, please check out our link at the City of Chelsea website or email me, Laura Scriven, at [email protected]

Trash included in recycling bins.
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3 thoughts on “WWRA: Trash mixed with recycling is becoming a problem”

  1. Great article! I am sure the amount of trash will improve once we all get used to the new recycling options. Can you please clarify whether pizza boxes can be recycled, and if so, what would the preparation be? Maybe our local pizza stores could also put up information to clarify at the take out windows… I am learning that the recycling options are way different from when recycling first started. Also, Faith in Action also accepts used clothing and many household items, including paper bags and many housewares.
    -Mary Beth Lampe

  2. Followed the link to the city website. Where is the complete list? (Looked under refuse and entered a specific search with the word recycle.)

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