Q: Do you take furniture, refrigerators, construction waste, tires, or other nonrecyclable items? Do you sell soil or take compost? Is the Solid Waste Transfer Station the same as the WWRA?
A: The WWRA is a partnership of five municipalities working together to find alternative ways to handle waste and promote recycling. The WWRA does not accept furniture, refrigerators, construction waste, tires, or other nonrecyclable items. The WWRA only accepts recyclable materials, and we do not sell any items.
We are often confused with The Solid Waste Transfer Station, whose information can be found here. Although the WWRA shares an address with them, The Solid Waste Transfer Station is a separate entity from the WWRA and has different hours, buildings, employees, and purposes. The WWRA only accepts recyclable items. The Solid Waste Transfer Station takes items and offers products for a small fee. Visit https://www.city-chelsea.org/Refuse for more information.
Receipts are often made with thermal paper, coated in a chemical that cannot be separated during the recycling process. Receipts of this type are not recyclable at the WWRA.
A quick tip to spot thermal paper versus 100% paper receipts is to scratch the receipt. If a black line appears, it is thermal paper and therefore not recyclable. You can also try heating the paper to see if a dark spot appears.
This method is not foolproof: please message us if you are unsure of a particular item. Try asking a business for a digital receipt or no receipt to reduce waste!
It is okay if glass breaks once dropped in the designated glass recycling bins at drop off locations. Glass is fragile and can pose a risk to safety if it’s not handled correctly, which is why glass should be recycled at designated drop off bins only and not in the City of Chelsea’s curbside bins.
Once glass has been processed at the WWRA, it is shipped to Strategic Material in Chicago. The WWRA ships 240 tons of glass per year: that’s more than what 19 school busses weigh! Strategic Material then uses it for fiberglass insulation, highway bead, sandblasting material, and some is remade into glass bottles.
The WWRA accepts plastic bottles #1-7 - such as milk jugs and detergent bottles, cottage cheese, yogurt, etc. that have been cleaned and flattened. Although most plastics that end up at our facility are recyclable, many recyclers accidentally place nonrecyclable items in our bins. Others may also participate in wishcycling, or placing items in our system in hopes they will be recycled even if the WWRA has said they cannot. Most wishcycling comes out of a place of uncertainty about accepted items. Please visit here for more information on what can and cannot be accepted, but don’t hesitate to message us on Facebook for help with specific items. Recyclable items are collected, sorted, and are not thrown away.
Nonrecyclable items are properly disposed of, but non recyclable contamination in our bins continues to be very low, thanks to the compliance of our community. This means that the vast majority of items in our bins are recyclable and are shipped off to vendors to be repurposed. Many of these vendors are local, including where plastics are shipped to: Clean Tech in Dundee, MI. Plastics are then repurposed into new bottles or clothing.
Many plastics are unmarked, meaning they don't have a recycling symbol and number, and still recyclable! Rigid plastics, for example, are often unmarked, including plastic buckets, soda crates, plastic pallets, coolers, drums, toys and playhouses, plastic flower pots, laundry baskets, empty garbage cans, and plastic pet containers. Some bottles may also be unmarked for a number of reasons- please reach out if you are unsure if a certain item is recyclable or not.