Recycling program recognized for unique efforts in western Washtenaw County

On March 28, the Western Washtenaw Recycling Authority (WWRA) was awarded the Washtenaw County Environmental Excellence Award for Waste Reduction and Recycling.


The Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner’s Office presented the award to WWRA for its efforts in providing alternative ways to handle waste and promote recycling. Other award winners this year included the Ann Arbor YMCA, O & W, Inc., and Thurston Nature Center.


WWRA is a nonprofit public recycling program serving the city of Chelsea and Dexter, Lyndon, Manchester, and Lima townships.


"We’re proud and it’s wonderful to be recognized. We put in a lot of hard work and hours that go unseen," says Marc Williams, WWRA’s facility manager.


Located in Chelsea, the WWRA has 11 full-time employees. Their efforts divert 7,000 tons of recyclables from landfills annually. WWRA also recently began accepting glass for recycling at its drop-off sites, located throughout the communities it serves.


WWRA is also planning new service improvements. The authority plans to add an automated collection truck to expand curbside pickup, and is in the process of securing equipment to sort plastics more effectively.


"The truck will allow us to pick up additional recyclables curbside and a robot that sorts plastic will allow us to increase productivity," says Williams.


An improved plastics sorting process will enable WWRA to successfully recycle more plastic and send less of it to a landfill, an issue that's especially important to Williams. He says his call to action this Earth Day is for people to recycle more plastic bottles, which can take up to 1,000 years to decompose in a landfill.


Jaishree Drepaul-Bruder is a freelance writer and editor currently based in Ann Arbor. She can be reached at

Photo courtesy of WWRA.