Washtenaw Gets New Option For Disposing Of Hazardous Waste

Washtenaw County residents stuck with hazardous materials don’t have to wait for one particular Saturday to drop them off for the County to dispose of them correctly anymore. The HHW Center officially opened on October 3 and is located at 10843 Five Mile Road, near the Wayne County line.

Washtenaw County has collected 7.55 million pounds of hazardous waste since the 1990s according to Theo Eggermot, the Public Works Director at the Washtenaw County Water Resource Commissioner’s Office. That effort will be made much easier now that the County has its new building rather than just the old 705 North Zeeb Road location, which is still in operation.

 

Image Credit: Washtenaw County.
Photo from Washtenaw County.

“We were literally working out of a parking lot before, so it’s nice to have a covered building,” Eggermont said when Current magazine visited around Halloween.

The green and black building is located between a dirt road section of Five Mile and a great looming hill being built systemically by the rubbish company Green for Life as they add to the landfill that it buries. Every ten to twenty minutes, someone new pulls up with their trunk or bed of their pickup full of items that cannot be thrown out or recycled traditionally. Workers wearing plastic or rubber gloves, goggles and face masks puttered to and fro, sorting the materials into one of several bins inside to be taken to highly specialized locations elsewhere.

A full list of what items are and are not accepted for drop off can be found at the Washtenaw County website. Paints, mercury, pesticides and a large number of chemicals are accepted, amongst other things; but there are a whole list of things that– tires, freon appliances, and asbestos – are not. All but the smallest E waste, like cell phones and tablets, are generally not accepted.

The Zeeb Road location is only available for Washtenaw County residents. This new location is open to citizens living in Washtenaw County, the City of Northville, and Northville Township, but not corporations, governments nor non-profits.

“I usually drop things off at the Zeeb Road Saturday morning thing, but it wasn’t available in the weekends I had available so I found this,” Mike Lachance, a resident dropping off materials to the county, said as his rescue dog Biscuit moved back and forth on the arm rest, excitedly curious about what was happening. When asked to compare the new facility to Zeeb Road, Lachance said “it’s very convenient to have the appointment. It is a little further for me, but other than that, it’s great.”

What was happening was that workers wearing plastic or rubber gloves, goggles and face masks, puttered to and fro. Once inside, they began sorting the materials into one of several bins inside to be taken to highly specialized locations elsewhere.

 

Staff sorting delivered hazardous waste. Photo by Drew Saunders.
Staff sorting delivered hazardous waste. Photo by Drew Saunders.

None of the products are disposed of on the location. Republic Services takes it off site to be made inert and safely put into the landfill, or recycled into other products. Republic diverted comment to Washtenaw County when reached for comment.

The center is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Anyone interested in dropping off their waste will have to make an appointment before arrival.  Up to 20 reservation spots are available per day.

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