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Recycle this 

Detroit’s recycling center is a special place. A city newcomer can call 15 city departments and subdivisions and be told again and again that Detroit does not have a recycling center.

But it does. Located at 2263 E. Ferry, near Chene Street and two blocks from the trash incinerator, Detroit’s recycling center is housed in an old fruit and vegetable market. Cars pull up to deposit cans, clear and brown glass, newspapers and cardboard stacked in messy piles.

Two women with babushkas run the place with concentrated efficiency. Some days, you can see them argue while cars pull away, as the older woman waves an empty milk jug while yelling at the younger woman.

Greater Detroit Resource Recovery Facility (the incinerator) will spend $2.2 million to operate the center this year.

Urban legend says the recycling heads straight for the incinerator, but incinerator director Michael Brinker and the drop-off center workers say it goes to Taylor Recycling. Brinker would not say how much is recycled at the center.

According to a 1999 report by the incinerator, Detroit recycles 7 percent of its waste, composts less than 1 percent, landfills 22 percent and incinerates 70 percent.

So for those who wish to separate recycling before it hits the trash furnaces, or to catch a glimpse of a truly Detroit scene, the recycling center is open 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays.

For information on free drop-off of household hazardous waste, call City Environmental at 923-0080 or the hotline at 923-2240. It accepts fuel oil, used motor oil, oil-based paint, turpentine, solvents, hydraulic fluids, pesticides, herbicides, asbestos, batteries and aerosol cans. The incinerator accepts additional products for disposal, including rat poison, expired medicine, fungicides and fluorescent light bulbs. For information, call 923-2240 or 876-0146.

For further questions, call Cindra James at 734-326-3936.

Read related stories in this edition: Detroit's incinerator facility burns trash and money as nearby residents cough and steam; and the incinerator facility's emission statement for the year 2000.

Lisa M. Collins is a Metro Times staff writer. Send comments to

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October 14, 2020

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