Building Bigger

Recycle Rural Montana

Teach Montanans to reduce waste, offer statewide recycling resources, and support recycling efforts.

Most of rural Montana (MT) communities have an unmet need to recycle because they lack the ability to collect and take recyclables to places with recycling opportunities. According to the MT Dept. of Environmental Quality (DEQ), “Recycling in MT comes with barriers that most other states do not have….due to low population density and large geographical area…Currently, MT recycles about 19% of the waste generated here.” The national average is 32%. Currently, recycling opportunities are available in the bigger cities of MT such as Billings, Great Falls, Butte, Havre, Missoula, and Kalispell as well as a few medium sized cities. Rural communities that are not within the reach of the bigger city recycling companies do not have the equipment/recycling trailers to transport recyclables to the recycling companies. Materials in rural MT that could otherwise be recycled instead are buried in landfills that are quickly filling up, or burned, causing detrimental effects to air quality.

With funding from this grant, Recycle Montana will purchase a recycling trailer for use by rural communities statewide to further the cause of recycling in MT and grow recycling opportunities. We understand the needs of MT; we are continually contacted by rural people and organizations that request help to advance recycling in their community. Based on the expertise of waste mgmt. specialists on our Board, a Protainer tandem axle with 10 one-yard bins and 4 cardboard slots ($25,000) is perfect for a rural one-day recycling event. Recycle Montana, whose office is centrally located within MT, proposes to deliver the recycling trailer to a community for a pre-planned recycling event. The full trailer then would be taken to a recycle center in the closest recycling city, emptied and taken to the next event or returned to the centrally located home base in Winifred, MT. The proposal is sustainable as we have funding for travel, maintenance, vehicles and staff to complete the process.

The award of this grant to Recycle Montana will impact not just one community in MT, but rather hundreds of rural MT communities. These rural communities have never had access to any program such as this before; the benefits from having access to a recycling trailer to enable recycling/recycling events is far reaching. By recycling, rural MTs will help keep the state’s environment cleaner, keep materials out of the landfills extending the life of landfills and decrease the amount of materials that are burned which decreases air pollutants. Additionally, providing recycling will help younger generations understand the importance of it, and teach them recycling habits that they will practice as they grow and eventually teach their own families. And recycling makes you feel good. We see that without recycling opportunities, recycling apathy thrives. This grant will allow us to provide the tool for recycling and potentially grow and develop rural recycling in MT for years to come.