Check out the Drummond dump

by Pete Talbot

In my constant quest to recycle the occasional wine and beer bottle. or mayonnaise and pickle jar that ends up in my trash, I discovered glass recycling bins in Drummond, of all places.

The bins are at the Drummond dump on the east side of town. If you’re coming from Missoula, take the first and only exit off I-90 (headed east), go through the urban core, and you’ll find the dump about a half mile up the road after going under I-90.

You don’t have to sort the glass by color but they ask that it be clean so maybe give those jars and bottles a quick rinse before putting them in your bin at home.

I don’t have much detail here. Is this some sort of grant? Why Drummond and not Missoula? Who’s responsible for the bins? I saw some Allied Waste dumpsters around but since AW doesn’t recycle glass anywhere else in Montana, that I know of, what’s the deal? Inquiring minds want to know.

Since the glass isn’t sorted by color, I assume it goes into a crusher somewhere to be turned into aggregate or sand. This isn’t the best practice for recycling glass — turning the old glass into new glass, or reusing the bottles and jars would be better — but this is an improvement over sending the stuff to the landfill. Plus, it should reduce the need to dig more holes in the ground to produce sand and gravel.

(Remember those attempts at passing a bottle bill in Montana that were thwarted by the beverage industry?)

At this point, I wouldn’t worry about overflowing the small town’s bins. The three locals I asked directions from in order to find the glass recycling “center” in the metropolis of Drummond didn’t even know the town was recycling glass.

“You might try the dump,” one old-timer said.

Making a special trip to Drummond just to recycle your glass probably won’t reduce your carbon footprint. But if you’re heading east for pleasure or business, load up some glass and check out the Drummond dump.

(UPDATE: For those who don’t make it to the comment section, word has it that there are glass recycling bins in P-burg, Butte and Dillon. Time for Missoula to get on the ball.)

  1. Freeranger

    There is glass recycling at the grocery in Philipsburg as well. Lots more to do in P-burg, than Drummond. Though, there’s a mighty fine burger, fries and shake at the Tasty Freeze in Drummond.

    • petetalbot

      Thanks, Freeranger. Granite County seems to have something going on.

      Hey, folks, please keep any additional recycling info coming in.

      • ochenski

        Pete –

        You might want to contact Kathy Sweet in Philipsburg. She’s an old friend who, I believe, put together and takes part in a tri-county recycling effort. Not sure what her phone number might be, but it’s probably listed so you can look it up if you’re interested in how and why rural communities can recycle glass and Mizoo won’t.

  2. bonkrood

    We have glass recycling bins in a number of locations all around Butte. It’s all for clean, unsorted glass. I feel better taking my glass there than throwing it out.

  3. petetalbot

    Thanks, bonkrood. Are there more glass recycling stories out there?

  4. elkamino

    dillon’s glass, a friend there tells me, goes to bozeman. no idea who funds it.

  5. goof houlihan

    nobody recycles glass in mt that i know of at best it is hauled somewhere ground into very expensive and carbon intensive sand that most roadbuilders wont accept because of all the artifacts in it

    might be a little artists’ glass here and there

    good news is that glass is inert and therefore not polluting in a landfill

    • petetalbot


      Please explain to me how ground glass is very expensive and carbon intensive, unless, as you say, it’s hauled great distances to a crusher and then to the job site. It’s not that I’m doubting your comment or anything, but why would these little burgs (and Butte) have recycling bins if the product wasn’t going to get used or they were going to lose money on the deal?

      • ochenski

        Actually, Goof is probably correct if you did the whole carbon footprint thing for crushing glass for a sand substitute vs. running a gravel pit. Plus, unless the crushers are kept wet, they generate a bunch of dust that is, of course, ground glass…not the best stuff to inhale. Here in Helena they used a bunch of it to “pave” paths in a YMCA community garden, but again, considering the work it took to get the glass, haul in the crusher, run the crusher, and move the glass, probably would have used less energy to simply dump in some pea gravel.

  6. goof houlihan


    tipping fees at landfills are used to subsidize the losses

  7. goof houlihan

    buy wine in boxes and beer in cans

    reduce reuse recycle says nothing about building a mountain of glass like cheyenne wyo (today’s chronicle) or waste money and energy and release carbon to make containers into a commodity

  8. elkamino

    seems it’d be worthwhile at least to allow mslians to sort their glass and then landfill it, seperate and sorted. then if a reasonable use ever arises bfi could sell it or at least allow it to be mined.

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