Archive for the ‘Recycling’ Category

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.)

by jhwygirl

This week’s schedule for the House is here, and for the Senate is here.

Rep. Sue Dickenson, of Great Falls, has two bills associated with recycling in the Natural Resources Committee – HB21 and HB35.

Missoula’s HD-92 Rep. Robin Hamilton has his HB62 set for hearing – it will require mandatory safety and education course for all trappers. How could anyone think that is a bad thing? But you know there will be lobbyists there try and kill it. That is the the House’s Fish Wildlife & Parks Committee.

Also in the FWP Committee is 4&20’s favorite Rep. JP Pomnichowski’s (Bozeman) HB63, that will allow commercial fur bearer licenses to be revoked under certain circumstances for violations of law.

Rep. Arlene Becker, of Billings has HB151 set for hearing in the House Business & Labor. It will revise breast reconstruction mandates so that they will be subject to coverage in any policy within the state – and be in compliance with federal mandates. Let’s see how our overwhelmingly male legislator decides on that one. Sometimes you’ll find that bureaucrat-types, despite knowing that not fixing something like this puts the state in legal jeopardy, have a “let ’em sue us” mentality.

That was only a brief run-down of this week’s House hearings. Be sure to check for the whole schedule for this week. Note that it will default to House hearings – you have to click on Senate to switch to theirs.

I’ll try and hit the Senate hearings – there are a number of ’em – tomorrow.

For information on any number of ways to contact your legislator or any legislator, click here.

For information on what legislators are on what committees, check below:
House Committee membership
Senate Committee membership
Joint Committee membership

In addition, you can stay involved and informed by watching TVMT, the Montana Legislature broadcasting network. You can watch that on (if I counted correctly) 42 channels around the state. Here in Missoula, it’s 67 – in Helena it’s 19.

There’s also live streaming, via Real Player – so you can listen at your computer. Eventually, those are archived (usually within a week or so.) If my memory is serving me well, the Real Player links are off of this page

by Pete Talbot

I enjoy the occasional beer or glass of wine. Therefore, my garbage or garage is full of bottles, plus a few pickle and mayonnaise jars.

What to do with all this glass? I wrote about the glass dilemma before and commended Bozeman for recycling the stuff. Some comments to that post had the audacity to challenge my statement about Bozeman’s recycling. So I did a little research and, lo and behold, those comments were essentially correct. Bozeman does collect and crush its glass, but then it just mixes it with dirt and uses it for cover — mostly at its landfill — which isn’t recycling at its best.

My source for the glass situation in Bozeman was Steve Johnson, supervisor of solid waste management for that city. Steve has 30 years experience in the solid waste biz, starting in Vermont, then Texas and now Montana.

He said that recycling glass in Montana was a “labor of love” and an “exercise of the heart.”

It would take a quarter-of-a-million dollars to get the commercial-grade crusher, loader and storage to have a marketable glass recycling operation.

Then there’s getting the glass to the right market. The closest place that will turn crushed glass back into bottles is Coors in Colorado. It costs $25 a ton just to ship it there and that’s after the cost of crushing. This doesn’t make economic sense. Coors can get sand down there in Colorado for a lot cheaper.

Another point that Johnson brings up is supply. If the money is spent for the high-end crusher and peripherals, and there’s an economically feasible market for the stuff, will there be enough glass in Montana to supply the crusher’s needs? Keep in mind that we’re a state with fewer than one million people spread out over 147,046 square miles.

There is a crusher in Montana run by Headwaters Cooperative Recycling. It’s located in Helena but travels around the state and grinds up glass at a few different locations. It was just in Missoula for Earth Day festivities. Unfortunately, by the time I got down to Caras Park with my load of glass, the Headwaters folks already had more glass than they could deal with and I was sent home with my Datsun still full of bottles and jars.

I’m also told that the Headwaters crusher turns out a pretty course variety of aggregate, good for landscaping and some specialized concrete products, but not much else. (My calls to Headwaters for details went unanswered. Maybe those folks can respond in the comments section if I’m missing something here.)

So, at this point in Montana, it’s kind of a depressing scenario for glass recycling. There just isn’t the political will or economic stimulus to get the job done.

Maybe someday there will be an enterprise in this state that will turn our old glass into new bottles and jars. At least, maybe, it will be feasible to turn old glass into industrial-grade sand for concrete. Or maybe we’ll eventually pass a bottle bill, so it makes it economically rewarding to return those bottles. (Montana has attempted two bottle bill initiatives that would require a deposit on all bottles. Both went down to defeat after massive anti-bottle bill advertising campaigns launched by the beverage industry.)

Until there’s a better system for dealing with our glass, I guess I’ll be buying cans and refilling growlers. It’ll be tough drinking wine out of a box, though.

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