Ravalli County Recycling on Saturday, October 9 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m

By Paul Ploumis

The days are getting shorter, and the leaves are beginning to turn. Autumn is upon us and, for a couple of years now, this time of the seasonal cycle is also the time to recycle some things. It’s time to gather up all those beer and wine bottles, and all those glass food jars that you’ve been saving up in the garage and take them down to the Ravalli County Fairgrounds on Saturday, October 9 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and give them a new life instead of filling up the local landfill.  This will be the fourth glass recycling event that Ravalli County Recycling and Recycling Works MT have sponsored since they began in 2020. 

Janice Lee, President of Ravalli County Recycling, said that the amount of glass collected for recycling from the first three events combined came to a total of about 15,000 pounds. But glass is not the only thing being recycled. Cardboard and old laptop computers and computer towers will also be accepted. 

The cardboard recycling comes at a small cost, like the glass recycling. Unlike the glass recycling, which is only available at this special event, the cardboard recycling service is open for business every 2nd Saturday at the Fairgrounds. It also provides a pick-up service to commercial customers on a scheduled basis. 

Oreo’s Refining, a local e-cycling business, is accepting laptops and computer towers for free at the October 9th event, although ordinarily they also charge a slight fee.

Steve Curley bought the cardboard collection and transfer service business from Ravalli County Recycling when it shut down its transfer station a couple of years ago. Since then he has added another collection truck to the operation and says the business is doing well.

Lee said that the non-profit group was glad to turn the carboard enterprise over to Curley and see it continue. She said the same thing couldn’t be done for the glass recycling. She said they looked around for some way to continue the glass recycling in some fashion and came across Recycling Works MT, a curbside glass recycling business located in Missoula. (www.recyclingworksmt.com)

Recycling Works is Western Montana’s only curbside glass recycling service. It collects, crushes, and stores your glass locally, then ships it to Momentum Recycling in Salt Lake City, where it’s transformed into new bottles and other valuable end products. All proceeds from the services, which also include compost and yard waste collection, are donated to local public education initiatives and charities in Missoula.

Lee said that the owner of Recycling Works MT, Ted Geilan, was quick to offer some help and the regularly recurring Ravalli County Glass Recycling Event was born. According to operations manager Adam McDonald, the company has also started sponsoring a similar drop-off event for recyclers in Seeley Lake. The first one was held last August 28 and another is scheduled for Saturday, October 2, a week before the next Bitterroot Valley event scheduled for the 9th.  McDonald said the business was growing and they are now the official glass recycler for Glacier National Park. He said they are having to ramp up the operation to handle the expanded services and are currently conducting a Go-Fund-Me campaign to purchase a skid-steer for moving the glass around.

Prices for dropping off glass to be recycled at Saturday’s event at the fairgrounds are generally calculated at about a $1 per gallon. That comes to about $5 for a five-gallon bucket full of glass bottles. Lee said that about 10 wine bottles fill a five-gallon bucket and it will hold about 20 beer bottles. It’s hard to estimate the number of glass food jars because they come in so many different sizes.

“But you don’t have to use a bucket,” said Lee. She said you could bring them in a bag or whatever and a volunteer will help calculate the cost. She emphasizes that it is only glass food and beverage containers that are allowed. Other forms of glass, like windows, lightbulbs, or Pyrex glass or laboratory glass, are not accepted. No broken glass, lids, or other garbage is accepted.

Lee also wanted to remind people that aluminum and metal cans and other metals can be recycled at Modern Recycling in Hamilton. Bayern beer bottles are also collected at Hamilton Market Place and transported for recycling by Chip Britting and Doug Soehren as a free personal service.

People wishing to drop off something at the recycling event may enter the Fairgrounds at the north end. The entrance will be signed. For more information email janiceling@gmail.com or visit recyclingworksmt.com; email oreosrefining@gmail.com; or call Steve at Bitterroot Cardboard Recycling, (406) 369-0559.