County recycling nixes glass collection

Costs drive market down

Oct. 15 saw the final pickup of bottles and other glass materials at county recycling bins, as Beaverhead County decided this month to bow out of glass recycling, but continue with efforts to recycle paper, cardboard, metals and plastic.
“I believe recycling is the right thing to do,” said Beaverhead County Commissioner Garth Haugland.
“If you can divert anything from the landfill, you can lengthen the life of the landfill. And eventually, some of our descendants will have to deal with what is in the landfill,” said Haugland, who has played a key role in efforts to set up and sustain area recycling efforts over the last dozen years
“But recycled glass has zero market right now. You are totally at the mercy of end users and transportation costs, and there really aren’t any end users in Montana right now,” noted Haugland, who said spikes in the price of gasoline in recent years had made shipping glass, which is heavy compared to most other recycled materials, to out-of-state recyclers cost prohibitive.
Haugland said the county had looked into purchasing glass grinders owned by Headwaters Recycling Cooperative, the Helena-based group that is ceasing operations after years of picking up and processing material in recycling bins in Beaverhead County. But the grinders themselves are expensive to maintain.
Beaverhead County will now simply ship glass to its landfill with most of the rest of its un-recyclable trash.
“Glass at least breaks down and biodegrades after a long period of time,” noted Leaf Magnuson, treasurer of Beaverhead Recycling, “unlike plastic, which never really biodegrades.”
According to Magnuson, recycling sites in Beaverhead County will continue to accept various recyclable goods, including:

  • metals: steel cans, aluminum cans, tin cans and tin foil;
  • mixed paper: newspaper, office paper, junk mail, phone books, magazines and bagged shredded paper;
  • cardboard: corrugated and liner board (e.g. cereal boxes).
  • plastic: all containers plastic Nos. 1–7 with lids, put in loose.

Beaverhead Recycling urges that all metal cans and plastic containers should be rinsed out and cardboard boxes flattened before being placed in recycling bins, and notes that oily cardboard, like that in pizza boxes, cannot be recycled.
The recyclables that can be accepted vary between area locations.

  • Beaverhead Co. Fairgrounds: plastic containers and lids #1–7; liner and corrugated cardboard; mixed paper; metal cans.
  • Bins across from Sparky’s (off Poindexter Street): mixed paper and metal cans.
  • The Middle School (Sacajawea Drive and Oregon Street): mixed paper and metal cans.
  • West Electric (north on Old Highway 91): corrugated cardboard only.
  • Noble Avenue (by the county softball fields): mixed paper and metal cans.
  • Safeway: soft No. 4 plastic and grocery bags.
  • Humane Society of Beaverhead County (80 Lagoon Lane): aluminum cans in bags.
  • Lima (one mile west on Big Sheep Creek Road): soft No. 4 plastic and grocery bags.
  • Glen (at transfer station on School House Rd.): mixed paper and metal cans.

Some recyclable items can also be dropped off at Di’s Place and Nearly New Consignments, St. Rose Community Basement and the Humane Society Thrift Store.
For more information about recycling options in Beaverhead County, go to the Facebook page of Beaverhead Recycling (