Recycling in Missoula: Up and Coming

As an obsessive recycler, I look for recycling facilities wherever I go. I tried to find them in Baton Rouge when Todd had surgery on his ear, and I think I succeeded, though I apparently left no record of it on Beth at Home and Abroad except a note that I had emailed someone about it.

Missoula is a little more recycling-friendly. My landlady told me I could buy a blue trash bag, put all my recycling in it, and put it out next to the trash can. The trash company would then take care of sorting the paper from the cans and plastic bottles. I haven’t bought any of those bags because, as far as I know, they’re available only at the Missoula Recyclery, and if I have to go there I might as well just take my recycling there.

Until recently, glass wasn’t recycled in Missoula, but now it can be taken to Target or to the Recyclery. Glass doesn’t seem to be a profitable recycling material (glass isn’t recycled much in Kansas City, where I grew up, either), perhaps because so many things that used to be made of glass are now made of plastic.

When Todd and I did laundry last week, I noticed that Grimebusters wasn’t recycling. recycling, Missoula Recyclery, Beth Partin's photosI was tempted to fish the plastics out of the trash can and take them home, but then my fear of being weird in public kicked in. Later I thought of asking the owners if I could collect their recycling for the month I was in Missoula. But then I thought, Am I going to do this for every non-recycling business I patronize in Missoula? That didn’t seem very practical either.

Correction: Grimebusters does recycle aluminum cans.

I guess I could take the recyclables I find on the days I do laundry there.

I was spoiled in Boulder; I know that. There were several trash companies that recycled; I could take my recyclables to Eco-Cycle’s centers in several cities nearby; I could take even more esoteric items to the Hard-to-Recycle Center in Boulder or the hazardous waste center in Boulder. Boulder residents enjoyed a “pay-as-you-throw” program which made it cheap for them to recycle.

Missoula isn’t that far along. When we attended the Out to Lunch concert and market on Wednesday, I noticed that cans and bottles were being recycled, but most people were providing plastic utensils with their food, which then get thrown away after one use. It wasn’t Zero Waste, but it was definitely better than nothing.

I need to figure out what I can do to promote Zero Waste on this trip. It’s hard to do much in a month, but there must be something I can do.