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.

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  1. […] recycling cans and bottles, but they were in the food court. As I said over on Restoration Nation, Missoula is making a good-faith effort to recycle, but it has a ways to […]

  2. Sarah September 25, 2011 at 1:28 pm - Reply

    I just moved to Missoula from Boulder, saddened by the lack of widespread recycling here. Apparently Missoula county produced 10% of the used glass in the state and we don’t even have the option for glass pickup. I am working to at least spread blue bag awareness, hey, at least it’s single stream which is easy and is incentive for lazy people to recycle. They come in rolls of 10.

  3. Beth Partin September 25, 2011 at 1:45 pm - Reply

    Sarah, thanks for doing your part to promote recycling. I did hear that one recycler in Missoula—maybe it was Allied Waste?—is buying trucks that have arms to pick up carts. In neighborhoods served by those new trucks, the company will no longer pick up the blue bags and people will have to take in their recycling. So that’s a bit of a step back.

  4. Haley Adams July 19, 2012 at 11:18 am - Reply

    Hats off for your dedication for recycling! I don’t know much about recycling and/or Missoula so I just hope everything will work out for you. Enjoy what you love to do!