Recycling in MontanaIn Montana, there are more than 100 recycling collection facilities, which means that the majority of residents (specifically 90%) have access to recycling centers — a convenient place for eco-minded individuals to live. However, in 2005, the recycle rate in this state was a roughly estimated 18% due to the sparse population, which doesn’t generate as many recoverable materials as other highly populated states. Even so, Montana is continuing its efforts like never before to encourage and promote more frequent recycling. In the Big Sky country, there is a nonprofit, statewide education organization called Recycle Montana. Its job is to focus on raising awareness about recyclers so community members can support the cause. Instead of speaking so generally about recycling, this organization is putting recycling on the map by providing recycling guides and area-specific listings to inspire action among residents. Although this website requires updating since some of its links are outdated, the FAQ section is chalk full of helpful information. Recently, a rural recycling workshop was held in Choteau (population 1,781), where attendees brainstormed ways to expand recycling efforts. In order to improve existing efforts, participants outlined a list of realistic ways to increase recycling efforts in the short term, which included increasing recycling education by sending a list of local recycling opportunities with utility bills, adding a list of recycling centers to the Department of Environmental Quality website, presenting information at Boy Scout and 4-H meetings and using the media as a driving force. If you missed the workshop, meeting notes are available online. By 2015, Montana’s goal is to achieve a modest 22% recycling rate. To accomplish this, attendees from the rural recycling workshop feel it is important for the state to focus its energies on single materials such as aluminum as well as discontinuing the use of plastic bags, developing fees to support recycling programs and improving existing recycling facilities. These plans are still in the development phase, so it will be interesting to see whether these initiatives developed further. As a Montana resident, you can be a part of the solution by becoming a member of Recycle Montana. Donors of $250 or more are listed on the website and will receive a Recycle Montana Sponsor Certificate, while donors of $1,000 or more will receive recognition on outreach materials for one year in addition to the website listing and certificate. You can also show fellow neighbors that you recycle by adorning your vehicle with a Recycle Montana license plate when it comes time to renew your registration. Expansion of processing recoverable materials continues to be a statewide effort, requiring homeowners and businesses to pitch in as well. Montana residents: get recycling! For listings of recycling locations in Montana, see 1-800-RECYCLING’s recycling location finder.