Recycling program is back in Sanders County

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Since being reinstated, the Sanders County recycling baler has been working hard to keep the community more environmentally friendly.

Recycling can be a large expense for the county, even though it is the best practice to keeping the environment clean; Sanders County has been going strong since being back in business.

With only one baler, the time and costs to repair are certainly catching up as the machine is able to produce a couple of bales for on-sell to SAGE Recycling.

The money that is earned from bales goes directly back to the recycling program and staff wages of those that work on site. As well as the all maintenance, operations and up keep of all machinery used at the refuse sites.

Residents of the county have been praised for their recycling efforts, but officials say there is still a need to ensure people are recycling correctly.

All items have to have no food contamination. Tin and aluminum need to be rinsed and separated. Plastics No. 1 and No. 2 are not to contain any plastic bags when dropped into bins. Cardboard is also required to be clean and flattened at drop off.

What happens when recycling isn’t carried out correctly, should any be separated incorrectly or dumped incorrectly and they get baled, is that the county incurs a charge from the vendor as the bale has to be pulled apart and contaminants removed.

This charge can take away from the return profits.

The county has averaged 1.533 tons per year for the last three years of their efforts.

Overall figures alone for 2016, it was calculated that Sanders County kept 821 tons of recyclables out of the Missoula Landfill.

Though not all recyclable materials are able to be baled, the county is available to take batteries, scrap metals and used oil as well.

Commitment to a clean and tidy environment is steadily gaining ground with residents around the county. There are five blue recycle trailers stationed around the county for easy convenience.

In mid-June of this year, the county also held an E-Waste event that saw the opportunity for locals to recycle used electronics. The event was a huge hit, which saw 4.13 tons of electronics brought in to be recycled.

Though the tonnage has gone down for the annual event which began in 2014, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. It means that residents are taking advantage and disposing of those old electronics.

One of the Sanders County regular vendors, Oreo’s Refinery, donated a penny per pound of the load they hauled out. The money was given to the Community Harvest Food Bank. This is another way to connect residents and businesses to help those in the wider community while taking care of the environment.

For more information, visit There are also operators at the refuge sites that can assist.

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