The non-profit statewide organization, Recycle Montana, gave their first annual Recycler of the Year award at their recycling informational event held at the State Capitol in Helena. Representative James O’Hara, HD 27, awarded the “Golden Bale” — a crushed composite of aluminum cans painted gold — to his constituents from Fort Benton Recycles.
Candi Zion, President of Recycle Montana stated, “We [the directors] decided it was time Montanans are recognized for their efforts to offer recycling opportunities. We chose this grassroots, volunteer group because they work diligently to provide services, including establishing partnerships with other organizations and utilizing the skills of their local youth.”
Fort Benton Recycles has been recycling since 2013 and has since collected over 100,000 pounds of recyclables in Chouteau County, population app. 5000. They collect all types of paper, offer document shredding, accept tin and aluminum cans as well as cardboard which is baled in a baler purchased 3 years ago. They started out by collecting and hauling recyclables in pickups and horse trailers but have partnered with Steel Etc. of Great Falls who provides recycling bins and bin pick-service.
High school and junior high kids help make the recycling program successful. Zion stated, “We had over 40 people from Fort Benton brave icy roads to Helena, about 30 of them were kids who volunteer at Fort Benton Recycles. All their efforts help the environment and extend the life of the landfill saving taxpayer dollars.”
Recycle Montana offers the where, what, and why to recycle for the state of Montana including technical support, recycling resources, waste audit plans, lesson plans, and networking opportunities. Additionally, Recycle Montana provides a statewide list of recycling locations which links to local recycling opportunities. This information and more can be found at recyclemontana.org.