Missoula Recycling Guide

Missoula is a forward-thinking community, and hardly do you hear someone in Missoula ask, “Do you recycle?” More often the question is, “Where is your recycling?” However, the recycling business in Missoula still a growing one, and it may not be explicitly clear what can and cannot be recycled in this Garden City of ours. Below is your Make It Missoula Recycling Guide, including what is recyclable and what service options you have for both at-home pick-up or drop-off recycling.

First, Why Even Recycle?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average person creates around four-and-a-half pounds of trash every day, or about 1.5 tons in a year! The EPA also estimates that of the solid waste people throw away, 75 percent of it is recyclable, even though only about a third of it actually is recycled. We can do better!

By both recycling as much as we can and choosing to buy recycled products when we can, we reduce the need for raw materials for new products and save energy. Imagine this – just producing one ton of aluminum requires 4.5 tons of aluminum ore and over a 1,000 pounds of fuel. By using recycled aluminum to produce new aluminum, we reduce raw material requirements by 95 percent and energy requirements by 90 percent. And there is no limit to the number of times aluminum can be recycled into new aluminum. Contrast this by the fact that in the United States, more than 100 million aluminum cans are sent to landfills every day!

*Video created by Kevin Radley

What Can I Recycle in Missoula?

In Missoula, you can recycle the following materials:

  • Aluminum cans
  • Steel/tin cans (rinsed)
  • Metal jar lids
  • Metal bottle caps
  • Plastics #1, #2 and #3 (no lids)
  • Styrofoam packing peanuts (clean, reusable and separately bagged)
  • Newspaper
  • Office paper (no bright colors)
  • Magazines
  • Junk mail
  • Shredded paper (bagged, no bright colors)
  • Non-corrugated cardboard (i.e. cereal boxes, six-packs, egg cartons)
  • Paper bags
  • Phone books

Glass is not routinely recycled in Missoula. However, recently Target on N. Reserve has advertised the availability of its glass recycling drop-off bin, and Garden City Recycling currently accepts cork-style wine bottles (no screw-tops or beer bottles).

Where Can I Recycle?

In Missoula, we have the luxury of arranging either curbside pick-up for our recyclables or taking them to a recycling center.

Curbside Pick-up

Garden City Recycling – Founded in 2010, Garden City Recycling is Missoula’s newest recycling service provider. It was founded as simple, inexpensive curbside recycling service for residents and businesses in Missoula and the surrounding areas. Cost is based on volume, and it can be as low as $20 per month for two pick-ups. Pick-up days are dependent on where you live, and Garden City Recycling even offers special pick-up services for CPUs, ink cartridges, scrap metals, junk cars, auto batteries and other hard-to-recycle items. Call (406) 493-1528.

Allied Waste – Termed its “Blue Bag” recycling program, Allied Waste customers can purchase special blue bags (via Allied Waste at 3207 W. Broadway) and use them to recycle clean aluminum cans, tin cans, plastic containers (no lids), newspaper, magazines, phone books and other clean paper products by filling each bag (no separation required), tying it closed and putting it next to your regular trash for pick-up or dropping it off at the Allied Waste Recyclery. Call (406) 543-3157.

Drop-Off Recycling

Pacific Steel & Recycling – Located at 2600 Latimer (one block behind Target), Pacific Steel & Recycling will accept all of Missoula’s standard recyclables in its designated bins. Customers are responsible for properly sorting their materials and placing them in corresponding marked bins. Pacific Steel & Recycling will also pay you for various recyclable metals. Prices change, and this service is only available during business hours. Recycling bins are accessible 24/7. Pacific Steel & Recycling can also assist with recycling odd items, such as deer, elk, and moose hides and antlers; brass, radiators, lead, stainless steel, copper, appliances, aluminum scrap, sheet metal, automobiles, prepared iron, unprepared iron, cast iron and engines. Call (406) 543-7396.

*Sourced, in part, from GardenCityRecycling.com