Butte-Silver Bow Government Buildings May Soon Recycle Again


Courthouse Recycling

The Butte-Silver Bow local government is considering contracting with McGree’s Trucking to carry recyclable materials from government buildings to salvage and recycle centers in Butte. It’s been just over a year since AWARE shuttered its recycling operations in Butte, citing state budget cuts and a drop in commodities prices. Since then, residents of Butte have had to pay a fee to McGree’s Trucking if they want to have recyclables collected from their homes. Jim McGree, Vice President of McGree Trucking, says Butte-Silver Bow might be their next client.

“This thing that BSB is talking about is what we already do with residential customers. So it fits into the mixed stream, and that’s what we’re going to do, whoever is interested. Mixed meaning type 1 and 2 plastics, tin cans, aluminum cans, paper, cardboard, that sort of thing. We’ll provide cans to various buildings of Butte-Silver Bow’s and service them that way.”

Pat Holland, manager of government buildings for Butte-Silver Bow, says things have been a little difficult on the recycling side since AWARE closed.

“We’ve always been conscientious of recycling, but it’s just trying to find the vendors to take it. And right now, the only vendor we have is McGree’s. They have agreed to take it, and then they bring it to a recycler, and then I believe that recycler brings it to Helena.”

Holland says that this contract between Butte-Silver Bow and McGree’s trucking won’t include all of the local government’s buildings, but mainly the largest producers of recyclable material.

“We have a lot of buildings, but ones that would recycle are probably- there again it’s to the capacity that they would recycle, the courthouse being the largest. I would say there’s probably five or six that would really make a worthwhile stop.”

The deal isn’t done yet, as the Council of Commissioners will vote on this proposed expenditure, amounting to $17 per container per month, at the council meeting this week. Whereas recycling used to be a profitable endeavor for the person with the material to be recycled, the economy of recycling has long been a challenge for smaller, inland communities like Butte. McGree’s says they spend money to get rid of recyclable material.

“It is not profitable as a stand-alone. We have to charge for it. We have to pay the processors to take it, and the processors have to pay other people to take it, as well as shipping. So it used to be, you know, you could make money on just taking recycling, but that’s not the case.”

Both Jim McGree and Butte-Silver Bow buildings manager Pat Holland agreed that recycling is the right thing to do, for the overall impact it has on our landfills and the environment, but both said it’s just a matter of money for the two entities to make it work.

“I think most anyone is on board. The easier we make it, the better it will be.”

For KBMF, I’m Clark Grant