Cardboard recycling event is Sept. 17

Thursday, September 6, 2018
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Graph courtesy of Bruce Peterson

The pie graph depicts the total pounds of items brought to the local landfill over a two-year period.

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Glendive Recycles Our Waste will hold a cardboard recycling drive in the Eastern Plains Event Center parking lot, Monday, Sept. 17 from 5 to 7 p.m.

According to information from GROW, clean cardboard boxes brought to the recycling drive have to be broken down and all packing materials and plastic tape removed. Paper tape and labels are okay. Cereal boxes and diaper boxes will be accepted but no wax or plastic coated boxes. Paper towel and toilet paper rolls will also be recycled but should be brought as a group in paper bags.

Signs designed by GROW member Melissa Checketts will be posted in the parking lot to direct traffic flow. Volunteers will be on site to check cardboard items and load them into a trailer.

The drive is the result of a year of talking, research, planning and gathering community comment, noted Caitlin Cromwell, community organizer for Northern Plains Resource Council working with the local NPRC affiliate, Dawson Resource Council.

GROW started with the formation of a DRC recycling committee. A representative from Community GATE, which also has a recycling committee, provided input in the planning process. Over the year the effort grew to include representatives from Makoshika State Park, Dawson Community College, Glendive Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture and Cross Country Brewing.

In February, the DRC committee sponsored a “Future of Recycling” seminar at the Glendive Agri-Trade Exposition and in May organized a town hall meeting to discuss options for recycling in Glendive. At the meeting, participants discussed the pros and cons of various recyclables and determined that transportation, a storage facility and equipment were major hurdles.

During a followup meeting in June, DRC chairwoman Rachel Torres reported on conversations with City of Glendive Public Works Director Jack Rice, noting that, according to Rice, cardboard is one of the main concerns for the Glendive landfill.

From data provided by Rice and statistics from the Environmental Protection Agency, GROW member Bruce Peterson estimated that the Glendive landfill takes in 9,417,721 pounds, or 4,709 tons of paper/cardboard each year. The average volume of one ton of cardboard equals 1.9 cubic yards so 8,947 cubic yards of landfill space would be used for cardboard each year.

An 1800 square-foot or an eight-foot high, 30-foot by 60-foot house with a flat roof is 533 cubic yards so the cardboard going into Glendive’s landfill every year would fill 16.8 houses, Peterson calculating, adding that “in five years just the cardboard and paper part of what goes into our landfill would cover our football field and stack up as high as the top of our goal posts.”

Looking at the information from Rice, the resources available and the increased problems with recycling plastic since China’s decision not to accept many types of plastic, GROW members decided to concentrate their efforts on recycling cardboard.

Makoshika State Park Manager Chris Dantic is also the park manager of Pirogue Island State Park near Miles City and drives to Miles City on a regular basis. Since Dantic is interested in increasing recycling options for the park, he said he would provide a trailer and haul cardboard to Eastern Montana Industries in Miles City.

With the transportation issue resolved, GROW members decided to start monthly recycling collection events to be held in the EPEC parking lot and scheduled the first one for Sept. 17.

“Please note that this drive will be short: it’s just two hours! If you can’t make it, don’t panic. We plan on hosting more of these in the future, so stay tuned!” a Facebook post from organizers says.

Reach Cindy Mullet at