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Hi-Line communities tossing hat in the recycling ring

 


Local groups are coming together to try upgrading the Hi-Line's ability to recycle.

Officials from Hill County, Blaine County and Big Sandy are working with organizations such as Recycle Hi-Line and the Havre Day Activity Center to apply for a hub-and-spoke grant through the Department of Environmental Quality, with some help from Bear Paw Development Corp.

The grant would allow the creation of a central recycling hub, in Havre, with spokes to collect recyclable materials in Chinook and Big Sandy. Large bins would be placed at those locations to gather reusable materials in an attempt to reduce waste.

"The main thing we're going to see is that it's going to decrease the amount of garbage we're going to have in the landfill, " said Candi Zion, chair of Recycle Hi-Line. "It's also going to give the Havre Day Activity Center an even better chance to keep their people employed in the recycling industry."

Aside from large bins, the grant could fund more equipment for the activity center, including a new baler to package the recyclables and a pallet jack to move the bales.

The total cost of the proposed project, with a $50,000 hub in Havre and $25,000 spokes in both Chinook and Big Sandy, would be $100,000. DEQ has $200,000 to distribute for the whole state, only enough to fund two projects, so the grant is competitive.

But according to those involved in the grant, including Annmarie Robinson from Bear Paw Development, the Hi-Line is in particular need of a program like this, compared to the rest of Montana.

"There's a lot of recycling throughout the state, and we do not have a very good recycling program, " Robinson said. "We need this so we can get the infrastructure for a recycling program, so we can become as progressive as the rest of the state."

Clay Vincent, Hill County sanitarian who has been involved in the grant, believes the grant could not only help environmental sustainability, but also be economically sustainable.

"We're trying to take that next step to help people deposit the material somewhere that is easier, and actually see what we can get out of it, " Vincent said. "All of this is sellable, so there would be money coming back. Not much, but some.

"We'll see if we can establish a business, if not make a business grow."

 

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