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Recycle Hi-Line Saturday Crush


December 17, 2018

Havre Daily News/Ryan Berry

Val Murri, left, moves a bag of recyclables while Scott Strobel keeps his daughter, Carly, warm Saturday, at Walmart in Havre. Members of Recycle Hi-Line stayed warm and ate cookies while waiting for the second trailer of plastic to arrive.

Last weekend, Recycle Hi-Line held its bi-monthly Saturday Crush event, where they collect take plastics Type 1 and 2 from Pacific Steel and Recycling to Walmart to be crushed, packed and transported.

Recycle Hi-Line Vice Chair Val Murri said he got involved with Recycle Hi-Line in 2014 because recycling makes a big difference in the local landfills. He said before he joined the group he already took his recyclables to Pacific Steel and once he found out about the group he was happy to jump on board.

He said the group used to have monthly recycling drives, but due to staffing issues those ended this year.

Since April of this year, Walmart Store Manager Kasey Dietz has agreed to increase Havre Walmart's acceptance of plastics to two times a month.

Murri added that Walmart only accepts plastics and has been involved with the non-profit Recycle Hi-Line since the beginning.

Recycle Hi-Line Chair Wanda Meredith said that Pacific Steel takes everything but glass and plastics, adding that Walmart only takes plastics Type 1 and 2. She said the group is also accepting plastics Type 5, although they are stockpiling them until they find a way to recycle the material.

Dietz said he increased Walmart's intake of the plastics brought to them to two times a month because it is more efficient. Walmart used to make nine or 10 bales of plastics every month, with each bale taking about an hour-and-a-half. By splitting up the bales they can pack more bales and make it easier to manage.

Each bale weighs about 1,500 pounds, he added, with Walmart transporting about 216,000 pounds of plastics for the community each month.

The plastics brought to them by Recycle Hi-Line is sent to a plant where they can be recycled, he said.

"It's about taking care of the ground we walk on," Dietz said. "Keeping it neat and clean rather than digging a hole and filling it. Keeping it clean for our kids and grandkids."

Volunteer Cathy Jamruszka said she is involved because she has been recycling since the '70s, and before the large group effort was organized, landfills filled up very quickly. She added that a lot of what fills those landfills is plastic.

Volunteer Scott Strobel and his daughter Carly, 14, said that they have been taking advantage of the opportunity to volunteer with Recycle Hi-Line for four years.

Scott Strobel said it is important to teach kids the importance of recycling and to try to avoid buying plastic items or buy recyclable.

He added that recycling makes more economic sense, with the price to dig and operate a landfill costing the county a large amount of money every day.

"Ninety-three tons of garbage go to the landfill in the tri-county area every business day," Strobel said. "You can see it in your house."

"If everyone was (recycling) it would be incredible," he said. "But we are happy that some people at least do it."

Meredith said she first got involved in 2010 and, at that time, Recycle Hi-Line had two recycling drives a year. In time, because of the amount of recyclables, they went to monthly before ending the drives in April.

Pacific Recycling has set up bins at its facility where people can drop off recyclables 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Recycle Hi-Line manages the collection from the bins.

The group takes the plastics from the bins at Pacific Steel to Walmart, Meredith said, adding that the group used to accept glass but due to it not finding a market for the material they are no longer accepting it.

The glass mulch at the new 4-H Chuckwagon building at the Great Northern Fairground is from Recycle Hi-Line, she added.

Recycle Hi-Line is also in the process of getting a second trailer, she added, with the group utilizing a $500 grant they received from the Hill County Community Foundation.

Meredith said other, bigger, cities have city or garbage companies that require people to recycle or have the option available.

Havre Daily News/Ryan Berry

Sidney Kiefer pulls a pallet with compressed plastic out behind Walmart Saturday, December 15, 2018 in Havre, Mont. Kiefer and coworker Dylan Sensabaugh helped the members of Recycle Hi-Line during their work.

"I feel like we need to do more of that," she said.

But Havre is a very remote location and it is hard for businesses to make money off of recycling.

She said Recycle Hi-Line wants to bring awareness that the option to recycle is here in Havre.

Meredith added that Recycle Hi-Line is always looking for more volunteers and the group's next meeting will be Wednesday at the Hill County Courthouse Annex at 7 p.m.

She said the "Saturday Crush" event is held on the first and third Saturdays of every month and the Recycle Hi-Line meetings take place on the third Wednesday of every month.

She said Recycle Hi-Line wants to do more and is always open to new ideas.

For more information go to https://recyclehiline.org/ or visit its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Recycle-Hi-line-255425497909596/ or call Meredith at 262-4902.


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