Republic Services in Missoula, Mont., recently announced it is expanding its curbside recycling program. That should help the city boost its recycling rates. The “All-In-One” program was rolled out in May, and already roughly 400 customers have signed up for recycling services.
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The recyclables are sent to a sorting facility in Seattle by truck. Because broken glass presents a safety hazard to the sorters, and because it is heavy – and therefore expensive – to ship, glass still isn’t accepted in Missoula. However, customers in the new program get a 96-gallon bin and are allowed to throw everything reusable – all plastics, paper, corrugated cardboard, boxboard from cereal boxes, tin and aluminum cans – into the bin for pickup without having to sort it.
Jennifer Bernosky was hired by Republic Services in October 2014 to figure out why there weren’t more people in Missoula recycling. Previously, the recycling program was more expensive for customers and was only picked up monthly.
“I was tasked with evaluating why we weren’t seeing growth in that program,” she explained. “I was getting feedback that it wasn’t good from customers. I talked to community leaders and recycling advocates and local residents and asked what they would change.”