Ravalli County Recycling

Ravalli County Recycling depends on volunteers like Purva Helling, Rick Hyatt and Phil Defani to help keep more than 500 tons of recycled material out of the landfill. The organization is facing a new challenge after the landowner of their current site put the land on the market recently.

The nonprofit Ravalli County Recycling organization is facing a new challenge.

The land that it has operated on north of Hamilton for the last five years was recently put on the market.

If it sells to someone not interested in retaining the recycling operation, the organization will have to find a new home or quit recycling.

“We need to find a new benefactor,” said Janice Lee, board president of Ravalli County Recycling. “We have had challenges in the past and have always found ways to move past them and continue our mission to provide recycling services in Ravalli County.”

The organization operates with a staff of two paid employees and about 26 dedicated volunteers who help collect and organize recyclable materials at the center two days a week. The center on Highway 93 keeps over 500 tons of recyclable materials out of landfills every year.

“We’re hoping … a friend of recycling will buy the property and allow us to stay,” Lee said. “Otherwise, we will have to find a new location.

"The current owners are friends of recycling. They have given us a pretty good deal on the monthly rental for location.”

The organization plans to continue working with its current commercial, residential and drop-off customers. Its member will provide information to those customers as it becomes available.

“We want to let all customers know that we will honor our agreements to pick up per current contracts,” Lee said. “We ask that everyone be patient while we engage in this transition. We value our customers and intend to continue operating as usual, hopefully far into the future.”

Ravalli County Recycling was formed in 2010 by a group of Bitterroot citizens who wanted recycling to happen locally. They are not affiliated with county government and receive no taxpayer support.

Over the last eight years, they have provided recycling support for over 100 local businesses and residential customers.

The organization received the Eco Star Award for conservation in Ravalli County from the state of Montana. It has been the recipient of several grants by organizations that recognized the community service it provides.

“RCR contributes to environmental awareness and sustainability in the Bitterroot,” said Maria Laughlin, the organization’s marketing director.

Volunteers make up the heart of the organization.

“Without volunteers, RCR would have to close tomorrow,” said a press release. “They could not pay employees to do what board members and other volunteers do and remain open. They spend hours in the cold and heat to make recycling happen in the Bitterroot.

“Volunteers are there because to them it is meaningful work, plus they gain personal self-satisfaction and enjoy the camaraderie. If asked, many volunteers describe the time spent volunteering as fun and also important,” the release said. “Bitterrooters volunteer with RCR because they believe in the cause.”

Lee said the organization needs to find a benefactor willing to join them in that mission.

“Ravalli County Recycling needs a home,” she said. “They need to stay where they are with a new landlord willing to work with them or they need to find a new home and a new partner to help them continue to provide recycling here in this beautiful valley.”

For more information on the property, people can contact Berkshire Hathaway Homes Services, Montana Properties at 406-360-0258 or 406-381-0067.

To talk to a Ravalli County Recycling member about the proposed sale, call 406-375-5398 and leave a message.

More information about the organization can be found at www.ravallirecycling.org or RCR Facebook page.


Associate Editor

Reporter for The Ravalli Republic.