Reducing the long haul
Project: Recycling facility
Jurisdiction: Browning, Mont.
Vendors: Fairmont, Minn.-based Avery Weigh-Tronix; Missoula, Mont.-based Rocky Mountain Scale Works; Newport Beach, Calif.-based EquiCapital
Date began: 2008
Located within a Blackfeet Indian reservation in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Browning, Mont., officials recently created a recycling program that scales to the size of its small community of approximately 7,000 residents. “A lot of our waste was ending up in our streams, and we were looking for alternative ways to decrease the amount of garbage produced,” says Mayor William Morris. “Reducing waste would help preserve the environment, extend the life of the many products and materials we use, and save us the cost of transporting the garbage to a place where it can be properly disposed.”
Because the closest recycling facility was 35 miles away, the town built its own recycling center. The town contracted with a company to purchase the town’s aluminum, and it is planning to expand the number of items accepted at the facility to include scrap metal, copper and cooking oil. The facility also accepts used motor oil, which is used to heat the facility. “This was a brand new venture for us, and we’ve had many townspeople participate, so we’re increasing revenue,” Morris says.
The facility is equipped with scales and a system to weigh and document all recycled materials so residents can be compensated for their contributions. Browning is leasing the Avery Weigh-Tronix equipment from Rocky Mountain Scale Works, through an agreement with EquiCapital. “We didn’t have the funds to buy the scale outright, and our customers can’t afford rate hikes, so this purchase program was exactly what we needed,” Morris says.
Along with using the scales to weigh recyclables, the town charges haulers a small fee to use the scale system to confirm their trucks are not overweight, avoiding a potentially costly fine. Farmers can use the system to confirm the weight of commodities, such as hay, generating a bit more revenue.