A machine was noisily at work in North Havre Wednesday, grinding up plastic bottles to recycle containers that help recycle crops each year.
Ron Alhgren of the Montana Department of Agriculture made one of his several stops a year in Havre to collect and grind pesticide plastic containers to be recycled.
He said the program, started in 2009, is growing rapidly in Montana.
Alhgren travels around the state to collection points, hauling a flatbed trailer with the apparatus that grinds the containers. He said there are close to 60 locations, including landfills, nonprofit agencies and businesses, now acting as collection points for the program.
“And it is growing, ” he said.
Alhgren said he collected about 50,000 pounds of the plastic last year, the second year and first full year of the program.
It also provides a convenience to the agriculture producers, who generally have no option to dispose of the containers unless they take them to a landfill, after the containers have been washed out, or burn them — which is illegal.
The recycling program prevents containers from collecting in landfills, where they can take hundreds, even thousands of years, to break down.
The containers must be properly prepared before being brought in to collection points, including washing them out — either triple rinsing them or else power rinsing them — removing lids and foil liners and any label booklets, and, for larger containers, properly cutting them. Containers not properly prepared will not be recycled.
More information on the program is available online at www.agr.mt.gov at the “Pesticide Plastic Recycling” link on the left side of the page.