As a volunteer for Ravalli County Recycling (RCR), both on site and as a board member, I want to make sure my community knows some details about RCR. As a 99% volunteer organization we are very dependent on the folks of Ravalli County to run this service and to use it. We have volunteers that have worked for over two years to get RCR up and running. We work in all kinds of weather: up to 100 degrees in the hot sun, sand storms howling through the drop off lot next to Hamilton’s Habitat for Humanity, dust devils, hail, rain, wind, snow, sleet, and ice. I’m sure there are other weather factors I have forgotten, oh yes, blue skies and gentle sunshine.
Folks are friendly and bring sorted and clean materials. Every once in awhile we get someone dropping off a bag of mixed materials that reek of spoiled milk, rotten food and smelly sticky beer cans. Thank goodness those are in the minority and as folks learn, this is happening less and less.
Our expenses are many: insurance, rent for the site, maintenance for the truck and fork lift, gas to Missoula and back where we take the materials being recycled, one salaried employee and some other smaller costs.
We believe in what we are doing, that’s why we volunteer. That is also the reason we take some items to Missoula at a loss, such as paste board (cardboard), #1 and #2 plastics and phonebooks. If we had our own land (1-2 acres) with a building in which to place our compactor, which is sitting up in the Flathead Valley, we could smash the plastic into bales and a semi truck would come and pick up a truck load. There would be no Missoula middle man taking his share and we would make enough to run this business in a proper manner, hiring Bitterroot people who need jobs!
We ask for donations so hopefully we will break even. The money coming to us from the recycled materials is not enough at this time. We must grow into phase 3 from where we are in phase 2, in order to become a viable business. We are the only volunteer-run county recycling center in the state who does not receive any county government support. Please contact our commissioners and let them know you value recycling and RCR’s efforts and that we want and need their support.
Thank you for your friendly greetings at the site, your donations and for supporting this recycling service that we all find so important!