Towards Zero Waste

Towards Zero Waste is our newest program to coordinate city, county, and individual efforts for a more sustainable, less wasteful local economy. Read on for more information on what we’re working on now:


Glass Recycling


Citizens to Ask Cities to Consider Recycled Crushed Glass in Construction Projects

(November 7, 2018) In September of 2018, we received word that local business New World Recycling was closing. As the owners and operators of the only glass pulverizer in Flathead County, that meant that our community would soon be losing our only glass recycling option.

In October, Citizens for a Better Flathead developed an agreement with Glacier National Park Lodges (GNPL) and New World Recycling to extend glass recycling services through the end of the year. Citizens sponsored the rent for the land where the glass crusher is located, and GNPL continued to finance the pickup and processing of glass collected at their public drop-off site in Columbia Falls. In exchange, New World agreed to continue to process glass collected at the GNPL site for the rest of 2018.

While this agreement bought some time, no buyers have come forward to purchase New World Recycling’s glass pulverizer to continue glass recycling in the Flathead. Unless this changes, glass recycling will end December 10, 2018. This is an unfortunate loss for our community that will increase the volume of garbage sent to the Flathead County landfill.

There is clearly a demand for glass recycling in the valley. From the first of the year through September, 220,000 pounds of glass – approximately 4,000 bottles – were collected at the GNPL drop-off site alone. This doesn’t include glass collected from New World’s curbside routes or deposited directly at their business.

Glass is one of the only items we can recycle locally, which is more important than ever before as we continue to watch global recycling markets crash. Crushed recycled glass can be used as a sustainable aggregate substitute in cement and asphalt, as well as decorative landscaping material. Combined with the growth occurring in the valley, we believe there can be a strong local market for this recycled product.

Citizens for a Better Flathead and Glacier National Park Lodges will be asking the cities of Kalispell and Columbia Falls to step up and adopt policies prioritizing the use of a percentage of crushed recycled glass in construction projects when the product is available. The City of Whitefish has already been approached and is considering the proposal.

Our hope is that, by providing a consistent outlet for the end product, glass recycling will return to the Flathead Valley sooner rather than later.

If you’re interested in learning more about purchasing this glass recycling business, please contact New World directly at (406) 260-3317.



Sustainability Solutions Event

(June 21, 2018) The first community conversation about reducing our waste footprint was a success! On Thursday, June 21st, we hosted a community conversation centered around reducing waste in the Flathead Valley. Joined by a fantastic panel of six speakers representing local businesses and government agencies, it was an honest and inspiring discussion on moving towards a local Zero-Waste economy. For a busy Thursday evening in the valley, we were energized by the turnout from the public and how many of you are dedicated to this topic. Thank you to those that were able to join us.

If you couldn’t make it, don’t worry — this won’t be your only chance! This event was the launch of a new program for Citizens that we’re calling Towards Zero Waste. Through this program, we’ll work to have a larger impact on local policy and business decisions to reduce our valley’s waste footprint. As was discussed between the panelists, real change must come before post-consumer waste management, and that’s where we’ll be focusing our efforts.

Our next step on this path Towards Zero Waste is to perform a Community Waste Assessment to determine how our waste system is currently operating and find opportunities for improvement. Stay tuned on this effort.

Click here to read the follow-up Press Release: Sustainable Solutions Event Launches New Program for Local Non-Profit.