Recycling at Montana Tech

student recycling at Montana Tech

In 1997, Environmental Engineering students couldn’t understand why Montana Tech didn’t have a recycling program. After a little research, it was determined that many students had started fledging programs but when the student graduated, the program ceased. After much urging by students, a staff member decided to start a program that would sustain itself into the future. The program struggled through the years with no funding and working with various state and local recycling agencies but continued to grow each year with the help of many volunteering staff members. Then in 2012, Montana Tech recycling program progressed by leaps and bounds. First Montana Tech won a national recycling logo contest which provided $5,000 worth of good quality bins through Busch System and a month later Tech received a grant for 32 new recycling bins through “Keep America Beautiful” and Coca Cola. Pepsi also donated eight Pepsi bottle bins for plastics and cans. Montana Tech’s recycling program has progressed from labeled cardboard boxes to good products that will take us into the future of sustainability.

Montana Tech is currently collaborates with AWARE Recycling in Butte, a local non-profit organization that employs people with disabilities to sort recycling materials to go to market. They have provided several large “dumpsters” that are located behind the Student Union loading dock, on the south side of the Natural Resources Building, between the Library and Mining Geology Building, and by the dorms. Custodians deliver their building’s recycling to these larger bins, and Butte Recycling picks it up weekly for sorting and distribution.

Montana Tech’s Recycling Committee would like to thank everyone involved in recycling at Montana Tech. Special thanks goes to the custodians who ensure Tech’s recycling goes into designated bins for pickup by Butte Recycling.

NOW there is no excuse for anyone on campus to not recycle!! Remember the 5-R’s –


how long do items take to decompose?

Kristi Carroll
Mike Haldane
Marcia Lubick
Catherine McKillips, Chair
Angela Stillwagon
Sarah Storey
Annie Telling
Laurie Vandel

Montana Tech is currently in collaboration with AWARE Recycling in Butte, who will pick up the following recyclables:

  • Office Paper
  • Shredded Paper (bagged only)
  • Envelopes
  • Junk Mail
  • Magazines
  • Newspapers
  • Books (must have binding removed - mailroom can do this for you)

Please flatten cardboard boxes yourself to make it easier for custodians to handle. Put flattened cardboard the bins at any of the designated bin locations. There is also a cardboard only bin on the loading dock of the SUB.

  • #1 (PETE) – Water, Juice, Soda Bottles (empty)
  • #2 (HDPE) – Clear Milk Jugs (rinse thoroughly)
  • #3 through #7 are NOT currently accepted
  • Aluminum Cans
  • Steel cans

Please take note of the items Butte Recycling Does Not accept:

  • Glass 
  • Plastic Bags (grocery stores recycle these)
  • Coated Paper, Boxes, Cartons (waxed, foiled)
  • Wrapping and Construction Paper
  • Kleenex, Napkins, Paper Towels, Toilet Paper, Diapers
  • Waxed Drink Cups (pop, coffee)
  • Styrofoam (cups, food boxes)
  • Non-Plastic Milk/Juice Cartons (waxed)
  • Food and/or Wrappers
  • Appliances and Electronics
  • Metals
  • Rocks
electronic recycling at Montana Tech

At least once a year Yellowstone E-Waste Solutions out of Billings picks up Montana Tech’s unusable electronic equipment (e-waste). This equipment needs to be taken to a designated location the day before the scheduled pickup. Watch for an email announcement from Environmental Health & Safety for specifics. Hard drives must be cleaned or destroyed before recycling. Click here to see what Yellowstone E-Waste will accept.

If you have e-waste from home, NCAT sponsors a community event each spring. See their web page for more information and a price list at


The student club, Environmental Engineering of Montana Tech (EEMT), recycles printer cartridges to help support their travel to a conference each year. Contact EEMT at to pick up your cartridges, or you can take them to the mailroom in the SUB.


Yellowstone E-Waste Solutions, Batteries Plus and Verizon Wireless recycle old cell phones. If the cell phone is still in working order and you upgrade, you can donate the working cell phone to Safe Space, and they provide emergency phone access to clients for safety purposes.

No one that we have found accepts alkaline batteries. Ni-Cad (nickel cadmium) and lead acid batteries are accepted by Batteries Plus (in other communities); Pacific Steel and Recycling in Butte only accepts lead acid batteries.


Old CFL bulbs, must be properly disposed of as they contain small amounts of mercury. They can be taken to stores such as Home Depot, Lowe’s and Batteries Plus. Not all stores accept them.

upcycling boots as planters

canoe made from plastic bottles
Recycle Liter Bottles

Another innovation with liter bottles:

chair made from recycled wine corks
wine cork planters
Recycle Corks

Recycle Newspaper

upcycled rag rugs
Recycle Rags

recycled milk carton ideas
milk jug luminaries
Recycle Plasitc Milk Cartons

light bulb vases
Recycle Light Bulbs

mushrooms made from vases
Crystal mushrooms made from cheap florist vases, bowls
and ninaoriginals light fixtures.