Thursday, October 17, 2013

Recycling Update for Helena from Commissioner Matthew Elsaesser

Dear Friends,

I would like to bring you up to speed on my efforts as your City Commissioner to improve recycling services offered by the City of Helena. As you know, I have long been committed to expand recycling in Helena. As a college student, I established what is now known as the S.A.V.E. Foundation, widely known as the nonprofit that organizes the community plastic drives every two months.  Given this background, it should not be surprising that one of my principal goals as Commissioner has been to expand the City's recycling program to include plastics.

During my tenure as a commissioner, the City of Helena has made strides toward enhancing recycling by adding additional drop-off sites around town, providing options to recycle electronic waste and clothing at the Transfer Station, maintaining glass recycling, and investing in the blue bag curbside program. The City contracted with a consulting firm to prepare the Residential Recycling Program Enhancement Study for the City of Helena in 2009, which provided a framework for how to proceed. 

The City Commission is now considering a proposal that would expand recycling even more, to include a permanent place to recycle plastics, improved residential curbside recycling pickup, and expanding items collected at the transfer stations. This proposal  reflects the effort, stakeholder input, and expectations of the Helena Community. The City now needs your engagement in this public process, and I will be asking for your support and involvement.

Beyond this proposal, we should focus on collection of reusable construction materials, provide household hazardous waste collection events, and any other items that can be diverted from land-fills. Public support to initially build the Transfer Station envisioned as a premier recycling center. With the bonds for this public facility now paid for, it is long past time to realize that goal.

This August, the City Commission approved a 2% rate increase, directing an additional $70,000 for residential solid waste for improved curbside recycling. Capital improvements to transfer station will be over one million dollars this year. We need to make sure that money is directed to the right places, including a sheltered collection area that accepts your plastics.  I am confident that our community and our elected city and county officials, support recycling.  There is no reason why the Capitol City shouldn’t have the best recycling program in the State of Montana.

I presented the adjacent [click image to view] memo during our budget process in early June. While the details may change with implementation, it provides a good overview of what we should expect to see. At that time and in a subsequent meeting regarding investments at the Transfer Station, it was determined that the Commission would review the memo in more detail following the budget process. I am pleased that we had a very productive meeting yesterday morning and the City is again moving forward discussing these proposals.

It is an honor to serve in this role. Thank you very much for your continued support!

Please contact me with any questions, comments, or concerns. 


Matt E

Matthew A Elsaesser, Commissioner
City of Helena, Montana, USA
MElsaesser at HelenaMT.Gov
406 4 three 1 zero 815

p.s. The following example of household hazardous waste collection was included with the above memo. 

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