Unsecured recyclables lead to Bozeman litter


Unsecured recyclables lead to Bozeman...

BOZEMAN, Mont. - Some Bozeman residents are concerned loose recyclables are leading to more litter around the city.

We visited several recycling drop-off locations put up by Gallatin County Solid Waste Management. Those locations include the Montana Import Group on Frontage Road, Home Depot on 19th, and Wal-Mart on 7th. All see different levels of use and clutter.

Residents say one location in particular, the softball complex on Highland Road, has some folks concerned.

Bozeman resident Chris Pearsons took pictures of the complex just before a city-wide cleanup effort in late April, showing misplaced recyclables scattered around the area.

Video we took next to nearby recycling containers Thursday morning shows a similar situation.

"Couple weeks later it's covered in trash again," Pearsons said.

Pearsons says the issue is that before items are placed in the proper container, they can easily blow away. He went on to say, "I think one piece at a time, people just don't go after it and it just builds up."

He's worried trash is overtaking the places his children play. And other recyclers in the area have noticed the problem.

John Belshaw said, "It sort of does upset me. You would think people would put the trash where it belongs."

But the issue isn't isolated to the softball complex. We found the same problem at bins off Frontage Road and at a vacant lot next to bins near Home Depot off 19th.

Gallatin County Solid Waste Management tells NBC Montana it's a problem this time of year, when warm weather uncovers trash hidden by winter snow.

District Manager Jim Simon says crews are, "Trying to get to the sites and get them cleaned up as quickly as possible."

Simon tells us blowing wind is just part of a problem made worse by improper disposal of items that can fill up bins before scheduled pickup, saying those, "Add to the mess, they add to the cost and they make it difficult."

One location had a unique solution, a wind screen preventing items from blowing away. Simon says that was put up at special request and isn't currently being implemented at other sites.

Simon explained, "The wind blows from all directions, so where do you invest the capital and the infrastructure."

But Pearsons says that recycling all comes down to personal awareness and accountability.

He said, "We all have a responsibility to clean up the area that we live in, you know? And I think we should take pride in the place that we live."

Gallatin County Solid Waste Management asks that if you do see a recycling area in need of clean up call their offices. Their contact information can be found here.

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