For years eco-minded Montanans have lamented the lack of glass recycling in the state. We don't generate enough glass to lure bottling plants here, and we're generally too far away from existing plants to make hauling our glass out-of-state cost-effective. But if you're sending empty trucks out-of-state anyway, the math changes. It appears Target has figured that out.
Missoula's Target store has been accepting glass for recycling for months. But it seems few know about it. Store manager Katharine Foster-Keddie says every two weeks Target trailers that would otherwise return empty to the company's distribution center in Albany, Ore., are filled with glass and other recyclables customers drop off.
"My estimation for our store is probably about 200-300 pounds every time, but that can vary," Foster-Keddie says. "Sometimes we'll have guests drop off quite a bit at once, so that'll up the amount we send each week."
Foster-Keddie says she's unsure whether hauling the glass pays for itself or turns a profit for the company.
The recycling program isn't limited to Missoula. The company announced in April, on Earth Day, the launch of recycling stations in every store, including the Kalispell location.
"We know that eco-friendly living is top-of-mind for our guests, and the launch of store recycling stations allows us to continue to partner with them to curb unnecessary waste in our stores and our communities," said Shawn Gensch, Target's vice president of brand marketing. "Target is committed to the preservation of the environment and to giving our guests eco-friendly options that will help them live more sustainably."
The recycling stations are located at the front of each store, where, beyond glass, customers can drop aluminum, plastic bottles and bags, MP3 players, cell phones and ink cartridges.
According to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, the state generated an estimated 47,893 tons of glass in 2007. Roughly 500 tons of carbon dioxide wouldn't have entered the atmosphere had the tonnage been recycled.