This is Why Billings Can’t Have Nice Things, But We Try
Trash for Trees in Billings
This city-run program was created more than 40 years ago that gathers aluminum cans and newspapers to purchase trees for local parks. Recyclables and a variety of materials were collected, but since then, the program now solely focuses on aluminum cans and newspapers. The city uses the money collected from the aluminum cans to grow trees for parks in Billings.
Recycling in Billings
We applaud anyone who's trying to make greener choices regarding their buying practices and their waste. However, some folks in Billings/Laurel are littering the recycle drop offs with trash. People are leaving Christmas trash, cardboard boxes, glass, and other waste in these receptacles.
This creates a huge problem because then the city has to filter out all the garbage, a very dirty job to do, before they can use the materials for nice things in Billings, like trees. The cans have to be clean in order to use them, so when people throw trash in with the cans and newspaper, they cannot be used.
A press release from the City of Billings states,
“It significantly diminishes the profitability of these bins, and occasionally requires us to discard contents of the entire bin, wasting the efforts of everyone that contributed clean materials,”
said Steven McConnell, city forester with Billings Parks and Recreation.
To help clarify this message, the program name “Trash for Trees” is no longer displayed on the bin, and instead reads “Turn Recyclables into Trees.”
While other recycling sites in Billings collect a wider variety of materials, Billings Parks and Recreation, along with the Solid Waste Division, ask that unbagged, clean cans and newspapers only be placed in the park bins. They are labeled with what goes in each bin- now time to follow instructions.
PSA: The bins previously located on King Avenue West in the Lowe’s parking lot has been relocated to Stewart Park due to the amount of misuse and garbage disposed at the former location. The city is asking you to STOP putting cardboard in these receptacles. We want trees!
Trash for Trees has collected 3.9 million pounds of newspapers and 68 tons of aluminum cans. The program has earned $112,060 since its inception and 2,152 trees have been purchased and planted.