Think & Make Deliberate Choices:

Buy products with minimal packaging. Choose items that are durable, reusable and will have a long useful life. Bring reusable bags when you go shopping.

  • Junk Mail – Opt-out online here and here
  • Phone Books – Opt-out online here
  • Batteries – Use rechargeable batteries instead of single use.
  • New Purchases – Rent or borrow instead of buying. Repair instead of throwing out.
  • No Paper Bills – Switch to on-line bill paying
  • Light bulbs – Switch to Compact Fluorescents (CFLs) (10,000 hrs,) or even better LED lights (60,000 hrs) instead of old incandescents (1,500 hrs).
  • Food waste – 20 percent of food bought in the US ends up right back in the trash. Plan meals well, and waste as little food as you can!

Two lives are better than one!

Exchange Online:

  • Craigslist: tons of postings. Browse the free section, or sell and buy goods.
  • Freecycle: free exchange of goods in the Gallatin Valley. Very active group, with many posts every day.
Bozeman, Montana upcycling

Toys creatively reused as planters
Photo: HEAP Bozeman


Bozeman’s Reusing Hub: HEAP Bozeman

The Human Empowered Arts Project (HEAP) Bozeman is your local hub for reusing, aka “upcycling” creativity and wisdom.  See their website for fantastic reuse ideas, make sure to catch their column in Montana Parent Magazine, and try to catch one of the many workshops they hold for kids AND adults. They organize a Thrift Cooperative, which offers coupons and a great map for various stores.

Reclaimed Home & Building Materials

  • Bathroom fixtures, tile, hardware, cookware: ReStore of Habitat for Humanity
  • Lumber: many contractors can help you source reclaimed lumber for construction projects.
  • Construction and Industrial Materials: The Montana Materials Exchange is a hub for exchanging these items; the forum is little used at this point, however.

Thrift Stores in the Bozeman Area

  • Bozeman Community Thrift Center, 7717 Shedhorn Drive, Bozeman, (406) 586-5261
  • Goodwill Industries, 2130 Simmental Way, Bozeman, (406) 586-2045
  • Nu 2 U Thrift, 431 North 7th Avenue  Bozeman, (406) 585-9031
  • Re-Compute Computers, http://www.recomputecomputers.com/Bozo.html
  • Rethink Thrift, 2630 West Main Street #2, Bozeman, (406) 219-7177
  • Restore – Habitat for Humanity, www.habitatbozeman.org/bozeman-restore/restore, Belgrade
  • Sacks Thrift Store, www.sacksthrift.org, Bozeman & Belgrade
  • Salvation Army, 32 South Rouse Avenue, Bozeman, (406) 586-9051

Consignment Shops:

  • Catwalk, 1005 West Main Street, Bozeman, (406) 585-9952
  • Consignment Cabin in Big Sky, 48025 Gallatin Rd, Big Horn Center #2  Big Sky, (406) 993-9333
  • Encore Again, 1008 N 7th Suite C, Bozeman, (406) 587-9684
  • Head West, www.headwestbozeman.com
  • Re-Couture, www.recoutureboutique.com
  • Second Impression, 1662 Bobcat Drive, Bozeman, (406) 585-0700
  • Second Wind, 15 West Olive Street, Bozeman, (406) 586-7441

Annual Free Latex Paint Swap

Gallatin County sponsors a latex paint swap once a year at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds. Dispose of your unused, or get free paint!

Library Magazine Exchange

The Bozeman Public Library encourages patrons to bring in magazines under 6 months old to share with others. Take and leave them as you please – all for free. The bins are located in the library’s entry. No catalogues or newspapers please!

Library Book Sale

The Friends of the Library hosts several sales of used books throughout the year, to support the many activities of the library. They accept donations of used books, and some magazines. For timing of sales, or to see what donations are accepted, see the library’s website.

Residential Curbside Programs:

* Programs offer glass recycling

Commercial Recycling:

Drop-off Locations

Where to Recycle Special Materials in the Gallatin Valley.

Bear Spray
The National Park Service recycles bear spray in Yellowstone. Containers are collected in Bozeman by Montana FWP, Bob Ward’s, REI, Yellowstone Gateway Sports, YNP, and many locations in Gardener and West Yellowstone.  More info.

Small Propane Containers
Yellowstone National Park at many park campgrounds

Hazardous Household Waste
Read recommendations from the county on what to do with different hazardous substances.
Accepted (no fee) for residents at the Bozeman Convenience Site on Story Mill Road on the 2nd Saturday each month from 9am to noon. Check the Gallatin County website for details. Commercial sources require pre-approval: call 587-7890.

E-Waste: Electronics
Read recommendations from the county on what to do with electronic waste (second page).

E-waste is collected at the Logan Landfill. Check the Gallatin County website for details, and to see a list of local stores that accept E-waste as well. Electronics – computers, cell phones, televisions, etc – all require special disposal.

City Compost Collection

From May to August, City of Bozeman Solid Waste customers take advantage of free grass and yard trimming collection service. The collected yard material is composted by the Solid Waste Division and is then used to help with re-vegetation efforts at the closed Story Mill Landfill. Check the website for collection details and dates.

Curbside Collection
The City offers compost collection every spring at no cost, for regular City of Bozeman Solid Waste customers. Check the dates on the city website, and simply leave a clearly labeled bag or can of compostable yard materials in your normal trash collection spot.

Convenience Site Drop-Off
Compost and yard trimmings can also be taken to the Bozeman Convenience Site on Story Mill Road for a fee. See the City website for specific dates and hours.

Turning Compost

Turning compost
Photo: Kathy Powell

Home Composting
Composting prevents organic materials from going to landfills, which saves valuable landfill space and prevents these materials from producing methane as they decompose, a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide.  Leaves, yard materials, grass clippings and food scraps can all be recycled into a rich soil conditioner by composting. Read more about composting in this Composting Basics Guide, the MSU Extension Composting publication, or take a composting class (many are offered in the spring)! If you are ready to get started, watch for the spring Home Compost Bin Sale. By purchasing The Home Composter in bulk, the City of Bozeman is able to offer a high-quality and affordable compost bin to residents.

Montana Tax Deduction for Buying Organic Fertilizer
Taxpayers (personal and business deduction) may deduct the cost of organic fertilizers such as compost, that are produced in Montana and used in Montana. Learn more here.

Grasscycling: Cut it High and Let it Lie
Grasscycling refers to leaving grass clippings on the lawn where they break down and provide a free nitrogen fertilizer. No need to send it to the landfill compost, when it can benefit your lawn instead!

Let your lawn grow a little taller.  Then cut it to 2 1/2 to 3 inches high.  Mulching mowers or a retrofitted mulching blade will help with grasscycling. Reduce your yard waste.This helps grow deeper roots and shade out weeds.  Mow frequently enough to remove 1/3 of the grass blades and leave them on the lawn to decompose and return free nitrogen to the soil.  Mulching mowers do this job best. No, blades of grass do not cause thatch.  Over fertilization and over watering cause thatch, the build- up of dead, non–decomposed roots and stems.  A little thatch is good (up to 1/2 inch) because it protects the soil surface and helps conserve water.

Keep Mower Blade sharp. Avoid tearing the grass with a dull blade. Tearing results in a whitish cast to the lawn and makes grass more vulnerable to disease.

Aerate lawn every 2 to 3 years with a coring machine, which removes cores 1/2 to 3/8 inches in diameter and 3 to 4 inches deep.  Aerating works best when soil is moist so tines can penetrate.

Top 5 Disposables to Avoid:

  • Paper Coffee Cups: Made from trees, bleached white with Chlorine, emit methane when in the landfill, are not recyclable, and do a shoddy job of keeping drinks hot.
  • Styrofoam To-Go Containers: Styrene, its main component, is a carcinogen. Do you really want your food sitting in that? It never breaks down in the landfill: only breaks into smaller pieces.
  • Plastic and Paper Shopping Bags: Paper uses more energy and creates more water pollution during production. Plastic is made from non-renewable fossil fuels, it never decomposes, clogs recycling systems, and kills wildlife. This is a lose-lose situation – reusable bags for the win!
  • Bottled Water: Only 60 to 70% percent of water used in bottling plants ends up in the bottles. Seventeen million barrels of oil every year are used for the plastic bottles. Only 20% percent of the bottles are recycled. In the US alone, more than 60 million plastic water bottles are thrown away EACH DAY. The choice here is just as clear as Bozeman’s phenomenal tap water.
  • Plastic Utensils and Paper Napkins: An estimated 40 billion non-recyclable, petroleum-based utensils are thrown away in the US every year. Plastic utensils can not be recycled.

Source:  Ecocycle

Did we forget a great local resource? Let us know!