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In order to continue to keep recyclables out of the landfill and keep solid waste assessment fees down, please only recycle allowable waste and follow appropriate recycling techniques. 

In 2022 the City of Helena was able to divert 6,760 tons of waste away from the landfill:

         2246 Tons from Recycling:                                                          

  • 32 tons of Aluminum
  • 19 tons of Tin
  • 238 tons of Glass 
  • 63 tons of Plastic
  • 190 tons of Paper
  • 3 tons of Electronic Waste
  • 618 tons of Household Appliances
  • 919 tons of Cardboard
  • 100 tons of Tires
  • 15 tons of Automotive and Lithium Batteries
  • 36 tons of Motor Oil
  • 10 tons of Antifreeze

4513 Tons from Composting

  • 2217 tons of Yard Waste (tree limbs, grass clippings, leaves)
  • 11 tons of Christmas Trees
  • 1905 tons of Biosolids
  • 380 of Landfill Compost  

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How Do I Recycle?

The City of Helena offers several different recycling options:

  • City of Helena and Scratch Gravel Residents pay for recycling through residential solid waste fees, and can bring their recycling to the Transfer Station at no cost. Bring your recyclables to the Transfer Station with your solid waste permit, let the attendant know you are bringing recyclables, and you won't be charged. 
  • City renters who reside in 4-plex or smaller are eligible for a Renters Recycling Permit. Contact the Transfer Station for this.
  • If neither of these options apply you can still recycle at the Transfer Station as a cash customer. Our minimum charge is $6.00 and that allows you to recycle up to 200 lbs. The price will go up from that point. Our current per ton charge is $56.75. For more information on this, go to the Permits, Rate and Allowable Waste Page.
  • Bring recycling to any drop-off location, at no cost.

What Can I Recycle?

Please do not leave recyclables in plastics bags. 

  • Corrugated Cardboard- Remove all packing and break boxes down flat. No lightweight cardboard or paperboard.
  • Aluminum- Beverage cans, TV dinner trays, foil, and food containers.
  • Steel Cans-Tin and steel food cans. Labels are okay.
  • Mixed Container Glass- Clear, brown and green glass may be mixed. All lids, corns and flow-control inserts must be removed and disposed of
    • Rinse containers with water and leave no food residue in the recyclable containers.
    • Ensure recyclables are clean, dry, and empty after rinse. 
  • Newspaper- Inserts and ads accepted.
  • Office Paper- White and pastel colors only
  • Magazines- Nothing thicker than ½ “. No books or large catalogs.
  • Plastics- #1 Clear Bottles, #1 Clear Trays, #2 Milk Jugs & #2 Colored. Rinsed/No Lids.
    • No black Plastics accepted!
  • Lithium Batteries- Store in an upright position and place in designated container in recycling area.
  • Motor Oil- Accepted from residential users in quantities of 5 gallons or less per customer per day.  Do not mix antifreeze or other liquids. Cooking oil is not accepted. 
  • Antifreeze- Accepted in quantities of 5 gallons or less per customer per day. Do not mix with other liquids.
  • Electronics Waste Recycling- E-Waste is accepted in the recycling area.  No monitor screens of TVs of any sort will be accepted.  The weight of the E-Waste materials will be deducted from the permit allowance.
  • Yard Waste- Tree limbs, lawn clippings, leaves etc. 


Off-Site Recycling Drop off Locations

There a several off-site recycling locations around the City. Please note that these locations only accept Steel and Aluminum Cans, Newspapers, Magazines, White & Pastel office paper and Corrugated Cardboard. No Plastic or Glass is accepted at any drop-off locations, please take these directly to the Transfer Station. 

Off-Site Recycling Locations:

  • Safeway – 611 N Montana Ave
  • Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds – 98 W Custer Ave
  • Boeing – 3200 Skyway Dr, just past the Airport.
  • Across from Dale Harris Park (Dale Harris Park Address is 279 S Cruse Ave)
  • Grub Stake, 1450 Lincoln Rd West
  • Canyon Ferry Mini-Basket, 3012 Canyon Ferry Rd

Recycling Myth Busters

1. Myth: “Recycling is pointless… It just ends up in the landfill anyways.”

BUSTED! If recycled correctly, your recyclables do not end up in the landfill. The City of Helena has contracts with several organizations such as Pacific Steel, Marks Lumber, and Momentum Recycling to name a few. These commodities are processed, transported to a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) and reused in a varied of ways.  

2. Myth: “If an item is placed in the recycle bin, it will end up getting recycled.”  

BUSTED! This is called “Wish Cycling” (putting something in the recycling bin and hoping it will be recycled because it makes you feel good). This ends up creating more waste, is more costly, and can cause entire loads to be sent to the landfill. Please only recycle accepted items. 

3. Myth: “Recycling is hard.”

BUSTED! No. No it isn’t... come on. 



Residential Curbside Recycling

Helena Recycling LLC, in partnership with the City of Helena, provides curbside recycling a for fee. You can sign up directly on their website.  

For questions regarding pick-ups, route schedules or for more information, please contact Helena Recycling LLC at 406-457-2437 



Additional Recycling Events

Spring Latex Paint Exchange Drop-Off : April 14th-21st

From 8am-4:15pm, usable latex paint can be dropped off at the Transfer Station. Please remember to bring your Residential Solid Waste Permit. Materials from businesses or commercial haulers will not be accepted. Oil based paints, solvents, and other liquids should be air-dried or solidified in sand or kitty litter for disposal. 

Spring Latex Paint Exchange Pick-Up: April 23rd-29th 

From 8am-4:15pm, latex paint can be picked up at the Transfer Station. Please remember to bring your Residential Solid Waste Permit. See you then! 



Recycling Guides



Strategic Plan for Waste Reduction

Cover of the Strategic Plan for Waste Reduction

In 2020 the City, working with Zero Waste Associates, developed a strategic plan to help Helena achieve at least 50% solid waste diversion from the landfill by 2040. The City gathered public input on waste reduction strategies and finalized the plan to present to the Commission.

Click Here to View Strategic Plan for Waste Reduction (PDF, 20MB)