Recycling in Helena

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Have recycling questions? We have answers. 

When it comes to recycling in Helena, you have options!

If you prefer the convenience of curbside recycling, city and valley residents can use Helena Recycling. They accept most recycled materials such as plastics #1 & #2, aluminum, cardboard, paper, and glass. If you’re a city resident, the cost is $8.00 a month.

If you’re more of a “do-it-yourselfer,” you can take your recyclable items to a drop off location. There are two options for drop off recycling. The Transfer Station accepts a majority of recyclables: aluminum, cardboard, glass containers, newspaper, plastics #1 & #2, plus more listed on their website. However, off-site drop off locations are limited in what they can accept. Steel, aluminum cans, office paper, corrugated cardboard are acceptable; glass and plastics are not. Residents can take advantage of these locations by going to Safeway, Lewis & Clark County Fairgrounds, Boeing, or across from Dale Harris Park. 

Have you ever wondered where your recyclables go once they made it in the bin? One thing you can rest assured with is that if you properly recycled an item, it won’t end up in our landfill. Whether your recycled materials were picked up or dropped off, their next destination is a processing center. There it is baled and shipped to respective recycling mills across the nation.

If a recycled item finds its way to the Helena landfill, it’s because it was contaminated. For instance, if cardboard is mixed with household waste, handling procedures require that it goes to the landfill. Follow our best practices to ensure your recyclables don’t end up there!

Best Practices for Recycling:

  • Materials and containers must be clean to be recycled.
    • While all bottles, cans, and containers should be clean, dry, and free of most food waste before you place them in your recycling container, they don’t need to be spotless. The goal is to make sure they are clean enough to avoid contaminating other materials, like paper. Try using a spatula to scrape cans and jars, or using a small amount of water and shake to remove most residue.
  • Flattened Cardboard.
    • Breakdown and flatten cardboard to ensure there is room for more materials to fit into the recycling bin. Ensure cardboard is not contaminated by food or organic matter. No lightweight cardboard or paperboard, please.
  • Paper
    • White or pastel office paper is accepted in the same bin as the newspaper and magazines, stapled paper is okay. Envelopes with windows are also accepted.
  • Magazines
    • Nothing thicker than a Reader's Digest (about ½" thick). 
  • Container Glass
    • Please do not put anything into the glass container except glass containers, bottles, jars, etc. If unsure please ask scale attendant or recycling attendant. (No windows, plastic bags, six pack holders, etc.  These items will contaminate the load.)
  • Newspaper
    • Loose newsprint. Do not bundle. Inserts and advertisements do not need to be removed.  No plastic bags in with newspapers.
  • Plastics
    • The City of Helena accepts Type #1 Clear & Tinted Plastic Bottles, Type #1 Clear Trays (Fruit & Baked Goods Trays), Type #2 Natural Color Plastic (Opaque, Translucent, Milk Jugs) Type #2 Solid Color Plastics (Laundry, Juice, Soap Bottles). Effective immediately Plastics # 1 and #2 will be mixed and can be thrown into the same container. As before we are only accepting Plastics #1 and #2. No BLACK #1 or #2 PLASTIC accepted !!
  • Steel Cans
    • Tin and steel food cans. Labels are okay. Please rinse well.
  • E-Waste Recycling
    • Residential permits are required. For customers without a residential permit, E-Waste Recycling is a cash transaction. The weight of E-Waste items is deducted from the permit's allowance.  As of July 1st, 2017 the Transfer Station will no longer accept CRT computer monitors or CRT TV's, console televisions or projection televisions. These items must be thrown in the pit. Tipping Customers will pay the current disposal fees for E-waste Recycling. Commercial customers and Out of Area E-Waste recyclers will pay the current Transfer Station rate on the weight brought in.
  • Car Batteries
    • Please store in an upright position and place in designated container, in the Recycling are, next to the oil structure
  • Waste Oil
    • Accepted from residential users in quantities of 5 gallons or less per visit to the Transfer Station, pour oil in designated spot, or leave oil jug in marked area for attendant to empty.
  • Antifreeze
    • Accepted in quantities of 5 gallons or less. Do not mix with other liquids.
  • E-Waste Recycling Options
    • Old Town Computers; contact Joe at 443-3072 for more information. NO CRT'S


Image of bundled recycled materials.