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Butte's largest recycler closure to have large impact on community

By KTVM Staff
Published On: Dec 11 2013 06:27:23 PM MST
Updated On: Dec 11 2013 07:00:51 PM MST
BUTTE, Mont. -

One of Butte's largest recyclers is suspending operations. A & S Metals' California parent company made the announcement this week.

The city had a verbal agreement with A & S Metals. The company picked the city recycling in exchange for the material.

In September 2012, the zoning board approved expansion plans for A & S. The company was going to add glass recycling, but had to hire an engineer to address storm water run off issues. As of now A & S hasn't started recycling glass.

Two months later, OSHA announced $59,000 in fines for violations that included equipment without safety guards and overhead crane hazards. And last July there was a fire that damaged the building. Investigators blamed a extension cord plugged into vending machine.

A & S played a major role in Butte recycling. Butte-Silver Bow is scrambling to make sure the city can keep up with recycling needs.

Butte resident Hannah Salisbury used to recycle at A & S, but now she she has to go to multiple locations to get her recycling done.

"I have to go out to the dump," she said. "Here to the Civic Center, and there's one down on the corner near my house."

A & S manager Edward Wilcox told NBC Montana that A & S was the one recycling center that took all materials.

"Paper, plastic, cardboard, magazines, junk mail, and your regular, everyday scrap," he listed.

NBC Montana met manager Edward Wilcox to find out why the California parent company is closing down its Butte operations.

"They've been trying to keep it open," Wilcox said. "But it's not efficient for them to keep it open because its too far away."

Director of Butte-Silver Bow Community Enrichment Department Ed Randall told NBC Montana after they heard the news, the chief executive called a meeting to find a solution.

"We stepped up and are solving the problem and utilizing all our resources, other recycling centers," he said.

Recycling centers like Aware Inc., H & H, and Pacific Steel are helping to keep recycling going in the community.

"Everyone's trying to pick up the slack right now with everything going on," Wilcox said.

The city has set up bins throughout the city for the time being. People can bring their paper and plastic, but will have to go to another recycler for metals.

"Were trying as hard as we can to direct people to some of the other recyclers," Wilcox said.

And as for residents like Salisbury -- "I just have to make a few more stops to get it done," she said.