Thursday, April 30, 2009

S.A.V.E. AmeriCorps Position to work on Recycling Infrastructure

Montana Campus Compact AmeriCorps*VISTA

The VISTA will work directly with S.A.V.E. to expand recycling opportunities and work with other environmental organizations around the state to develop model, low-cost programs that can be established and dublicated for schools and low-income housing initiatives. This project focuses on community building and increasing the standard of living for low-income residents. The scope of this project would build long-term, model-recycling programs and provide outreach for schools and low-income residents who may not have resources to be involved in current recycling efforts, such as lack of access to a vehicle. This project will partner with residents in Helena and networks across the state that help other organizations working to bring recycling to schools, the elderly, and other non-profit organizations. Positive sentiment for community action can lead to effectively addressing other community and environmental needs including individual awareness to reduce and reuse, as well as recycle.

Time Commitment: July2009-July2010

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Trash for Trees & S.A.V.E Fundraiser Saturday and more! / New Daily Habits!

Earth Day Fundraiser!
S.A.V.E. will be holding an Earth Day Fundraiser on April 25th from 6-9pm at Exploration Works featuring live music by Sassafras Stomp and silent auction by Clay Arts Guild.

Trash for Trees
Trash for Trees will be held from 9am-4pm at Northgate Plaza on Montana Avenue on Saturday, April 25th.

Business Recycling Route
To green your office sign up to be on our business recycling route at or call us at 406.449.6008!

Energy Conservation Fair at Capitol!
The Montana Department of Labor and Industry will hold an Energy Conservation Fair at the Capitol on Earth Day, April 22nd from 9am-3pm.

Planet Earth Series at Carroll
S.A.V.E. will be playing the BBC's Planet Earth Series at Simperman Auditorium on the Carroll Campus from 7-9pm April 26th, May 3rd, and May 10th.

Legislative Update
An update on bills S.A.V.E. worked on as a primary proponent over the session.

Joint Resolution 28
A joint resolution requesting an interim study on recycling and solid waste recovery.

New Daily Habits!
The latest edition of Daily Habits can now be viewed online at

New AmeriCorps and Summer Positions with S.A.V.E.
S.A.V.E. still has three summer AmeriCorps positions and one full-time AmeriCorps VISTA position open, visit if interested!

For more information on these stories, read below.

Earth Day Fundraiser!
Saturday, April 25th, S.A.V.E. will be holding an Earth Day celebration fundraiser. This event will be held from 6-9pm at Exploration Works in the Great Northern Town Center. This fundraiser will include a silent auction with the Clay Arts Guild, live music by Sassafras Stomp, recycling and policy information, beverages and snacks provided, with beer and wine for purchase. This fundraiser will be in support of our expanding plastic recycling program and events across Helena. We need continued community support as we build a more sustainable recycling program. The economic recession has caused major cuts in our commodity revenues.

Trash for Trees!
On Saturday, April 25th, S.A.V.E. along with Growing Friends of Helena will be holding Trash for Trees from 9am-4pm at Northgate Plaza on Montana Avenue. Items recycled at this event include newspapers, magazines, corrugated cardboard, glass, aluminum and steel cans, type 1 and 2 plastics, cell phones, print cartridges, and rechargeable batteries found in cell phones and power tools. The recycled items will raise money to support expanded recycling and planting trees across the community. Our next Plastics Drive will be May 1st-4th. Volunteers are needed for both events! Sign up at or give us a call at 406.449.6008!

Business Recycling Route
S.A.V.E. would like to announce the expansion of our business recycling route! We currently recycle corrugated cardboard, office paper and newspaper, glass, plastics, and aluminum for many businesses around town. If you are interested in greening your office sign up to be on our business recycling route at or give us a call at
406.449.6008. Pick up fees are between $10 and $25 depending on amount recycled and frequency of pick ups. Bins can also be leased from us for the year!

Energy Conservation Fair at Capitol!
The Montana Department of Labor and Industry is proud to sponsor the 2009 Energy Conservation Fair including the latest energy saving technologies, representatives from solar and wind energy companies, insulation contractors, heating companies, Northwestern Energy, and more! Join us in the Capitol Rotunda from 9am-3pm on Earth Day, April 22nd! S.A.V.E. will be recycling at this event and also have our newest edition of Daily Habits and gray water and recycling information!

Planet Earth Series at Carroll
Throughout the month of April and into May, S.A.V.E. is also showing the BBC Planet Earth Series. Join us Sunday Evening April 26th, and May 3rd and 10th from 7-9pm at Simperman Auditorium on the Carroll College Campus. This amazing series takes you from pole to pole, deep in the ocean, to the tops of mountains and inside caves for an in depth look into our amazing planet Earth.

Legislative Update
S.A.V.E. worked on several bills this session, often as a primary proponent. With gray water, recycling, green building, and low carbon fuels, opportunities exist to continue working with rule-making, finding additional partners, and working with local governments. Governor Schweitzer signed or will sign the following bills that S.A.V.E. worked on: HB 285, authorize use of gray water in commercial and multifamily structures; HB 21, repeal termination date for recycling tax incentives; HB 416, exempt biodiesel made from vegetable oil from state road tax; HB 420, allow local governments to adopt incentive based energy conservation codes; SB 73, revise laws on medium-speed electric vehicles; and SB 424, control disposal of mercury thermostats. Joint Resolution 28, an interim study on recycling and solid waste in Montana, has recently passed through the House! At the end of the session, legislators rank all the studies by their priority. The top studies get selected and funded. Please let your legislator know you support this choice!

New Daily Habits!
Our latest edition of Daily Habits has just been printed and will be sent out to our mailing list and set out at businesses around town! This edition includes a Legislative Update, Upcoming Events, Information on an Online Technology Course, and an announcement of our expanded business recycling route! If you would like to view this online visit or sign up for our mail list by calling 406.449.6008 or visiting

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Friday, April 03, 2009

Gray Water article in the Montana Standard after signing of House Bill 285 on March 25, 2009.

To read the original article click here.

Gray water law is a good step forward

By The Montana Standard Staff - 04/01/2009

On this subject, lawmakers reached near unanimity: If the owners of Montana homes, businesses and apartment buildings want to help conserve water, they should be free to do so.

In that spirit they passed House Bill 285, which allows installation of gray water re-use systems in businesses and multi-family dwellings. A 2007 law made the systems legal for single-family homes.

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Michelle Reinhart, D-Missoula, and only one fellow lawmaker voted against it - Rep. Ron Stoker, R-Darby. Gov. Brian Schweitzer signed it into law March 25.

Gray water systems are designed to capture and reuse the flow from bathroom sinks, showers, tubs and clothes washing machines. The water can be minimally treated and then used to flush toilets or irrigate landscaping - just not fruit and vegetable gardens.

Water from toilets, kitchen sinks and dishwashers continues to flow into sewer or septic systems as it does now.

According to the fiscal note on the Legislature's Web site, this bill will have no impact on taxpayers since the Department of Environmental Quality has already drafted rules and design guidelines for gray water re-use systems in all these applications. Existing staff would review systems proposed for new subdivisions in conjunction with review of all other wastewater system components.

A Helena-based group called Student Advocates for Valuing the Environment Foundation was a key backer of both this bill and the one in 2007. S.A.V.E. Foundation Director Matt Elsaesser called the passage "a tribute to the legislative process that has brought forth a great opportunity to conserve water." By some estimates, gray water accounts for between 50 and 80 percent of household wastewater. Re-using it, especially during Montana's increasingly hot, dry summers when rivers and reservoirs can get dangerously low, makes good sense.

Systems are especially ideal for new construction since they require unusual plumbing configurations, but retrofits are possible, especially in cases where pipes run through open, unfinished basements.

Chris Borton of Sage Mountain Center, between Butte and Whitehall, has first-hand experience with gray water reuse for land- scaping. The sustainable living education and demonstration facility also captures rainwater for later reuse.

"Anytime you can collect and re-channel water, it's that much less you have to pump out of the aquifer or that much less you have to pay for if you're on a meter," Borton said.

Rainwater reuse can be as simple as posi-tioning a 55-gallon drum under a gutter, he said. At Sage Mountain, all their downspouts are strategically placed to water landscaping.

As Montana's water resources become increasingly stretched, conservation will grow in importance as a coping strategy. In passing this bill, lawmakers have demonstrated that they're thinking ahead to those days and making sure the law won't get in the way of the right thing to do.