Bag by bag, Recycle Our Waste Lewistown (ROWL) volunteers sorted and compacted plastic of all shapes and sizes on Friday morning.
Unfortunately, not everything could be recycled. Only number 1 and number 2 plastic gets compacted and sent to Billings to be recycled because that's all the company the program is currently working with will take.
It's better than the alternative, though, which had been the reality since the company that was previously taking the plastic shut down.
"We all got rid of the plastic we had and we took it out to the dump,” program manager Rosemary Kent said.
Kent said that reality is not something residents in and around Lewistown wanted to accept.
"When we shut down, I heard a lot from everyone about the disappointment of having it shut down and how painful it was to throw that milk jug in the trash,” Kent explained. He went to work and was able to find another company in Billings that would take the recycle.
The program officially restarted last week, but Friday was the first day processing plastic since the restart.
Jim Hamling is captain of the team of volunteers working Friday. With many of the volunteers being older, the work isn't always easy, but Hamling had a smile on his face all morning.
"A couple places bring us shrink wrap. We make a bale of that. They're easier to bale because we don't have to sort,” said Hamling. "Those bales are about 140 pounds or so, so it takes a couple of us to lift it off."
Like much of the plastic, the message is clear, Kent said: "This is our little part of the world and we can impact it in our own way here."