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“Refill not landfill” aims to stop Flathead County’s landfill from growing

Posted at 9:31 AM, May 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-03 11:31:45-04

WHITEFISH – A Whitefish woman wants to reduce the amount of waste in local landfills as the world gets more conscious of our impact on the environment.

Kelly Ordway wants to reduce what goes into local landfills by adopting the use of refillable water bottles.

She first heard of the idea when a friend of hers returned from a trip to Cambodia. Cambodia was having issues with tourists leaving tons of plastic water bottle waste.

Many in that country decided to use reusable water bottles to stop this from happening and Ordway decided to adopt that idea and start it in the Flathead Valley.

“It takes hundreds of years for it to break down, and as it breaks down it doesn’t just go away it breaks down into microplastics — that then animals and fish and stuff eat. So, it stays in our environment it doesn’t just disappear,” Ordway told MTN News.

Flathead County Landfill
The Flathead County Landfill on US Highway 93 North in Kalispell (MTN News photo)

She added that most water bottles end up being thrown away and land in the Flathead County Landfill. Ordway pointed out that 2.5 million water bottles are thrown away hourly.

According to Flathead County’s website, between 2017 and 2018 the total tonnage of waste increased by 24%.

Ordway encourages folks to refill, using your own reusable water bottles and coffee cups to avoid the possibility plastic ends up in the landfill.

There are various locations around the valley — including Nelson’s Ace Hardware in Whitefish and Sportsman Ski Haus in Kalispell — that have refillable water bottle stations.

Many of those locations also have options for reusable water bottles.