From recycling to taking the bus or biking, sustainability is a way of life in Missoula, but getting started can be a daunting task.
So here’s a primer on how to save the planet (and get around town without a car).
For new students, campus is the starting place to find food, recreation, new friends and even recycling.
The University of Montana has recycling bins scattered across campus, mostly near residence halls and outside the University Center. The university recycles white and pastel colored paper, magazines, newspaper, plastic bottles, and aluminum and tin cans, according to the UM recycling guide, available on their website.
Cardboard can be recycled in large bins behind Knowles and Craig Halls and the library, or it can be broken down and left between bins at any recycling location. Plastic bottles must have lids removed and can only be #1 (PETE) or uncolored #2 (HDPE).
A Republic Services recycling center is located at 3207 W. Broadway, near North Reserve Street, for students who live off campus, or in case of any extra recycling needs.
Recycling glass can be tough in Missoula, but there are options for the devoted recycler. Glass can be recycled at the Target store on North Reserve, in bins located near the store entrance.
Recyclers are asked to turn in clean bottles with no lids, corks or other material, to prevent contamination.
Bayern Brewery runs an ecoleague program that allows residents to return standard brown bottles in a Bayern ecopack box for a refund. Bottles with embossing or screw tops are not accepted. Bayern offers 5 cents for each bottle returned to the brewery, according to its website, and exchanges the ecopack, which can be returned at any time for a full refund.
Transportation in Missoula can be a breeze, even without a car. The city and university both offer options for free and cheap transportation, including buses, bicycle rentals and trails to help travel from one place to another.
All buses in Missoula are free to ride, any time, anywhere, although none run on Sunday.
UDASH, which is owned and run by the Associated Students of the University of Montana, runs five color-coordinated lines to student housing, off-campus parking lots, downtown and several other destinations, according to ASUM Transportation’s website. All UDASH buses stop on campus and at several places along their routes, making them useful for students living near a line.
Bus tracking is available by visiting the UDASH website or at bus stops by texting stop-specific codes to learn what buses are coming in the next few minutes. The Gold Line runs downtown at night and on the weekends, but like all UDASH buses, it only runs during school, not on breaks or days off.
The university also offers students several bike rental options, ranging from free, single-speed UBikes, which are available to rent for up to two days at the front desk of Mansfield Library, to semester-long rentals from the Office of Transportation.
The ASUM Office of Transportation’s semester rental prices range from $40 to $60, depending on the model. All bikes come with lights, lock, helmet and maintenance during the rental. Bicycles can be reserved online or in the ASUM offices in the University Center.
The Mountain Line bus system covers 12 routes crisscrossing the city, from the airport to the mall and into the South Hills. All buses have bike racks on the front and two lines offer 15-minute BOLT! service. Mountain Line offers bus tracking through an app, available on iPhone and Android.
Cyclists can make use of Mountain Line’s bike repair stations, which include a bike stand with tools attached, an air compressor and a vending machine with spare parts and healthy snacks. Bike stations are on campus (behind the Liberal Arts building), as well as at Lewis and Clark Villages, Southgate Mall, Missoula Public Library and the downtown Mountain Line transfer center.
Missoula's riverfront trail system can be useful for getting around town without dealing with traffic.
Running along both sides of the Clark Fork River, the trails run from campus to downtown Missoula and the south side hooks up with the Milwaukee Trail, which runs all the way to Reserve Street.
There are two pedestrian bridges near campus, the Van Buren Street Bridge and the Madison Street footbridge, which connect with the riverfront trails.
For more information, visit the listed websites.