Collective Services

We provide services to second-hand industries.
reduce > reuse > recycle. rethink.


What We Do

Intelligent recycling services

Recycling is smart. It conserves natural resources, increases productivity, creates jobs, and saves us all money in the long run. It is one important part of making a sustainable society.

It's a great idea, but we've only begun to scratch the surface of its potential. Most reusable and recycleable material ends up in the waste stream rather than the reuse and recycling stream.

Collective Services wants to rethink recycling. We know that there is a huge demand for post-consumer goods and materials, and a strong willingness among consumers to supply that demand. What's missing is a way of bringing them together.

Collective Services is changing that. We partner with businesses, community groups, non-profits, government organizations, and citizens to save goods from the landfill, and we leverage our knowledge of regional, national, and international markets to get them where they are needed. While we specialize in textile reuse and recycling, we provide a comprehensive recycling service.

With savvy and commitment, we are making recycling work.

Collection services

We help businesses, organizations, and communities dispose of recyclable and reusable materials in a responsible manner while considerably reducing their disposal costs. On average, the groups we serve experience a reduction by half in waste management costs. Everything we collect is sorted first for reuse, then for recycling; less than 5% of what we collect goes to the landfill. Our service is completely free of charge to your organization. We provide all necessary storage containers, bins, and the like, and we collect from them on a frequent basis, tailored to suit your needs.

We collect a wide variety of goods and materials. Generally anything that might be donated to and resold by a secondhand store is accepted. We do not currently accept furniture). We intend to be the first comprehensive recycling service in our region, so as we continue to grow, we will begin accepting even more types of recyclables. Please read our current list of items we accept.

Get started today!


We can provide a consistent supply of credential and institutional textiles. We insist on shipping high-quality goods. We can be flexible with the mix we send you, based on your needs.

If you are interested in finding out more about what we can supply, please contact us.

Areas we serve

We're currently operating hubs in Billings, Helena, Bozeman/Livingston, and elsewhere. Check back soon for a comprehensive list, including fully interactive map.

Why It Matters

reduce > reuse > recycle. rethink.

‘Reduce, reuse, recycle’ is the accepted waste management hierarchy, describing an approach that reaps the maximum benefit from material resources while generating the minimum amount of waste. To this we would add another ‘R’: rethink.

There has been a welcome upsurge in attention given to recycling in recent years. Unfortunately there hasn't been as great an emphasis on reuse. Reuse is less energy-intensive and generates less waste than recycling goods into materials. Collecting for reuse helps those in developing countries supply themselves with the necessities of living. And collection for reuse produces more jobs than any other form of waste management.

Collective Services is all about applying practical intelligence to the problems of waste, especially when there is a poorly met need in much of the world for what is being discarded, and the waste directly and indirectly harms our shared environment. We focus strongly on diverting goods from the waste stream for reuse, only resorting to recycling materials when reuse is impossible. And our reuse/recycling model involves extending collection services deeply into less-populated areas which have previously been neglected.

Please read our White Paper, Textile Reuse and Recycling As an Environmentally and Socially Responsible Practicepdf icon, for an in-depth analysis of how textile recycling benefits people and their environment. If you're interested in recycling in general, you can keep abreast of the latest recycling news by browsing our news feeds.

Environmental Benefits

The depositing of waste in landfills has numerous primary and secondary negative effects on the natural environment.

Primary effects

  • Loss of natural habitat: Textiles in the landfill, in common with many other ostensibly bio-degradable items, will decompose very slowly in the extant anaerobic conditions, and considering their large bulk, occupy a significant space in the landfill, contributing to landfill growth.
  • Pollution: To the extent that it does decompose, textile waste is converted into methane gas, which must be burnt, releasing polluting combustion products, or released into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming and climate change.

Secondary effects

  • Replacement: Serviceable clothing that is not reused must be replaced with new clothing. The production of this clothing is energy-intensive, creates its own pollution, puts pressure on virgin resources, & calls for the use of large quantities of dyes and fixing agents which are harmful to the environment.
  • Transportation: The transportation of both the raw materials and finished product constitutes a considerable environmental burden in terms of energy consumption as well as pollution.

For Collective Services, the primary emphasis is on reuse. Over 95% of what we collect is reused, the majority of the remainder recycled. Together, these practices fill a demand that would otherwise require the environmentally harmful process of manufacturing and distributing new products, most from manufacturers operating under lax environmental standards, while also keeping tons of perfectly good material out of the landfill, mitigating both the primary and secondary effects of landfill dumping.

See our white paperpdf icon for references and more detail.

Meeting Needs

The majority of textiles that are reclaimed will ultimately find their way to populations enduring economic hardship, predominantly in developing countries. There is a strong need amongst these peoples—who must subsist in the best of times on an income that is only a small fraction of that enjoyed by citizens of wealthy industrialized nations—for affordable clothing, shoes, and other common items such as books and household items.

Textile reclamation has an undeniably salutary effect on the lives of consumers in developing countries. The clothing and other items made available by the trade in second-hand clothing in those countries is more affordable than either domestic or imported new clothing. A number of studies have demonstrated that all socio-economic groups are aided on the consumption side by the second-hand clothing trade, but especially the rural poor. All data suggest that textile reclamation improves the quality of life in developing countries, especially for the poorest amongst them. In this way it operates similarly to thrift and second-hand stores in wealthy nations.

See our white paperpdf icon for references and more detail.

Jobs All Round

Textile reuse operations bring jobs all along the line, from the point of collection all the way to points of sale in local enonomies the world over.

In general, reuse industries sustain a great many more jobs within the United States than the ‘traditional’ waste-disposal industry per volume. For instance, while a landfill and incineration facility will sustain one job per 10,000 tons of waste per year, and a conventional materials recovery facility will need ten workers for the same volume of waste, textile reclamation will put eighty-five people to work. Textile reclamation ranks third behind only computer reuse and plastic product recycling in job creation within the recycling industry itself.

There exists a broad field of opportunity created by second-hand imports in developing countries both for entrepreneurs and labor. In Ghana alone, for instance, 150,000 people work in the second-hand clothing sector. These tend to be better-paying jobs. For example, in Rwanda ‘budgets obtained from both tailors and used clothing retailers indicate that self-employment earnings in used clothing retailing exceed those in tailoring by 10 to 50 percent’. Again, ‘all the data suggest that operators’ net incomes tend to be significantly above the average in urban Zimbabwe’.

See our white paperpdf icon for references and more detail.

Recycling News Feeds

Who We Are

Collective Services was founded in 2010 with the vision of creating the first comprehensive recycling hub network in Montana with productive spokes in four states (Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota), working with communities in order to reduce the environmental and economic costs to everybody of filling landfills with ‘trash’ that has value, and to create a positive synergy within those communities.

Meet the people who make it work below.

Erik Little

Erik Little

Personal & Contact Info

  • Owner/Founder

Contact Us

We want to hear from you. Feel free to contact us, or to connect with us through Facebook, Twitter, or Linkedin. Or use our map tools to find us, and pay us a visit.

Collective Services
3105 Drury Lane
Billings, MT 59101
Tel: 1-406-446-9089 Fax
Fax: 1-406-206-0200


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