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Local trash collector ready for retirement

Your trash will soon be collected by Republic Services of Whitefish, as Bob Butte has decided to retire from Butte Services.

“Butte Services has enjoyed the privilege of providing residential and commercial services to our customers for more than 60 years,” stated a letter sent from Republic Services that was sent to Butte’s customers.

“The company is actually 64 years old,” said Butte, who took over the business that was started by his parents. He has been managing it for four decades. Butte Services has had an ad in the Ledger for all of Bob’s years of business and is the longest-run advertisement in the newspaper.

Of those 40 years, Butte has seen a lot of odd things in trash cans. He recalls having a cat jump out of the trash and spook him. But not as much as the one that he saw laying at the bottom of a can when he lifted the lid. Bob said he felt bad that the cat had died in the trash can. However, when he picked up the can, the cat jumped out and ran off.

Other memorable experiences include trash fires in the truck. “I parked the truck across the street from the Ledger and went home for lunch. When I got back the fire trucks were there putting out the fire,” Butte recalls. He said the fire was started by charcoal that someone had discarded.

The transition to Republic Services will be complete in the coming weeks. “Republic Services will take the trash to the transfer site out of Thompson Falls. They are buying my trucks but I don’t know if they will repaint them,” Butte stated. He added that it is unclear if Republic will have a base in Sanders County for trucks to be kept. Anyone local who might be working for the company may have to drive to another base, such as Ronan, to pick up a truck and bring it back to Thompson Falls for trash service. Republic Services did not return calls for comment by press time.

“Republic Services is an industry leader in providing reliable and responsible recycling and waste services and is committed to providing the same great service you came to expect from Butte Services,” the company’s letter to Butte customers stated.

When asked if he plans on taking a vacation, Bob replied, “I’ve been on vacation for the past 40 years.”

Butte and his wife Jan said they are happy staying home, as their big white Butte Service trucks are moving on.


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