The Pitkin County Solid Waste Center Adds Book Recycling to its Diversion Programs

The Pitkin County Solid Waste Center is adding yet another diversion program to its already robust reduce, reuse and recycling programs.  The Solid Waste Center will now accept books, for reuse, through a partnership with Eco-Cycle in Boulder, Colorado.  Books collected are distributed to Boulder area families in need.

“It’s not uncommon for books to be brought to the landfill for disposal.  Paperback books can be placed in the single stream recycling program, but hard cover books had to be trashed,” said Cathy Hall, solid waste manager.  “ It broke my heart to see perfectly good books being buried in the landfill.”

During a recent tour of Boulder’s Eco-Cycle ChaRM facility (Center for Hard-to-Recycle Materials), Solid Waste Center staff noticed their book distribution program.  “When we returned home from the tour I made a call to Eco-Cycle to see if we could partner with them on the program,” Hall said. “They enthusiastically welcomed us and our books.  They are seeing more and more demand for books than they can supply.”

Eco-Cycle has distributed books to families in need since 2004, and have donated nearly 96,500 books throughout Boulder.  From Dr. Suess to Shakespeare, paperback or hard cover, books of all reading levels are accepted.

“Ideally, I would eventually like to find programs in the Roaring Fork Valley to distribute books, similar to the Boulder program,” said Hall.  “Until we get facility space and staff to handle the books, we will work with Eco-Cycle.”

The Solid Waste Center will accept books, free of charge, during operating hours (Monday through Friday 7:30 am to 4:15 pm and Saturdays 9 am to 2 pm May through September, and 9 am to 12 pm October through April).  Please recycle phone books and catalogs in the regular single stream recycling.

Mattress Recycling – New Program

Mattress Recycling is now mandatory at the Pitkin County Solid Waste Center

For the first time in the history of the Pitkin Solid Waste Center old mattresses are being accepted for recycling instead of burial in the landfill. In just one day several old mattresses arrive at the Pitkin County Landfill for burial and that causes big problems, according to Pitkin County Solid Waste Manager Cathy Hall.

Mattress Recycling

A stack of mattresses ready for breakdown while bales of foam material await markets.

The new mattress recycling initiative will not only help to extend the life of the landfill, it will solve a pesky problem mattresses getting tangled in compacting equipment when attempts are made to bury them.

“Landfill operators hate mattresses,” said Pitkin County Solid Waste Manager, Cathy Hall. “The operators have to compact and bury all garbage at the landfill. Mattresses have never compacted well because of their springy coils lurking just below the surface waiting to pop up and wrap around equipment axles, tracks, and wheels. They don’t go down without a fight,” Hall said.

In an effort to reduce waste from being buried in the landfill, and to help the landfill operations crew sleep better at night, the Pitkin Solid Waste Center has partnered with Spring Back Colorado, a mattress recycling operation in Denver.

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Pitkin County Solid Waste Center Now Offering Textile Recycling

Thrift Shop and second hand store rejects are getting a second chance thanks to a new textile recycling program at the Pitkin County Solid Waste Center. Old worn out t-shirts, towels and blankets with holes, ill-fitting clothing, and running and hiking shoes that have lost their spring might have ended up in the landfill. Now they’re being collected at the Solid Waste Center and diverted back into the ‘reuse’ market.

“We’re partnering with USAgain out of Denver, a green for-profit enterprise committed to reducing textile waste by putting them back in the use cycle to not only preserve landfill space but conserve precious natural resources and prevent greenhouse gas emissions,” said Cathy Hall, Pitkin County Landfill Manager.
The US EPA estimates a whopping 12 million tons of textile waste goes into U.S. landfills each year. Approximately 1,600 tons of textiles end up in the Pitkin County Landfill annually.

“This equates to 4.3% of our total waste stream,” added Hall. “By diverting this waste we save landfill space, reduce carbon emissions, and find a beneficial second life for these items.”

Textiles

 

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Pitkin County Partners with 5Point Film Festival in Aspen

The Pitkin County Landfill is a presenting partner with the 5Point Film Festival in Aspen this month. The show will take place on January 21st at the Wheeler Opera House. The event features 10 adventure films and special guests. The landfill’s involvement with 5Point comes during a major landfill public outreach effort to educate the community about recycling, reusing, and even refusing non-recyclable objects to extend the life of the landfill and improve the local environment. 5Point has a legacy of supporting and protecting the environment and Pitkin County Landfill believes that it aligns with its mission as it works to educate people on the importance of recycling.

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Wooly: Landfills Explained Teaches Kids About Landfills, Recycling, Composting and Hazardous Waste

Wooly: Landfills Explained is a 5-volume comic book series designed to educate school children in grades 3-5 about the relationship between waste and our everyday lives.  Using Colorado STEM standards, it is available to everyone, anywhere via mobile app technology. Students may go at their own pace or work with others in a classroom.

Composting and Our Community

What’s In Our Trash?

Where Does Our Trash Go?

Let’s Sort Our Trash!

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LIVING LAB WORKSHOP “HOW TO BUILD A KEYHOLE GARDEN”

Our hardy team of intrepid volunteers and our esteemed leader, Kim Doyle Wille, of Growing Empowerment built a “keyhole garden” on Saturday.

The “big idea” of a keyhole garden is to combine the planting and composting parts of a garden into one holding moisture and nutrients in place.  The idea originates in Africa is being adapted by many gardeners in hot, arid climates.  The Pitkin Couty landfill garden certainly qualifies!

Ours is made of materials diverted from the landfill and will use our compost (available for sale.)  Eventually the produce we raise will be donated to LIFT UP.

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