Pitkin County Kicks Off Media Campaign Aimed at Extending the Life of the Landfill

Extending the life of the Pitkin County Landfill is the goal of a multi-media public outreach campaign that got underway this week. Animated Television and print ads will circulate featuring styrofoam, cardboard, plastic and food waste characters chastising each other for being in the landfill when they should have been recycled, reused, refused or composted.

“It’s a creative approach to getting our community’s attention about the limited life of our landfill and how we can extend it by thinking twice about the products we use and throw away,” said Pitkin County Landfill Manager, Cathy Hall.

Estimates are that without a fairly drastic change in the community’s collective ‘trash behavior’ the landfill will reach capacity and have to be closed in under 15 years, according to Hall.

Several programs are already underway at the landfill that are succeeding in diverting waste including aggregate recovery which recycles and diverts rocks and dirt from construction waste into road bed, landscaping and gardening materials for sale, a composting program for yard and food waste, and a ‘Drop and Swap’ program designed to repurpose items that still have a useful life. These programs are in addition to recycling drop off locations where recyclables are collected and processed at a facility in Denver.

“It may surprise some to learn that approximately 37% of our waste stream at the landfill is comprised of food and other organic material. That’s why we developed ‘SCRAPS’, a food waste collection program that provides containers to collect food scraps for both residential and commercial operations,” Hall said. “That food waste and organic material is turned into compost for use in your yards and gardens.”

The ongoing public outreach campaign is designed to raise awareness about what is recyclable and what is not, when to refuse products like styrofoam and plastic straws because they are not recyclable, when to consider reusing otherwise throwaway items, and encouraging composting, among other landfill ‘diversion tactics.’

The campaign continues through the summer months and will be visible in local newspapers, on local radio and television, as well as social media.

Contact: Cathy Hall, Landfill Manager: 429-2882

Television spots may be viewed on the Pitkin County YouTube Channel:

Pitkin County Has Completed the Phase I Waste Diversion Plan

Pitkin County has completed the Phase I part of the Roaring Fork Valley Waste Diversion Plan.  The Phase I plan included data from the waste sort, including the statistics of the waste and the recyclable materials being landfilled.

On April 19th the Pitkin County Board of County Commissioners gave the go ahead for staff to move forward with the Phase II part of the plan.  Phase II will take the data gathered from the waste sorts and public comment to set goals and recommended actions to achieve those goals.

Attached is a copy of the plan.  For more information and for progress on the second phase of planning check back often.


Phase I Roaring Fork Waste Diversion Plan

Living Lab Workshop–Mission

We offer the Living Lab Workshops in the spring and fall of each year.  Most are hands on demonstrations and talks meant to show how our compost program at the landfill “closes the loop.”  This phrase is used in the composting world to explain how food is grown in soil, prepared and eaten and if then turned into compost and used again, can. in turn, grow more food.

Other workshops explain how mushrooms and fungi help break down organic matter into humus or how chickens and other livestock help to make nutrient rich soil.

This season, spring 2016, we are including a reduce and reuse component to our workshops.  Most will show how materials diverted from the landfill can be repurposed for other uses–for instance, pallets turned into raised beds, bricks turned into a compost pile, logs that decay to form the nutrients and water supplying the garden bed that covers them.

Come check them out!   Call Jack Johnson, 429-2885, for more information.

News from the Living Lab Workshop

Kevin and Diana, pictured here, attended our “How to build a self wicking raised garden bed w/ repurposed materials” demonstration. Then they went home and used materials diverted from our landfill to build TWO of their own. They used packing pallets, our gravel and compost and with screws and some pvc soon had a great bed to start their spring garden. For more information on how to build such a garden, contact Kim Doyle Wille of Growing Empowerment.Raised bed image


April 16

Seed and Compost Giveaway–“Prep your Garden” talk

April 23

Build Your Own Self-Wicking Raised Garden Bed

May 7

Build Your Own Keyhole Garden demonstration

May 28

Back by POPULAR DEMAND–Build Your own Self-Wicking Raised Garden Bed


Join our instructor, Kim Doyle Wille of Growing Empowerment, to learn more about alternative methods of composting, traditional and RFV specific gardening methods and tips and more!  For more information,  call Jack Johnson at 970-429-2885

Except for Field Day, June 11, all Living Lab Workshops will be at the Pitkin County Landfill, mile marker 32, on Highway 82. 

All workshops begin at 9:15am and will last at least three hours.