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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