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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
We held our 3rd Annual Mushroom Lecture and Foray on Saturday. You may have missed it but 13 others didn’t. We learned about the importance of fungi, microbes and other micro creatures in producing compost and their part in a healthy eco-system. We have bags of our “SCRAPS” brand of compost and potting soil are available for purchase at the landfill.
Pitkin County’s compost program is US Composting Council Standard for Testing Assurance (STA) Certified. To learn more about what STA Certified compost means, view the video, hosted by PBS Channel’s Joe Lamp’l from Growing a Greener World.
For more information on our compost, pricing and and our related soil products, contact the Pitkin County Solid Waste Center at 970-429-2880.