Kids’ art adds special touch to Carbondale’s new bear-resistant containers |

Kids’ art adds special touch to Carbondale’s new bear-resistant containers

Carbondale obtained surplus trash and recycling containers from Aspen and used graphics wraps of middle school kids' art to spiff them up.
Crbondale Public Works/courtesy photo |

Even the trash cans are cool in Carbondale.

The town government purchased 60-some bear-resistant trash and recycling containers from Aspen and is using art by Carbondale Middle School students to spiff them up to blend with Carbondale’s artsy image.

The endeavor started last fall when Carbondale’s government decided it needed to invest in bear-resistant containers.

“Last year we saw more and more activity in town,” Town Manager Jay Harrington said.

The government felt it needed to set a good example by taking care of its trash and recycling containers before asking residents to secure theirs, he said.

A town employee happened to learn in casual conversation with a city of Aspen employee over the winter that Aspen was phasing out and replacing some of its bear-resistant containers, according to Harrington. Carbondale was able to buy Aspen’s surplus bins at the bargain rate of $25 per container.

After exploring various ways of refurbishing the used containers, town employees came up with an idea to transform the run-of-the-mill receptacles into something special.

About 18 months ago, the town used art from then-Carbondale Middle School teacher Ami Maes’ class to create a graphic wrap that was used on the circulator bus that the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority operates in town. Colorful hipster cats, dogs and others animals from an art project called “Pets with Personality” were used to adorn the sides of the bus. However, only about 25 or so of the animals were used for the wraps and scores were left over, according to Dennis Dunn, vice president of Carbondale-based Colorado Mountain Graphics. The company creates vehicle wraps, environmental signs and “anything with graphics.”

The town decided to rejuvenate Pets with Personality for the trash and recycling containers, incorporating all of the kids’ designs in the wraps.

The ones that weren’t used on the buses were used for the containers.

“We got lucky. We were able to use all 108 on the containers,” Dunn said.

Carbondale took possession of the first wave of Aspen’s trash containers over the winter. Mike Taylor, Russell Sissom, Casey O’Flannery and Smiley Wise of Carbondale’s public works and streets crews installed the wraps themselves when they weren’t busy with their regular duties. That saved on the expense, Harrington said. The wraps cost $20 per panel, or $80 per container.

So far, 31 have been rolled out, said Laurie Lindberg of the public works department, who helped coordinate the project.

“The kids’ art, it makes you smile,” she said.

Carbondale will take possession of the remaining trash containers this spring and prep them for service.

Dunn considers the saga “good news” on several levels — Carbondale is using bear-friendly containers, Aspen’s old containers are being recycled and reused, kids’ arts is being prominently displayed and the refurbished containers look great.

Carbondale is an artsy town. It adds to the arts culture,” Dunn said. “It brightens downtown.”