Nonprofits seek Garfield County’s help to recycle clothing |

Nonprofits seek Garfield County’s help to recycle clothing

John Colson
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Two area nonprofit organizations working for the needy – LIFT-UP and Defiance Thrift Store – want to start a used-clothing recycling program.

In order to do that, Mike Powell of LIFT-UP said he hopes Garfield County will extend a special nonprofit landfill rate to the Defiance organization, just as it has been doing for LIFT-UP.

In a July 27 letter to the Garfield County commissioners, Powell noted that LIFT-UP currently pays $1 for every truckload of unsellable items sent to the county landfill.

That compares to a typical fee of $5 per 140 pounds or so of stuff brought to the dump by residents in general.

Powell asked that the special rate be granted to Defiance, which Powell’s letter described as “a … nonprofit organization whose sole mission is to provide financial support for Family Visitor [programs] and LIFT-UP.”

Powell said the three organizations share board members as well as community goals.

It recently became apparent that thousands of pounds of used clothing, brought in to the thrift stores, but never sold, were going into the county landfill every month, he said.

Two years ago, Powell approached the Manaus Fund in Carbondale, which provides funding and support to certain nonprofit entrepreneurial efforts, about putting together a recycling program, according to Manaus Executive Director Morgan Jacober.

She said the fund’s commitment includes the purchase of a baling machine to bundle up the clothing and a fork lift to load the bales onto a truck.

Both Jacober and Powell indicated that the details are still being worked out, including a contract with a Front Range broker to pick up the bales. The clothing ultimately could end up either on the racks at Front Range thrift stores or being sent overseas to impoverished countries or the sites of natural disasters.

But there is a complication, Powell added. Defiance has been selling used articles of all kinds, not just clothing, to a Front Range thrift-store chain known as ARC.

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