Pitkin County officials ponder thrift-store-like project at dump | AspenTimes.com

Pitkin County officials ponder thrift-store-like project at dump

In addition to dropping off trash and recyclables, patrons of the Pitkin County Landfill may soon be able to do bit of shopping, as well.

That’s because landfill county officials are considering building a sort-of thrift store near the facility’s entrance that would offer and possibly sell furniture, construction materials and other items dropped off in decent condition.

The idea and concept is not yet fully formed, though it would be “like a Habitat for Humanity (Restore) idea,” said Kathy Hall, the director of the landfill. However, it has progressed to the point where architectural firms have been asked to come with bids for a fully enclosed building for the project on landfill property, she said.

“We might organize it like a thrift store,” Hall said. “It would be another diversion opportunity for people.”

Bids for the building are expected back in February, she said. Pitkin County commissioners must approve the idea, and Hall said she hopes to have a fully formed concept for them to ponder by April.

The idea is an outgrowth of the landfill’s “Drop and Swap” service, which has been offered for 15 to 20 years, Hall said. That program takes unupholstered furniture, nail-free lumber, plywood, tiles, tools, gardening supplies and fencing in decent condition and makes it available for free in an outdoor space near the entrance, according to Hall and the landfill’s website.

“We get a lot of skis and snowboards, too,” she said. “People use them to build furniture or fences.”

Because the area is located outside, upholstered furniture, appliances, electronics and other items that would immediately turn to junk in the elements are not accepted.

With a fully enclosed building, however, landfill officials could offer more items for reuse, Hall said. For example, Habitat for Humanity can be picky about the types of items workers will pick up for sale in the organization’s store in Glenwood Springs, so some of those cast-offs might fit well into the landfill project, she said.

Pitkin County Manager Jon Peacock said a retail component to the project has not yet been discussed and may not become part of the project. But the main idea, he said, was to expand the diversion of items from the landfill — thereby saving precious space at the facility — and encourage more recycling.

“It’s a way to provide a protected space to extend the useful life of items,” Peacock said. “I’ve dropped wood furniture off at the Drop and Swap and it rained the next day. Unless it’s weather-durable, it will probably end up in the landfill.”