The Thrift Shop isn’t a dump |

The Thrift Shop isn’t a dump

The Thrift Shop on Hopkins Avenue is a great place for locals to leave their unwanted things, from clothing to small appliances to sports equipment. Many Aspenites enjoy the knowledge that their throwaways can be resold and “recycled” through the Thrift Shop, with the proceeds going to local nonprofit groups.The shop donated a whopping $270,000 last year, a considerable sum of money by any measure, but especially impressive from a secondhand store.Directly or indirectly, we all benefit from the Thrift Shop, whether we drop off our old clothes there or support one of the shop’s nonprofit grantees. So it follows that we must take some collective responsibility to ensure that the place runs efficiently and conserves as much cash as possible to spread around the community.Unfortunately, the Thrift Shop and its able-bodied volunteer work force are having a harder time than they should. It’s not that they’re hurting for donated items; in fact they’re getting far too many. But instead of useful discards, much of what they receive is downright trash, items that the “donors” simply didn’t want to take all the way to the dump.Here’s what volunteer Sherri Draper told The Aspen Times last week: “People bring us refrigerators, because they don’t want to pay money to get the Freon taken out of them – we have to pay $150 to get rid of the fridge.”That $150 could have gone to a nonprofit.In other cases, people drop off damaged clothes or nonfunctioning appliances that are clearly worthless. Thus, the Thrift Shop becomes a dumping ground, and the volunteers’ time is spent carting flotsam to the landfill, instead of sorting useful items for sale.Come on, Aspen. We can do better. The Thrift Shop has been a valuable community institution and resource since 1949. We should treat it as such, and not as a convenient, no-cost place to discard trash.The Thrift Shop is the place for our secondhand treasures; trash goes to the landfill.