The Pitkin County Solid Waste Center (PCSWC) was originally established, in its current location, as the Aspen Free Dump in 1965. For years since, the community has received public service announcements about the landfill nearing peak capacity.  The landfill has been pushing recycling and innovation to stymie the flow of mounting trash. Anything that can be recycled or reused is received at a much lower price than trash. Construction debris is the biggest culprit, contributing 53% of the waste at the dump.

On Friday, June 3, the Motherlode Mercantile opened to the public to aid in the recycling/reusing effort. Cathy Hall, the PCSWC director, joked that it is “the most popular retail store in Aspen right now…and it’s super fun.” Upon entering the landfill, pass the weigh station and the mercantile drop-off is located at an orange shipping container to the right.

Jade Bath has supervised this creative diversion of useful goods. ”Once we get it, and before we can even get it priced and stickered, somebody wants it,” she said. Inside, plush chairs and framed artwork decorate the mercantile. Outside, there are an array of skis and bikes of all sizes, toilets and desks. Bath says they are “limited on big upholstered pieces because of space, so we may turn down a couch.” 

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Author: Elizabeth Key, The Sopri Sun
Elizabeth Key, The Sopri Sun