Landfill retail store could be a reality by next summer
Residents of Thrifty Pitkin County looking to cash in on the perpetual thirst for high-end construction projects in the Aspen area will likely have another outlet to explore by next summer.
Called “The Motherlode Mercantile,” the 4,000-square-foot “material reuse center” is expected to be built with more than $ 1.5 million in taxpayer dollars at the Pitkin County landfill as part of an effort to get as many years as possible from the rapid-fill facility.
“We wanted to improve our ability to keep this material out of the landfill,” said Michael Port, specialist in the diversion of construction and demolition debris at the landfill. “It will work like a retail store.”
The Motherlode Mercantile will expand the landfill’s current “Drop and Swap” diversion program, where Roaring Fork Valley residents can drop off hard-to-recycle items like furniture and pick up other available items for free, Port said.
Similar to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Glenwood Springs, the Pitkin County store will feature furniture, building materials like lighting and plumbing fixtures, wood and reusable windows and doors, as well as cabinets, landscaping materials, decorative items and sporting goods like skis, he said. .
People who drop off items would donate and receive a tax credit, said Cathy Hall, Pitkin County solid waste manager. The staff sorted out the items for sale, priced them, tracked inventory closely, and set up a web page with the items highlighted. The goal is to become another self-sustaining business unit at the landfill like the composting program.
Pitkin County Commissioner Francie Jacober asked at the weekly board working session on Tuesday whether the store would compete with the Habitat for Humanity outlet.
Brian Pettet, county public works manager, said after speaking with representatives from ReStore, county officials found the Pitkin County store would likely attract a different customer. The ReStore tends to accept and sell only the best of the best reusable materials available in the Valley, while The Motherlode Mercantile will likely have cheaper items, he said.
“It’s more of a partnership with them,” Pettet said. “They might even get us excited about some items they don’t want.”
The new landfill store was expected to cost the county three full-time employees – a supervisor and two retail workers – in addition to construction costs estimated at more than $ 1.5 million.
Pitkin County Commissioner Patti Clapper has been reluctant to hire three new employees, suggesting landfill officials start with two and see how the situation works. Commissioner Greg Poschman also questioned whether three employees were needed from the start.
The new facility will also include a 2,000 square foot household hazardous waste facility, which is currently housed in a temporary tent. It will include fire suppression, spill containment and ventilation controls for safe handling of hazardous waste.
Landfill officials believe construction on the new facility could begin in the spring and be completed by the summer.
The store is the result of efforts to keep the Pitkin County landfill open for as many years as possible. It is directly linked to a new rule passed last year called the Construction and Demolition Debris Diversion Ordinance which requires applicants for building or demolition permits to post a bond depending on the size of the project.
If the applicant recycles or reuses at least 25% of the waste generated by the project, the deposit is fully refunded.