Glenwood Springs landfill turning local textile ‘trash’ into global treasure | PostIndependent.com

Glenwood Springs landfill turning local textile ‘trash’ into global treasure

South Canyon Landfill employee Parker Jones drops in a bag of clothes at the new USAgain clothing donation drop box located next to the recycling bins.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

When South Canyon Landfill Superintendent King Lloyd saw clothes, shoes, and household textiles being treated like garbage he partnered with USAgain to effectively turn the piling “trash” into bins of treasure.

“Unfortunately, we see large volumes of clothing that are brought to the landfill for disposal,” Lloyd said. “Our primary objective is to try to extend the life of the landfill as long as we can.”

Instead of dumping clothes, shoes and household textiles into the Glenwood Springs landfill’s always increasing pile of trash, users can now place those items in one of the four USAgain bins located at either the landfill’s recycle center area or near its scale house.

Founded in 1999 with headquarters in Chicago, the for-profit company USAgain operates over 12,000 collection bins in 15 states, according to its website.

“Everything that we can divert and repurpose or recycle, it just goes that much further toward extending the life of the landfill,” Lloyd explained.

By retrieving clothing items and textiles from the collection bins, USAgain prevents the items from being covered and consuming airspace in landfills, and instead recycles and repurposes those items back into various domestic and global markets.

According to usagain.com, the company since its inception has diverted over 800 million items from landfills. Additionally, for every bin the company collects it also plants a tree. In the process, it has planted well over 900,000 trees.

“Besides clothing, [USAgain] will take bed sheets, bed spreads, linens, towels … If it’s made out of cloth [they] will take it,” Lloyd said.

According to Lloyd, the South Canyon Landfill will accept stained items in the USAgain collection bins too.

“Stains are OK, but we don’t want somebody’s dirty underwear or dirty blue jeans. They need to be cleaned, dry, and in a tied plastic bag because the containers are unloaded by hand,” Lloyd said.

Lloyd described that this was the landfill’s first time teaming up with USAgain for recycling and repurposing.

According to Lloyd, USAgain bins made their way to the landfill after the city’s recycle tech attended a Colorado Recycle Association Conference in Snowmass and saw what USAgain was capable of with respect to diversion tactics in the landfill industry. Shortly after, a cooperative was formed between the South Canyon facility and USAgain.

“We have four drop-off containers,” Lloyd explained. “There are three at the recycle center that people can access when the recycle center is open. and then we have one by the scale house as well for people to utilize when the recycle center isn’t open.”

The cooperative, which kicked off this January, will not accept items such as mattresses, furniture, appliances or carpets.

“It takes 300 gallons of water to manufacture a t-shirt,” Lloyd described. “Not only are we repurposing these clothes, but we are saving natural resources, as well.”

Those wishing to drop off clothing, shoes or household textiles at the South Canyon facility may do so during normal business hours.

Located at 1205 County Road 134, according to the city’s website the South Canyon Landfill opens at 8:30 a.m. and closes at 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. On Saturday, hours of operation run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Monday hours are 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Additionally, the recycle center opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.

mabennett@postindependent.com


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