New Mexico swap shop: a place where trash turns to treasure

TORRANCE COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – A group of New Mexico solid waste workers are turning people’s trash into treasure.

Down the chute the trash goes just to get ground up, smashed together and hauled off to the landfill. It’s a common sight at one of the Estancia Valley Solid Waste Stations.

It’s also common to see one of the solid waste workers dive after some of the garbage.

“If they see a good item or two, they ask if they can put them in the swap shop,” said EVSW Field Operations Supervisor Scott Guffy.

The swap shop is a place where one person’s trash really does become another person’s treasure.

“It’s great stuff. It’s unbelievable what some people will throw away. Some stuff is brand new in the package still,” Guffy said.

The swap shop has clothes, movies, toys and a lot of other various items. All of the pieces are free.

“It’s been so popular the stuff is going out as quick as we put it in,” Guffy said.

“People who can’t really afford certain things, they can come and proabbly find something they can use,” said Pat who was at the swap shop on Saturday.

Guffy said it is a makeshift thrift store with a big goal in mind.

“The most important thing is to us is diversion. It’s keeping the stuff out of the landfill. Not only are we keeping stuff out of the landfill, we save time and fuel money and stuff on transporting it,” Guffy said.

Most importantly Guffy said the swap shop gives him and workers an opportunity to help the comunity.

“We are all struggling out here and everybody tries to help each other as much as we can,” Pat said.
The swap shop is open to the public 7 days a week.

Guffy said if someone has too many items that can be saved, workers prefer the people donate them to an actual thrift store so more families have an opportunity to use them. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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