The Mattress Warehouse Mattress Recycling Program
The Mattress Warehouse Mattress Recycling Program is changing mattress recycling!
About 30 million mattresses a year are sent to U.S. landfills where they occupy a lot of space and take a long time to decompose. Discarded mattresses left on the street can become a public health hazard by attracting bed bugs and other vermin.
In 2013 Connecticut, Rhode Island and California passed mattress recycling laws that set up non-profit organizations to implement and run mattress recycling programs. They are the only states to do so thus far.
Discarded Mattress Facts
- Over 30 million mattresses are sent to landfills across the country each year
- Mattresses range in size from 27 to 60 cubic feet and average 60 lbs.
- Mattresses decompose slowly in a landfill, often taking over a decade
- Mattresses absorb hazardous materials and store flammable pockets of air
- If thrown in machinery, mattresses can destroy compactors due to bulkiness and metal coils
The Impact of Mattress Recycling at Mattress Warehouse
In partnership with Nashville’s Spring Back Mattress Recycling, Mattress Warehouse is diverting more than 20,000 used mattresses per year from community landfills.
The Spring Back crew recycles 90 percent of materials by deconstructing the old mattress and using the materials for other purposes. Foam and cloth may be sold for use as carpet padding or insulation. The high quality steel springs are melted and sold to steel companies, the wood sold to wood chippers for fuel.
In just a few minutes, the Spring Back crew can disassemble a mattress that would take years to decompose in a landfill.
What’s In a Mattress?
A mattress is made up of metal (mostly steel), wood, cotton batting, paper, fiberfill, urethane foam, and other miscellaneous textiles.
It typically has 9 pounds of cotton and 25 pounds of steel. Its composition is roughly:
- 30% metal
- 38% cotton
- 10% foam
- 4 % wool shoddy
About Spring Back Mattress Recycling
The Spring Back mattress recycling project is the brainchild of the Belmont University chapter of ENACTUS (formerly Students In Free Enterprise), an international student organization attempting to affect social change through free enterprise. The mattress recycling operation employs formerly incarcerated men in an effort to help them pick up the pieces of their lives. At the ENACTUS World Cup competition in Washington, DC in September 2012, Belmont’s Spring Back mattress recycling program won first place out of ideas submitted by 38 countries.
You can read much more about the Spring Back Recycling program here.
- National Public Radio’s Morning Edition featured this report about Spring Back Mattress Recycling in January 2012. Belmont University Finance Professor and Spring Back President John Gonas, and IMS Vice President of Operations Andrew Bloomfield were interviewed (Morning Edition January 18, 2012).
- Spring Back President Dr. John Gonas and Mattress Warehouse VP Operations Andrew Bloomfield discussed mattress recycling on All Sides with Ann Fisher on Columbus public radio station WOSU-FM on May 14, 2013 (All Sides).