Some 30 to 40 million mattresses are disposed of every year in the U.S. That’s a lot of mattresses taking up a lot of landfill space. Landfill operators are not fans of trashed mattresses, either, as they are difficult to move around and don’t compact well.
While mattress recycling facilities exist, they are relatively scarce. This, however, is changing. Here are some innovations and initiatives in mattress recycling occurring throughout the U.S.
Spring Back Mattress Recycling
The group’s goal was to develop a sustainable mattress recycling model that would simultaneously provide employment opportunities to the disenfranchised, such as homeless individuals or former prison inmates. The team spent a year developing the model and by 2012 Spring Back Mattress Recycling incorporated as 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The program proved a success.
Since then, Spring Back Mattress Recycling has expanded into other geographic areas, with operations in Denver, CO; Tacoma, WA; Charlotte, NC; and Salt Lake City, UT. Spring Back charges $20 per piece for pick up and $10 per piece if brought to the center. According to the organization, about 90% of the mattress is recycled.
Mattress Recycling Initiative: Connecticut, Rhode Island and California
In 2013 Connecticut, working with The International Sleep Products Association (ISPA), became the first state to pass comprehensive mattress recycling legislation. Since then, Rhode Island and California have passed similar legislation.
The Mattress Recycling Initiative was formed by ISPA and mattress manufacturers to help administer the laws. The Initiative is currently working to build state-wide networks of collection sites, transporters and private recyclers for implementation of the recycling laws. ISPA continues to work with legislators and stakeholders in other states in anticipation of additional state mandated programs.
Community Action / Creative Business
Individual communities, nonprofits and environmental organizations have also stepped up to the challenge.
Recycle Ann Arbor in Michigan offers a Drop-Off Station featuring one of the nation’s most comprehensive recycling drop-off centers. For nominal feels, residents can drop off mattresses, electronics and other items. Recycling initiatives are offered by Houston Furniture Bank as well as St. Vincent de Paul’s DR3 (which stands for Divert Reduce Re Use Recycle) recycling program in California and Oregon. Nine Lives Mattress Recycling in South Carolina has worked with a pilot program of mattress recycling with the U.S. Navy. Even hotel chain Hilton has piloted a mattress recycling program.
Do a web search to see the mattress recycling options available in your area.
Modular for Less Waste
Looking to the future Naturepedic strives to be in the forefront of sustainable mattress efforts. Toward that goal, we have increased our focus on modular design. Our EOS allows select components to be replaced as needed rather than the entire mattress, reducing waste overall. For light weight crib mattresses, we use easily recyclable materials such as polyethylene foam. While we understand recycling facilities for the foam are relatively scarce, we are ready for when more recycling options come online.