Recycle That Old Mattress

A number of companies and nonprofit agencies now accept mattresses, break them down and recycle their component parts. © Mark Nockleby, courtesy Flickr

A number of companies and nonprofit agencies now accept mattresses, break them down and recycle their component parts. © Mark Nockleby, courtesy Flickr

Think the only home left for that old mattress is the landfill? Think again.

A handful of private companies and nonprofit groups around the country have taken on recycling them for their valuable core components.

One of the country’s most successful mattress recycling initiatives is the St. Vincent de Paul Society’s DR3 (Divert, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) program.

The group opened a large mattress recycling center in Oakland, California in 2001. (Why in Oakland? To “go where the mattresses are,” says Chance Fitzpatrick of the group.) They process upwards of 300 mattresses and box springs per week.

During the recycling process, mattresses or box springs are pushed onto a conveyor belt, where specially designed saws cut soft materials off the top and bottom, separating the polyurethane foam and cotton fiber from the framework. Metal pieces are magnetically removed, and the remaining fiber materials are shredded and baled. One worker can handle the process in just three to four minutes per mattress.

On slow days, the DR3 facility recycles  some 1,500 pounds of polyurethane foam, totaling a half million or more pounds over the course of a year.

“A well-oiled recycling factory can reuse 90 percent of the mattress,” reports Josh Peterson of Discovery’s Planet Green website. “The cotton and cloth get turned into clothes. The springs and the foam get recycled, and the wood gets turned into chips.”

Want to find a mattress recycler in your area ? Try Nine Lives Mattress Recycling in Pamplico, South Carolina; Conigliaro Industries in Framingham, Massachusetts, MattCanada in Montreal, Québec, or Dreamsafe in Moorabbin, Australia. To locate a mattress recycler closer to home, check out the free online database at Earth911.org.

What an awesome way to keep the 3 R’s. What’ll they think of recycling next!

Army Corps. Mandates Cutting Thousands of Trees

Army Corps orders the fellling of thousands of trees near levees

Army Corps orders the felling of thousands of trees near levees

In an unprecedented move, the Army Corps of Engineers has ordered the cutting down of all trees within 15 feet of our nation’s levees, regardless if they’re a threat to the levees stability or not.

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