Mattresses


MATTRESSES

HEALTH CARE CONTEXT

Health care facilities use an enormous number of mattresses. When there are no longer fit for patient use, they are often sent to landfill, where they can take over 100 years to decompose.

 

In 2011, Vancouver banned mattresses and boxsprings from landfills. The result was over 50,000 mattresses and boxsprings being brought to recycling centres, more than 1 million cubic feet in landfill savings, and the creation of 45 new jobs for residents of British Columbia.

 

How the mattress recycling process works
Taken from The Balance

Mattresses and box springs are created from a number of materials, including wood, metal, fabric and plastic, which can all be recycled once they are separated.

 The recovery rate of recyclable bed materials is over 95 percent. At Canadian Mattress Recycling, operators take apart box springs and mattresses by hand. As these products are being dismantled, materials are sorted and segregated. Some materials are baled to save space in the recycling facility and provide transport efficiency. Wood can be reduced to chips and steel sent to steel recyclers. Materials recovered can include:
  • Wood
  • Fabric
  • Felt
  • Foam
  • Cotton
  • Plastic

 

Markets for recovered materials

Aside from receiving compensation for incoming mattresses, recyclers also hope to generate revenue from the reclaimed materials:

  • Quilting and foam can be turned into carpet underlay
  • Wood is recycled into biofuel or other recycled wood products
  • Plastic is recycled by plastic recyclers
  • Steel from the boxsprings is recycled into new metal products
  • Cotton and felt can be recycled into new felt and insulation

 

Resources

 

Canadian Mattress Recycling

Bye-Bye Mattress Database

Mattress Recycling (Western Canada)

City of Vancouver: How to Recycle Your Mattress

The Furniture Bank Association of North America

This is no place for a mattress – Industry taking lead to recycle

Reusing and Recycling Mattresses in Rural Communities

David Suzuki Foundation: Where to Recycle Mattresses

 

References

The Balance. Mattress Recycling Business Opportunities.