Once one has decided to get a brand new mattress, they need to decide what to do with the old one. Unfortunately, in many places, they don’t have many options, as the market for re-using and recycling mattresses is very small.
So, most people have to throw their mattresses away. In many places, they will probably end up in a landfill site,
According to Nationwide Mattress Recycling, close to 4.5 million mattresses and box springs, or 250 million pounds, are destined to the garbage heap each year. Once mattresses and box springs are buried in a landfill, they do not easily disintegrate.
“That’s a lot of airspace,” Barton County Administrator Richard Boeckman said, addressing the County Commission Monday morning.
Mattresses take up to 23 cubic feet of space each. If one multiplies this by the 40 to 50 mattresses that wind up in the Barton County Landfill each month, that’s a lot of waste occurring at high volumes.
Mattresses are difficult to breakdown because of the way they are manufactured. And their bulkiness and metal springs have a history of causing damage to landfill machinery.
But, 90 percent of the materials in mattresses can be recycled – metal springs are melted down and sold to steel companies, the cotton and foam can be used for carpet bagging or insulation, and the wood is commonly sold to wood chippers or burnt for fuel.
Thankfully, the above scenario is not an issue here, Boeckman said, reporting on the efforts of the Barton County Landfill.
Solid Waste Director Phil Hathcock encourages county residents to bring their mattresses to landfill and they will be recycled through a program at Hutchinson Correctional Facility. Every mattress the facility takes in goes to Hutch.
The inmates there use the foam for dog beds, the wood for furniture and recycle the metal.
Its a great program that can make us all rest a little easier.