For the first time in the history of the Pitkin Solid Waste Center old mattresses are being accepted for recycling instead of burial in the landfill. In just one day several old mattresses arrive at the Pitkin County Landfill for burial and that causes big problems, according to Pitkin County Solid Waste Manager Cathy Hall.
The new mattress recycling initiative will not only help to extend the life of the landfill, it will solve a pesky problem mattresses getting tangled in compacting equipment when attempts are made to bury them.
“Landfill operators hate mattresses,” said Pitkin County Solid Waste Manager, Cathy Hall. “The operators have to compact and bury all garbage at the landfill. Mattresses have never compacted well because of their springy coils lurking just below the surface waiting to pop up and wrap around equipment axles, tracks, and wheels. They don’t go down without a fight,” Hall said.
In an effort to reduce waste from being buried in the landfill, and to help the landfill operations crew sleep better at night, the Pitkin Solid Waste Center has partnered with Spring Back Colorado, a mattress recycling operation in Denver.
Spring Back Colorado takes old mattresses, and recycles them by extracting the valuable components that comprise a mattress. The components steel, cotton, foam, mattress ticking and shoddy cloth (90-95%) are recycled and repurposed back into the marketplace. Spring Back Colorado is also a social enterprise, providing jobs and job training to at-risk individuals facing employment barriers.
So what actually happens to a recycled mattress? As each mattress is deconstructed, each material is separated and baled appropriately.
Foam, cotton and felt is repurposed into items such as carpet padding and pet beds.
Steel is melted at a foundry and ultimately repurposed into new items.
Wood framing is sent to the chipper and repurposed into landscape mulch.
There is a $25 fee to recycle a mattress at the Pitkin County Solid Waste Center. A mattress box spring combo is $31.25. The fee is in place to cover the costs of labor, transportation, and recycling. For more information on recycling your mattress, contact the Pitkin County Solid Waste Center at 970-429-2880.
“By recycling your old, worn out mattress you will save landfill space, find a valuable reuse for the materials, and provide job training for at risk individuals; all of this should make you rest easier at night” Hall said.