Your Green Life: "Mattress Recycling"

By KBJR News 1

August 4, 2010 Updated Aug 4, 2010 at 3:16 PM CDT

At the end the day when you lie down to rest on your mattress you generally don't think about where that mattress will come to rest at the end of its days.

Most are dumped in a landfill, but you could send them back for reuse, as Meteorologist Shannon Murphy explains in, "Your Green Life."

"Most people will keep a mattress for about 15 years," stated Darl Gosseline, a sales associate for Slumberland.

Once they're tossed, they cause problems because they spend many more years rotting away in landfills, but new green models are hitting showroom floors.

"With the bamboo and the wood fibers they will decompose better, easier," added Gosseline.

Here in Duluth, there is a recycling program to keep beds from resting in the dump.

"Well the program started back in 2002, with a concern of handling mattresses here in the Twin Ports because of a landfill closing here, specifically the districts landfill," said Hank Fisher of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. "Over 38 million mattresses are bought each year in this country. If you apply that figure to the Arrowhead about 45 thousand pieces both mattresses and box springs."

There are 14 different drop–off sites in 10 counties across Minnesota and Wisconsin that collected mattresses.

They are dropped off here at Goodwill and what started off as a project that collected with just 3000 mattresses annually has exploded into 1700 mattresses each year.

That is the equivalent to taking about 580 dumptrucks filled with mattresses out of our local landfills, and giving them a second life.

"Here in Floodwood, MN that's now actually using the used cotton from this project to develop locomotive fuel filters for locomotives," said Fisher. "The wood is sent to demolitions right here in West Duluth. It is then ground up and used as boiler fuel right here in the Hibbord Plant."

In addition, the springs are crushed, bailed, and melted down to reuse in other products.

In Duluth, Meteorologist Shannon Murphy.

The game plan of this project is to work with local and regional industries to avoid high transportation costs, but more importantly, have a sustainable program.