By Pierre Angela Cruz
Concerns about environmental protection (and destruction) have prompted more and more businesses and individuals to join the green bandwagon. But while millions of Americans are recycling soda cans and kitchen items, about the same number of them discard mattresses. We have yet to implement a successful system when it comes to reusing and recycling our mattresses.
That said, recycling mattresses using current methods is uneconomical. They are made up of a wide range of materials, such as steel, cotton, wood, and polyurethane foams, that make the recycling costly. Frequently, the cost of tearing down and preparing different kinds of raw materials is believed to exceed the value of the recycled material. Shipping used mattresses is also a huge expense. Meanwhile, reusing mattresses poses health problems as they can be home to insects and pests such as ticks and bedbugs.
Another company that's responding to the challenges is Midwest Mattress Recovery in Watertown, Wisconsin. Since the company's establishment in March 2013, its owner, Bob Mulder, targets to deliver 50,000 to 75,000 pieces every year.
Mattresses are highly reuseable. Many people throw them to landfills even without any sign of damage. Knowing the potential dangers that its materials can bring to the environment, we can contribute even in our little way to reuse or recycle them. Here are the steps:
Prepare mattresses for reuse. Mattresses may be home to microbes and insects. It will be a significant help for their new users and recycling companies if you clean them thoroughly before doing your environment-friendly act. One way of cleansing it is to sprinkle a cup of baking soda directly onto your mattress. Who knows, you may decide not to replace your used beds that have served you and your family for years.
Donate. Donating your mattresses is an excellent option. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have groups that cater to recycling initiatives. You may also contact charitable institutions like St. Vincent de Paul Society. Your act of charity would be very much welcomed by these groups.
Resell. You can profit from your used mattresses by including them on your own garage sale. You may even spearhead a community sale of used mattresses. Just make sure you've cleaned them before selling them.
Re-purpose your mattress. If you are into art and DIY projects, why not make use of the materials of your used bed? You may use the foams and cotton for a stuffed toy or springs as circular light fixtures. The possibilities are endless.Recycle. Instead of just throwing your mattresses away, call any recycling company to pick it up. These companies will disassemble your bed and find out what they can get out of it. Just be ready to pay a small fee for wrecking your mattress. Though recycling your bed costs a little, you will be doing your environment a huge favor.
Improper disposal of used beds and mattresses is hazardous to Mother Earth. But recycling or reusing them for creative uses may not only help save our environment, but it may also unleash our creative, entrepreneurial and philanthropic selves
Image Credit: Flickr/Alan Stanton
Pierre Angela Cruz is a marketing specialist for Bedding Stock, an online mattress store in Stuart Florida. She is a foodie and dog lover. Follow her on twitter @cruisepyer.