Mattress recycling program begins at Pitkin County Landfill
The Pitkin County Landfill has started a program to recycle the scores of mattresses it receives every month in an effort to save space and hassle, an official said Friday.
The landfill has been in talks with a Denver mattress recycling company called Spring Back Colorado for about a year to work out the logistics of how the program would work, said Cathy Hall, the county’s solid waste manager.
The plan calls for the company to park a semi-truck trailer at the dump, which will gradually be filled with mattresses people bring in, then will be trucked to Denver when it’s full, she said. The company would then replace the trailer with an empty one and the process would begin again.
The landfill will charge people $25 per mattress for the transportation cost, Hall said, adding that the facility won’t make money from the project. The landfill used to charge $12.50 to bury used mattresses at the landfill, which probably wasn’t enough to cover the costs of disposing of them, she said.
However, the new plan is far more optimal because mattresses take up a lot of space, don’t compact well and interfere with landfill equipment once they are buried, Hall said.
“A 95,000-pound compactor can drive over it and it just springs right back,” she said. “Really, the problem is the springs unravel and wrap around the (bull) dozer tracks and the axles of equipment.
“They’re hard to deal with.”
In addition, the landfill is running out of space, so the new program will help extend the life of the facility, Hall said.
The landfill takes in between one and five mattresses per day, she said.
“It’s a lot,” Hall said. “Sometimes, when you get a hotel replacing their mattresses, you can get a boatload of 20 to 40 of them.”
The new program began just before the new year started, she said. All mattresses the facility receives will be recycled unless they are wet and soiled or infested with bedbugs, Hall said.
“A very, very low amount fall into that category,” she said. “Usually they are in recyclable shape.”
Ninety percent of mattress components can be recycled, according to Spring Back’s website. Foam, cotton and felt can be recycled into items like carpet padding and pet beds, while wood framing can be made into landscape mulch and steel can be remelted and used again, according to a Pitkin County statement.
In addition, Spring Back also features a social component, according to its website. The company employs “the disenfranchised and those with barriers to employment” to try to give them “an opportunity to re-establish themselves,” the website states.
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Pitkin County and Basalt have been subsidizing the public drop-off recycling center in Basalt since 2015. Pitkin County informed Basalt it won’t contribute any longer. Basalt says it can’t provide the entire subsidy required by private company Waste Management. The future of the popular facility is in doubt.