Four reasons why every mattress should be recycled

Throughout the year there are peak times for mattress purchases in the Australian market (for example Christmas), which leads to an increase of consumers getting rid of their old mattress. But why is it essential that every mattress is recycled and diverted from landfill? And why should retailers and salespeople encourage mattress recycling?

 

1. Recycling is great for corporate social responsibility and local communities

A great reason to encourage consumers to recycle is that it assists with corporate social responsibility, contributing to environmental and the social good a business can give back. Standing out in a competitive mattress market on price or range is difficult – showcasing a level of corporate social responsibility and solving consumers ‘old mattress problem’ helps consumers differentiate between options and feel good about the positive impact of their purchase.

 

2. Recycling is good for people

A great reason to recycle every mattress is that recycling is good for people, creating green jobs. ABSC prefers recyclers that are social enterprises creating meaningful jobs for people experiencing barriers to employment. This means that recycling is good for society and individuals are given a real opportunity to work, learn and grow in their career, often for their first employment opportunity. Job opportunities for people experiencing barriers to employment are great for our communities, reducing reliance on social security, building employment skills, and creating sustainable onshore job opportunities.

 

3. Mattresses are bulky and take up space in landfill

Mattresses are big, bulky items that take up valuable and expensive space in landfill. At the end-of-life a QS mattress weighs about 30kg.  Approximately 1.8 million mattresses are disposed of each year equating to 54,000 tonnes. Currently, it is estimated that about 37,000 tonnes still go to landfill comprised of mattress, shredded mattresses, and components with no recycling opportunity.

Landfill costs Local Governments and, therefore, ratepayers and businesses millions of dollars every year to maintain and grow. Viable areas for landfill operations are running out, fast. Landfill is not a good outcome for the environment either; precious resources are buried to take many years to break down instead of being processed and recycled into new products.  Due to their size and make-up, mattresses don’t compress well in landfill and can cause long term issues, including resurfacing due to their ‘buoyant’ nature, subsidence and even fires. So, recycling is a much better outcome for the environment.

 

 

4. Mattresses include precious resources that can be recycled into new products

Australian mattresses are made up of multiple materials, many of which can be recycled into new products at the end of their life. Instead of burying these resources in landfill, mattresses can be deconstructed to maximise material recovery. Recycling uses less energy than producing new materials and reduces our reliance on virgin and non-renewable resources.

At ABSC, we are searching for opportunities to improve the recycling rate of mattresses but in the meantime, we must divert as much waste from landfill to minimise the environmental impact of our industry.

 

Why not do the right thing by your customers, the environment and your community and encourage everyone to recycle their old mattress. For more information head to Recycle My Mattress.

Recycle My Mattress is a product stewardship program administered by the ABSC, a not-for-profit industry partnership that works with supply chain, manufacturers, retailers and recyclers to move towards a circular economy for mattresses and improve the environmental and social outcomes of the bedding industry.

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