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Mattress recycling: a US success story

United States – Americans throw out 20 million mattresses and box springs every year, according to US recycling programme Cascade Alliance. On the plus side, the recycling sector is having a significant impact on employment levels: for every 10 000 tons of mattresses diverted from landfill, between 40 and 50 jobs are created.

Around 240 000 mattresses and box springs have been recycled by Cascade Alliance members since its launch back in 2013, saving communities as much as US$ 481 465 in refuse bills while recovering 15 million pounds of materials from the waste stream.

Additionally, the recycling effort has generated more than US$ 10 million in revenues for member organisations.

According to Cascade Alliance, the states of California, Connecticut and Rhode Island have become champions of strict mattress recycling stewardship; as a result of recycling laws passed in 2015, they have been able to recycle 1 million mattresses, saving 11 million cubic feet of landfill space in the process.

There are currently 56 mattress recycling facilities in North America, representing a 30% increase over 2013. Cascade Alliance’s facilities recycle as much as 90% of a mattress, thereby saving 23 cubic feet of landfill space per unit, adds the non-profit recycling programme.

In recent years, major retailer Ikea has voiced its commitment to recycling the mattresses it sells – thus helping to make mattress recycling ‘a burgeoning industry’, says Cascade Alliance.

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