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US Navy ships mattresses to recyclers

United States – Sailors from the decommissioned military vessel ‘€˜USS Enterprise’€™ will help load trailers with thousands of mattresses that are being sent for recycling as part of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Mid-Atlantic’s integrated solid waste programme in South Carolina. According to the US Navy, the initiative, which seeks alternatives to landfill, will ‘€˜see 13 000 shipboard mattresses recycled in a first-of-its-kind programme’€™.

Following the return after its final deployment, the enormous carrier’€™s collected used mattresses are scheduled to be recycled by Nine Lives Mattress Recycling. Under the pilot programme, hailed as ‘€˜both the greener and cheaper method’€™, the mattresses will be taken apart so that their steel springs, cotton and neoprene foam can be recycled and reused.

Recycling in this way is estimated to save more than US$ 12 000 per vessel compared with sending the mattresses to landfill. ‘€˜This also saves 100 000 cubic feet of space in the landfill,’€™ said Gregory Jeanguenat, Naval Station Norfolk Integrated Solid Waste and Recycling Site Manager.

Ahead of the latest project, the amphibious transport dock ‘€˜USS Mesa Verde’€™ and the aircraft carrier ‘€˜USS Abraham Lincoln’€™ had already seen their mattresses removed and sent for recycling. The Navy states that it proved especially challenging to get the latter vessel’€™s mattresses ready in time, as aircraft carriers are the Navy’€™s largest ships, accommodating more than 6000 personnel.

Mr Jeanguenat said he hoped that the success of the recycling programme would ensure its expansion to include other types of ships, as well as barracks and Navy hotels.

The integrated solid waste management programme, supported by the US Defense Logistics Agency, is designed to ‘€˜take advantage of legislative incentives for military installations to establish and operate programmes that will divert and reduce waste streams, prevent pollution, and conserve material resources’€™.


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