Bring your tired, your poor ol’ mattresses to the Buncombe County Landfill. The Solid Waste folks out there have come up with a way of keeping them out of the waste stream and taking up our limited landfill space: They’re collecting tractor-trailer loads of them for recycling. Turns out, 95 percent of most mattresses can be recycled (and not to be reused or resold in their current worn-out forms, they promise).
“We get thousands of mattresses at the landfill,” says Kristy Smith, the facility’s bioreactor manager. “They don’t compact like other garbage does, so we decided to recycle them.”
Massachusetts-based Conigliaro Industries will be hauling away the mattresses. According to their “Rest Assured Mattress Recycle” fact sheet, one mattress saves 23 cubic feet and as much as 65 pounds of material from taking up landfill space.
The company “filets” each mattress, separating the metal, foam and fabric sections, Smith explains. The steel springs are usually shredded and sent to steel mills, where the material can be reborn in a variety of metal products. The “quilt scrap” – the polyurethane foam and the attached polyester cloth – gets chopped up and rebonded into carpet padding. The “shoddy” – the dark blue-grey matting of long fibers – can be woven into more shoddy cloth, which is used in such applications as automobile underlayments. And the cotton fibers – especially from college/institutional mattresses – can end up in new oil filters, mats and stuffing material.
The cost for recycling a mattress is $13.50, which primarily covers the transportation and deconstruction costs. But the Solid Waste department will charge businesses just $5 per mattress and pay the difference. Buncombe County residents with typical household quantities (up to four mattresses) must pay $10 fee (each additional mattress incurs a $5 fee). Mattresses are accepted at the Buncombe County Landfill (81 Panther Branch Road, Alexander), where a tractor-trailer is located near the entrance.
For more information, contact Kristy Smith at 250-5473.
— Margaret Williams, contributing editor