Alexandria, Virginia -- Better methods of disposing of used mattresses are on the way in the US, after successful tests by the International Sleep Products Association (ISPA) and Rubber Recovery, Inc. (RRI).
The latter is a recycling business for solid waste, including tyres, located near Charleston, South Carolina. ISPA aims with these tests to establish high-volume options for processing and recycling used mattress components.
The mattress industry has a sustainability initiative to expand options for recycling used mattress components: ISPA took the leadership last year in working with retailers, government, recyclers and potential consumers of recycled materials to expand the number of recycling operations that can process used mattresses.
Currently, ISPA has identified 15 mattress recycling centres in the US and Canada.
"Helping grow the number of available mattress recycling centres throughout North America promises great benefits for the mattress industry, retailers, consumers and the environment," said Ryan Trainer, ISPA's executive vice president, in the group's 7 July announcement. "Today's landmark effort with RRI provides an excellent solution for processing large volumes of used mattresses, fulfilling our industry's commitment to the environment and having better controls over what becomes of used mattresses."
In the tests at RRI, ISPA worked with Park Place Corp. and Simmons Bedding Co., which contributed 200 used mattresses and box springs for RRI to process.
"Successfully recycling used mattress materials is a goal this industry has worked on extensively for many years," said David Orders, vice president for administration at Park Place Corp. and former chair of ISPA's board of trustees. "Achieving good economies of scale will be key to lowering product collection and handling costs and making recycling a viable business."
"Mattresses are durable goods designed to last a long time, said Michael DeFranks, director of engineering at Simmons, and chair of ISPA's Sleep Products Safety Council. Mattress construction and assembly have historically made recycling difficult, DeFranks added: "Today's experience at RRI opens the door to a more cost-effective means to meet the growing needs of the industry."
RRI, which has state-of-the-art tyre shredding equipment, is looking to expand into other recycling areas: "Recycling used products is our business," said Scott Johnson, RRI's plant manager. "We want to use our equipment and know-how to reclaim the steel and other materials in used mattresses that could otherwise be wasted," he said.