Sioux Falls, SD
Here's something for you to sleep: as many as 10,000 old mattresses wind up in the Sioux Falls landfill every year, taking up valuable space.
When garbage comes into the landfill, it’s compacted by 80,000-pound bulldozers equipped with chopper pads. But throw a mattress into that trash and not much happens to it.
"And they just don't compress because of all the foam and fabric; they are put together well," Dave McElroy of the Sioux Falls Landfill said.
And when they spring back to life, mattresses are taking up valuable landfill space, so the city is now recycling them. There is now a special mattress box to keep them dry so they can be recycled at a cost of about $7 per mattress or box spring.
Once the box is filled up with about 40 mattresses, it will be hauled out to the recycler at a cost to the city of about $280 a load.
"But we're saving approximately $800 in unused landfill air space that we'll be able to save and use for actual waste as opposed to items that can actually be recycled; shouldn't need to go to the landfill," McElroy said.
The mattress are loaded up and hauled to the recycling company in Tea. It was the brain-child of Travis Hewitt who recognized the need and the market for the materials.
"The biggest thing is the foam, the wood, the metal, the cotton. Right now, all the wood is going to Mueller Palettes; they're using that for bio fuel. The metal is going to TJN; they're turning it into something different. The foam is getting turned into carpet pads or grocery bags. The cotton can be used for oil filters," Hewitt of AGRAT2 said.
And while the city is just a week into mattress recycling, it's turning out to be a win-win for everyone.
"I would say it's going really good. We're probably hauling one to two loads a week. It really makes a lot of sense," McElroy said.
Consumers don't have to do anything special to have their old mattress recycled. If you're making the trip to the dump yourself, the city just asks that you place your mattress in the special container for them.
Of course, any good mattress that can still be used can be donated instead of thrown away. The Furniture Mission in Sioux Falls is in need of mattresses and box springs that don't have tears or stains.
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