According to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), Massachusetts throws away about 600,000 mattresses every year. They are expensive to transport, take up a lot of space in landfills, and can get caught in incinerator processing equipment–resulting in higher disposal costs. However, mattresses are made up almost entirely of recyclable materials so it makes sense to recycle them rather than trash them. MassDEP will start a mattress ‘ban’ beginning in the end of 2022 requiring municipalities to keep mattresses and box springs out of the waste stream.
One organization that has combined the proper disposal of mattresses while providing opportunities for at-risk youth is UTEC, a Lowell-based non-profit organization. The winner of the 2016 MassRecycle Institutional award, UTEC Mattress Recycling picks up, deconstructs, and recycles mattresses and box springs from across northern New England. UTEC contracts with municipalities, hotels, schools, universities, assisted living facilities and hospitals. The youth help with pick-ups and deconstructing the mattresses while earning a wage and learning workplace skills. The program recycles roughly 85% of each mattress, by weight. UTEC youth hand-cut the mattresses and recycle the steel, foam, wood, some of the toppers and cotton. Read the article by WBUR for more on this nonprofit.
Read the article by WBUR for more on this unique nonprofit: