Calgary company diverts 150K mattresses from landfill

A Calgary-based mattress recycling company has prevented 150,000 mattresses from going to the landfill, but the City of Calgary has yet to hop on board with a mattress recycling program.

City of Calgary does not have a mattress recycling program yet

Re-Matt, a Calgary-based company, eliminates mattress dumping by separating their raw materials and giving them a second life. (Audrey Neveu/CBC)

A Calgary-based mattress recycling company has prevented 150,000 mattresses from going to the landfill in the span of six years, but the City of Calgary has yet to hop on board with a mattress recycling program.

Shawn Cable, founder of Re-Matt, says the idea for his company was formed after brainstorming ways to save mattresses from ending up in the garbage.

"An individual mattress takes decades to decompose.  Mattresses are also mostly air — taking up huge amounts of space in landfills because mattresses are difficult to compress," Cable said in a release.

Shawn Cable, founder of Re-Matt, has partnered with several municipalities — including Airdrie, Strathmore and Banff — to setup mattress recycling programs. (Audrey Neveu/CBC)

Cable and his team will deconstruct a mattress in around eight minutes and then separate its components so the raw materials can find a second life.  

"We can sell the foam, the metal, the felt blankets, cardboard and plastic. They're all sort of based on commodity pricing, so we can sell that based on whatever the market value is for that item," he said.

The founder says there isn't a lot of revenue available for these back-end materials so they charge individuals a $20 fee to recycle their mattress.

Cable says they start by breaking down the mattresses so they can resell the foam, metal, felt blankets, cardboard and plastic. (Audrey Neveu/CBC)

As well, Cable says, they also work with different landfill sites outside of Calgary and retailers and hotels in the city. 

"Airdrie was the first one that got on board as a municipality, so we worked with them and they have a set up a transfer site where people from their city can bring it there," he explained.

City of Calgary not involved yet

Cable says they've been pushing the City of Calgary to develop a process similar to what Airdrie has in order to divert more mattresses from the landfill.

"They are interested, it's just kind of been a timing thing. But I think we're gonna see something from them pretty soon," he said.

He says getting the city on board would double the amount of mattresses they recycle.

"It'd make a big impact to our business," he said.

"There's probably 60,000 still going in (Calgary's) landfill, and then we do about 35,000 to 40,000 on our own."

Cable estimates around 60,000 mattresses are sent to Calgary's landfill every year. (Submitted by Stephen Rayworth)

Leah Kemppainen, the communications planner for waste and recycling with the city, said in a statement that addressing special materials such as mattresses are the next steps in achieving Calgary's waste diversion goals.

"Waste & Recycling Services is currently looking into what would be involved with a mattress recycling program and considering a pilot within 2020," she wrote.

Kemppainen says that in the meantime, the city encourages citizens to donate or look into local mattress recyclers since sending them to landfill will involve charges.



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